Tragic 40-Pound Cat Is a Lesson to Pet Lovers

We all know that obesity is a problem with people, but it appears to be becoming a trend with our pets as well. Last month, a 39-pound cat was brought into a New Mexico animal shelter after his elderly owner could no longer care for him. The fat cat, named "Meow," became an instant celebrity, appearing on Today and Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show.

Despite his new diet, this kitty didn't make it to an episode of The Biggest Loser. He died Saturday after suffering pulmonary failure. Four veterinarians tried to save the obese feline, but nothing worked. Considering that Meow was only 2 years old, this is indeed a tragedy and a lesson for pet lovers everywhere.

I've volunteered with a cat rescue group for over a decade, and I've seen quite a few fat cats. None as large as Meow, but big enough to be unhealthy. In my experience, the cats who get this obese are the ones who are allowed to nosh down on an all-it-can-eat buffet of dry food. Owners will often put down a large bowl of kibble for the cat to scarf 24/7.

In the wild, however, cats go for fairly long periods without eating. They usually hunt at night, and then eat whatever they catch, and then go without eating until they hunt again. They're not really meant to keep eating as much as they want throughout the entire day. Cows are grazers, not cats.

Additionally, cats are carnivores. This means that their diet should be made up primarily of meat, which is found in canned wet food. Dry food contains a lot of carbohydrates like corn, rice, and wheat. Let a cat eat carbs to its heart's content and soon it will resemble a bowling ball.

I have no idea what Meow's former owner was feeding it, but it seems safe to say that it wasn't the correct diet. These days, there are many high quality pet foods on the market, made with fresh meat, vegetables, vitamins, and they're often grain-free. Do some research and get your kitty on the proper mealplan. You don't want your beloved pet to end up like poor Meow.

Is your cat overweight? What do you feed it?


Image via ThomasHawk/Flickr

cute animals, home life, pets

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nonmember avatar ruthless1

I have a fat orange tabby and when he was a kitten the vet told me "he probably is going to have weight issues: orange tabbies often do" I really thought he was wrong...but he was not. No matter what we did, Sam got fatter as he aged. We feed him weight control Iams in the exact amount prescribed...at times even less than that... and after 8 months our other cat was very thin ( he did not have a weight issue to start with at all) and Sam had not lost an ounce. We gave up...that was it. Our other cat is normal and Sam is fat and it seems no matter what we do that is how it is. So far, he is extremely healthy (other than being a bit of a chunk) and happy- no issues- but I do worry about the long term with him. He is going to be 9 this winter.

CPN322 CPN322

Ruthless1 - That's so weird. No ever told my family that. Our family cat, Charlie, is 22 pounds and is an orange tabby. Ours got so fat, we thought, because he was a shelter baby and once we got him home he just wouldn't stop eating! We figured it was because he was used to the other kittens at the shelter eating all the food and he wanted to make sure he had enough. He's always been quite healthy besides that, running around like a wild thing, but just recently we found out he has diabetes. He is 8. We also found out that that is very common in fat cats. My vet is now on my butt because my youngest cat, she's almost 2, is about 2 pounds over weight and she said its best to nip that in the bud so she doesn't end up like our family cat who has to get an insulin shot every day :( I hope your Sam stays healthy!!

nonmember avatar aimee

My one cat will be 6 in July and weighed in at 20 pounds. I got serious about getting his weight back to where it was when I had adopted him 3 years ago. I cut out the little bit of dry food he got (went from about a 1/4 cup a day to about a table spoon now and thats only cause I cant get him to give it up totally yet) and found a wet food he likes. He is down 5 pounds and I couldn't be happier.

Net1957 Net1957

I have 5 cats..two orange tabbies, two grey tabbies and a pure white one. I leave them dry food all day long and split one can of wet food between all five of them in the morning and in the evening.  They are all at a healthy weight. I think it depends on the individual cat, either they will over eat and get fat or they won't. Just like people I guess!

poshkat poshkat

My husbands cat Sebastian was super fat for a few years. He's a tabby but not orange. He just turned 10 in March and has lost weight the last few years and especially since we got our son his kitten. It seems that trying to keep up with pip has gives Sebastian more motivation to play and get active.

Maevelyn Maevelyn

This is why I tell my SO that just bc the cat will break into the cat food and treats if he can he doesn't need more than the recommended daily allowence!!! He's a hunter he'll get in the cat food if he can it's his nature. 

Jespren Jespren

Weight gain is a matter of calories consumed being more than calories burned. The blight of bloated pets seems to have far more to do with the recent prevelence of 'indoor only' animals than with the type of food. Cats (and dogs) are not meant to lounge around a house all day, regardless of their diet. My family always had cats, indoor/outdoor ones, or occassionally outdoor only. We've always given then free access to dry food and fresh water, but a single bowl of dry food was likely to last a couple of cats for a couple of days. They hunted most nights and ate what they hunted and could occassionally go days with no more than a few bites of kibble. But, mostly, they were allowed to be cats, not throw pillows.

craft... craftycatVT

Interesting about orange tabbies. I have one and he is a little overweight. I also have his brother, who is white, from the same litter and he is nice and trim.

nonmember avatar Miss R.

Add my boy, Oliver,to the list of overweight, orange tabbies. At his peak, he was 26 pounds and I thought the weight added to his personality. He passed away four weeks at the age of 15 and I miss him terribly. I regret having ever been amused by his obesity and if I had to do it over, I'd started him on a diet long ago.

suziejax suziejax

I feel so sorry for that cat! If I had one I wouldn't over feed it

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