Sterling the cat is a cute and playful little guy, and no doubt would have his fans among those who love chonksters, but he has to lose weight.
That was the gist of the message posted by staff at the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Michigan, who wanted to find a home for Sterling but also wanted to make sure his new human(s) would be dedicated to his health.
The silver tabby with a Buddesian coat pattern tips the scales at 30 pounds. Not only is the weight unhealthy, but it makes life as a cat difficult.
“We know, those plump cheeks are adorable. But obesity is terribly unhealthy for cats,” Humane Society staff wrote on Instagram. “Sterling is fastidious about hygiene, but can’t groom himself properly (we had to shave matted fur off his back). He’s so lively and playful, but can’t chase after toys. He’s curious about the world, but can’t jump up to look out the window. He’s so affectionate, but can’t comfortably snuggle with his people.”
An adopter has stepped up to the plate and given Sterling a new family, a deal that includes committing to working with a veterinarian to get the kitty to slim down. The Humane Society haven’t said who the adopter is, but Sterling’s adoption profiles disappeared shortly after the shelter’s impassioned plea on Feb. 9.
Zouma gets another shot
Kurt Zouma, the Premiere League footballer who earned himself worldwide condemnation over the last week for uploading a video showing him abusing his own cat, won’t lose his job due to the scandal.
West Ham United Coach David Moyes said Zouma’s actions were “completely out of character from Kurt” and compared the abuse incidents to drunken driving.
“He’s a really good lad and we’re going to get him some help,” Moyes told reporters. “Just like people with drink-drive offences have to go to classes to learn the reasons and the damage that can be done, the RSPCA are going to provide some courses for Kurt to understand about animals and how to treat them.”
Moyes says Zouma has repeatedly apologized, and he thinks the French national is sincerely contrite.
“But what do you do?” the coach asked. “Do you keep punishing people or do you give them a chance to make things right? All of us in life need second chances sometimes, and we’re going to give Kurt a second chance.”
The controversy flared up immediately after the UK Sun published a story about three short clips showing Zouma drop-kicking, slapping and throwing a shoe at his cat. The clips were filmed by Zouma’s brother, who can be heard laughing in the background, and involved Zouma’s son.
In his apology, Zouma said the abuse was “an isolated incident,” but said there was “no excuse” for his actions.
“I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video,” the soccer pro said.
Zouma was fined £ 250,000 — equal to about $330,000 — which is the maximum amount the club could fine him under league rules. He also lost his primary sponsorship with Adidas, which issued a terse statement and immediately dropped the center-back from its roster, and insurance company Vitality pulled its sponsorship from the entire team. Two other sponsors said they would meet with the club to discuss the issue.
Zouma also surrendered both of his cats — the one who was abused in the video and a second feline — to the RSPCA, which is conducting an investigation. Like the SPCA in the US, which has its own law enforcement division, the RSPCA has the ability to file criminal charges in cases involving animal abuse and neglect.
The felines of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Did you know the first Siamese cat to reach America’s shores was probably Siam, who belonged to First Lady Lucy Webb Hayes?
Back when Thailand was called Siam, U.S. ambassador David B. Sickels read that Mrs. Hayes — wife of Rutherford B. Hayes — was a cat lover and sent one of the now-famous Asian cats to the White House.
“I have taken the liberty of forwarding to you one of the finest specimens of Siamese cats that I have been able to procure in this country,” Sickels wrote to the First Lady in 1878. “I am informed that this is the first attempt ever made to send a Siamese cat to America.”
While we’ve written quite a bit about the famous cats who have occupied the White House over the years, the Hayes story and others are also detailed in a new article from Smithsonian Magazine, which marked the occasion of Willow the cat’s arrival by revisiting presidential pet history. It’s well worth a read if you like the idea of kitties roaming the halls of power and even sitting on one president’s lap during state dinners, eating at the table like humans.
Back in May, we were appalled at UK Metro’s seemingly endless appetite (sorry) for photos of chonky cats:
“Do you have a pet who’s even chunkier than Manson? Get in touch to share their story,” Metro’s editors wrote at the end of an article profiling a 28-pound fat cat.
Now The Guardian is similarly alarmed, declaring the trend of glorifying morbidly obese cats online “has to end”:
The internet is now full of pictures of fat cats that their owners think are adorable but are actually health disasters, barely able to fit through a cat flap, let alone jump on to a ledge. In fact, the only time they jump is when their owner fills their feeding bowl.
The newspaper cites popular Instagram accounts like Round Boys, which counts almost 800,000 followers and features a constant stream of plump butterballs in cute poses, and Cats Is Chonky, a Facebook group that does not allow any discouragement of overfeeding cats, which the page’s operators say amounts to “shaming.” (There’s only one cat who can surf the internet and read its content, as we know, and his name starts with Bu and ends with ddy. Thankfully he’s more concerned with reading comments about himself and trying to order turkey.)
