Another feline is becoming famous for his unhealthy waistline. Just months after the life and death of Meow, the 39-pound cat, became national news, a tubby tabby named SpongeBob has arrived in the headlines.
Similar to Meow, SpongeBob -- who tipped the scales at 33 pounds -- was taken to a shelter after his elderly owner could no longer care for him. But after two months, he's been unable to find a new home because of his girth. "I think people are intimidated," Kendra Mara, associate director of the Animal Haven shelter, told the New York Post. "They think they'll need more space for him, but really they don't."
After a life of free feeding, SpongeBob has been put on a strict diet and has lost three pounds so far. "We eliminated dry food and put him on an exercise program," Mara said. "Even if he just gets down to 24 or 25 pounds, that will make a huge difference on his body."
Unfortunately Meow and SpongeBob are not novelties. A recent study found that a whopping 54 percent of America's pets are overweight or obese -- a percentage that translates into 88.4 million cats and dogs who need to get healthy.
Related: 7 Diet Tips to Fight Pet Obesity
Here are a few other felines who drew attention for their girth. Some of their stories had happy endings, but as often is the case with a disease like obesity -- some did not.
Princess Chunk aka Prince Chunk aka Powder: This 44-pound kitty made headlines in 2008 after being found wandering around New Jersey. The waistline combined with the beautiful white coat of Princess Chunk -- as she was dubbed -- immediately created a viral hit, leading to an outpouring of attention and adoption requests. Her original owner then came forward, revealing that the feline was homeless because she'd lost her house to foreclosure -- and that Princess Chunk was in fact a boy named Powder.
The shelter vetted the 500 adoption applicants, matching the newly-named Prince Chunk with a financially-stable family who had past experience with cats. Aside from having been overfed, Prince Chunk was given a clean bill of health and we hope that he's since slimmed down to a healthy weight.
Sassy aka Munchkin the Monster Cat: When Sassy's picture spread across the internet in 2001, his size seemed so unbelievable, he was written off as a photoshopped hoax nicknamed "Munchkin the Monster Cat." However several years later, his owner came forward, confirming that Munchkin was in fact real -- and went by the name Sassy before he died from heart disease at age eight.
His owner, Susan Martin of Ontario, Canada, wrote to the MuseumofHoaxes.com, in 2005, saying:
"Sassy was born in Virginia, and moved to Canada in 1991 with me. He was a kitten then and after we had him fixed he started getting fat. I never thought anything of it cause he slept so much. His visits to the Blair Animal Hospital did not find any problems with him and could not figure out why he was so fat. He was on diet food for about 8 years. In 1999 he was noted as being 15.9 kilos. in 2001 he was listed as 40 pounds and then lost 8 when he died. He did not eat an excess amount of food and did not eat table scraps. A bite or two of chicken or tuna was his favorite. I miss him very much and often find his picture posted on various web sites."
Iggy: Iggy's current fate is unknown, but when he made headlines in 2006, he weighed a startling 46 pounds and had a 33-inch waistline. His owner Joyce Kirk admitted to indulging Iggy's appetite -- feeding him 30 pounds of food every week.
She said, "He's a waddler. He's not much for running, but he tries. The vet says he's perfectly healthy in spite of his weight, and that he's more active than a lot of skinny cats."
At the time, Kirk's priority was sending a video of Iggy to America's Funniest Home Videos in the hopes of winning some cash to pay for his food bills -- but we hope it eventually shifted to caring for his health and putting Iggy on a much-need diet.
More from WebVet!
- Can Cats Deliver Your Mail?
- Stray Dog Runs With Cyclists On 1,100-Mile China Trek
- 3 Dogs With College Degrees
- 50 Shades of Prey: Sexual Domination in the Animal Kingdom