Tag: fat cats

The Guardian: Online Trend Of Fat Cats ‘Has To End’

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.

Fat Cat Harvey
Like many others, Harvey’s owners have capitalized on his size, creating an Instagram account for him which is now followed by more than 81,000 users.

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.

‘New York’s Fattest Cat’ Relinquishes His Title

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?”

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Slow news day: Barsik made the cover of the Post’s late edition back in April of 2019.

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.”

barsik
Barsik shortly after he was surrendered in 2019 and was living in a foster home.
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Adams and the newly-slim Barsik.

The Obsession With Chonky Cats Has Gone Too Far

Metro’s editors want more fat cats.

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.

This Handsome Chonkster Does Crunches!

It seems like a new super chonk cat goes viral everyday, and it’s always the same story — the cat comes from a home where its owner is either negligent or unable to properly care for kitty, and a rescue is left with the dual responsibility of finding a new home and getting the cat to slim down.

That’s the case with Wilford, a handsome eight-year-old tabby who weighs in at a hefty 28 pounds.

Wilford is living with a D.C.-area foster couple, who have the long-haired dude on a diet and are trying to get him to exercise. They say his ideal weight is about 14 pounds, half of what he weighs now.

But as the video below illustrates, Wilford is so heavy, “playing” for him means laying on his back and doing “crunches” while batting at his wand toys instead of chasing them:

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***Wednesday Workouts with Wilford!!*** . Look at this guy go!! . Wilford absolutely loves to play- but he only feels comfortable doing so while safely ensconced beneath the dining room table. (Kind of like preferring to work out at home instead of at the gym!) . He is doing really well and has officially started to lose weight. He is definitely down at least half a pound, and I suspect even more, but again, his irregular bowel movements make getting an accurate assessment difficult. In any event- he’s definitely heading in the right direction and seems more and more confident and content every day. . We finally feel that Wilford is in a good place to start looking for his forever family and are making him adoptable as of this week. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please have them reach out. We are looking for local adopters only right now. (Greater Washington DC area). . *************DISCLAIMER************ Yes, Wilford is morbidly obese. No, it’s not ok. He is a foster and he is being treated for his obesity as well as other issues. He is under veterinary supervision. *************************************** . #Wilford #wilfordthegreat #wilfordbrimley . #adoptdontshop #fosteringsaveslives #foster #ldcrf #handsomecat #adorable #studmuffin #cats #catsofinstagram #preownedcat #obesecat #fatcat #love #weightlossjourney #lostdogandcatrescue #adopt #cat #love #adoptyourbestfriend #lovemeow #bestmeow #catloversclub #cats_of_instagram #cathealth #obesepet #weightloss #cute

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“Wilford absolutely loves to play- but he only feels comfortable doing so while safely ensconced beneath the dining room table,” his foster humans wrote on Instagram. “Kind of like preferring to work out at home instead of at the gym!”

In a bit of TMI, they say Wilford’s dropped some weight and is ready to start the process of screening for a forever home, but they’re still concerned over his sluggish ways and his “irregular vowel movements.”

Read: If you’re looking to adopt this regal little guy, you shouldn’t be the type who’s squeamish about blown-up litter boxes.

While handling Wilford feels like “picking up a greasy watermelon when you have to move him from place to place,” foster parent Jen tells DCist, “he is an absolute delight and we are so grateful to have the opportunity to spend time with him.”

Wilford’s favorite position is laying on his back, and unlike most cats, he actually likes it when humans scratch his belly.

“I mean, he’s just absolutely adorable,” Jen said. “He’s very dramatic, and when he wants something, he’ll roll over and just squeak. And you’re basically like, ‘Alright, Wilford, I’ll give you another tummy rub.’”

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This Cat’s In For A Rude Awakening

Meet Bazooka.

The orange butterball weighs in at 35 pounds and was surrendered to the SPCA in North Carolina’s Wake County this week after his former owner died.

Although the shelter says some people were initially outraged that a person would let the ginger tabby grow to such elephantine proportions, it turns out there’s more to the story: Bazooka’s owner was inflicted with dementia and, never sure if he’d fed the amiable cat, he just kept feeding and feeding — and feeding — Bazooka, who has apparently never met a cup of kibble or a can of tuna he won’t happily scarf down.

We wouldn’t be surprised if there was some insistent meowing prompting his late human to keep refilling those bowls.

“[Bazooka’s owner] thought he was doing the best thing for his cat by feeding him,” the SPCA’s Darci VanderSlik told North Carolina’s News-Observer. “We need to look on this with a compassionate view. He was loved.”

Bazooka the Cat
Bazooka with his foster mom. Credit: Wake County NC SPCA

It turns out Bazooka is a loving and chill dude as well.

“He wants to be around people,” said Michelle Barry, the big guy’s foster mom. “He’s happiest lying right next to you. And he’s more active than I expected him to be.”

He’s in for quite an adjustment period, going from a life of on-demand meals to a strictly-regulated diet designed to get him down to a healthy weight. As any cat servant knows, there’ll be lots of agitated meowing in his future.

The ‘Zookster has already been adopted and will soon move into his forever home after the shelter provides some basic veterinary care and draws up a weight loss plan for him. Working with his new human, staff at the SPCA want to get Bazooka down to 20 pounds or so, which they feel is appropriate for his large frame.

They say they’re just glad to help.

“We don’t know a lot of the back stories of the animals we get, but we try not to judge people or make people feel bad about the circumstances that led to their surrender,” VanderSlik said. “We’re really lucky to have the resources to take him in and help him get a home he deserves.”

Bazooka the Cat
Bazooka’s a handsome kitty with a lion-like mane. In this photo, he’s thinking about pastrami sandwiches. Credit: Wake County NC SPACA