The Guardian’s call — and our own post — has nothing to do with shaming and everything to do with the fact that rewarding bad pet parenting only encourages more people to overstuff their cats.
If people think fattening up their cats is a shortcut to internet fame and lucrative $15,000 sponsored Instagram posts, they’re much more likely to hand out snacks like crack, and much less likely to use the word “no,” which as we all know is a necessary part of the vocabulary when caring for cats.
Obesity is not healthy for our feline friends. The chonk craze is dangerous. Not only does obesity lead to early death — as in the case of Buddha, pictured at the top, who died at age 6 from obesity-related complications — but by overfeeding, we are choosing an unhealthy lifestyle for our pets, who can’t give their consent or complain about unhealthy meals.
Please do right by your cats and feed them healthy, balanced foods. More time with your little buddies is more important than ephemeral internet fame.
Remember Barsik, the cat who was so extra-chonk he had to be wheeled around in a baby carriage because he couldn’t fit in a cat carrier?
The former “Fattest cat in New York” has melted the pounds off in the year since he was surrendered to NYC’s Anjellicle Cats rescue and adopted by 35-year-old Meredith Adams.
When he was surrendered, Barisk tipped the scales at 41 pounds — dangerously close to the Guinness record 46 pounds for a house cat. He was so big, the sight of him getting wheeled into the shelter prompted an amused visitor to snap a smartphone pic and quip: “Did he eat another cat?”
Barsik’s having the last laugh, as he’s down to 22 pounds and enjoying life in his new home.
He’s well on his way to his ideal weight of 16 pounds according to Adams, who says she’s been controlling Barsik’s dry food intake while feeding him wet food.
“He does pretty much everything regular cats do — jumping around, at night he gets the zoomies,” Adams told the New York Post. “He is a regular cat now.”
The Post notes Guinness stopped taking new entries for heaviest cat out of concern that misguided owners would over feed their chonksters to pursue the crown. Himmy, the Australian kitty who set the record, died at just 10 years old from complications associated with his obesity.
Barsik has settled into his new life, diet and all.
“He has a big personality. He is very demanding, he is very vocal, but he is also really friendly,” Adams said. “When I come home from work and get into the building, I hear his meowing all the way down the hall. He wants his food, but he also wants to say ‘hi’ to me.”
The newspaper recently profiled Manson, a 28-pound behemoth who lives with his humans in Silver Spring, Maryland, but the god of internet traffic is never sated, so the story ends with a request — or challenge — for more morbidly obese pets to drive clicks.
“Do you have a pet who’s even chunkier than Manson? Get in touch to share their story,” Metro’s editors write.
You know things have gotten out of hand when readers and editors alike respond to a story about a kitty almost three times the weight of a normal feline with a collective “Eh, that’s all? Show us a fatter one!”
In the world of Online Famous felines, popularity is directly proportional to fat, inspiring a caloric arms race among those seeking fleeting fame from fickle followers.
Indeed, the Metro story notes that while two-year-old Manson can’t hop up onto his humans’ bed without assistance, he’s amassed more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, as if an abstract measure of online “fame” — which he can never comprehend and makes absolutely no difference to him — counterbalances the maladies he’ll suffer due to his weight.
People apparently think it’s funny to see a two-year-old cat who can do little more than nap, eat and roll himself around the house. Anyone who expresses alarm for the welfare of the cat is a “troll” or a hater, according to the Metro article.
Are people stuffing their cats for followers and upvotes?
There’s really no way to determine that short of cat owners admitting it. Manson’s owners say they see no problem with their cat’s diet.
Most of these “chonky cat” stories come from shelters, where staff and volunteers are left with the hard problem of getting huge furballs to slim down after they’ve been abandoned by their humans or orphaned due to owner death. That was the case with Bazooka, a 35-pound ginger tabby whose owner had dementia and fed the cat constantly.
“[Bazooka’s owner] thought he was doing the best thing for his cat by feeding him,” an SPCA spokeswoman said at the time. “We need to look on this with a compassionate view. He was loved.”
Those viral chonky cat stories have been a boon to shelters, highlighting the good work they do and driving donations from cat lovers and well-wishers.
But those shelters are trying to get the cats in their care to lose weight, not pack on the pounds. That’s because they see first-hand what morbid obesity can do to a cat’s quality of life and life expectancy.
As for the rest of us, we should probably rethink our tendency to reward the owners of massive cats with our attention.
Feline humor, news and stories about the ongoing adventures of Buddy the Cat.