When rescue workers at the Cat Depot in Sarasota, Florida, took in a kitty named Tiger, they literally had to roll him into their facility because he was so big.
"They actually put him in a wheelchair because they couldn’t lift him. Poor little thing," Lynn Rasys with Cat Depot told HLN. "Well, not little thing -- he weighs 35 pounds!"
The staff veterinarian who examined Tiger found the 8-year-old feline was in fairly good shape, aside from the obesity, of course.
"He walks a little bit and then he’s tired, exhausted, and he lies down," said Rasys.
Tiger was given to the nonprofit, no-kill shelter by an elderly woman who could no longer care for him. Rasys said the shelter has never seen a cat this big and that staff members placed him in their "chubby cat suite" where overweight animals eat a low-calorie diet and have access to a "catio."
In the few weeks that Tiger has been at Cat Depot, he's already shed several pounds, becoming mobile enough to squeeze through the chubby cat suite's kitty door. He's even able to jump up on a chair, too!
Tiger left the shelter Wednesday in the same fashion he arrived -- on wheels. A woman who has experience taking care of animals with special needs drove almost an hour to meet the cat, and the shelter decided it was a perfect match. Tiger will share his new forever home with several other animals and two granddaughters who have already been loving on him.
Tiger's weight loss plan allows for him to lose about a pound a week. Rasys explained that losing too much all at once could be a shock to Tiger's system. She also had a few tips for other cat owners who might be living with an overweight pet. Your typical house cat should weigh about 8 to 10 pounds, according to Rasys who says about 50% of owners overfeed their animals.
"Really, really avoid that free-feeding. Topping off the bowl and leaving it full all day? Big no-no," said Rasys. "And play with your cat. There’s a lot of interactive toys out there. Make them run and play, give them lots of stimulation. It’s good for you, too!"
Cat Depot takes care of more than 130 cats and kittens on any given day. You can get more information by visiting www.catdepot.org or calling 941-366-2404.