By Niamh Shackleton
A chubby ginger cat dubbed ‘the real life Garfield’ has dropped half her bodyweight thanks to her new doting owner.
Short-haired orange tortoiseshell Flora weighed almost 7kg [1st 1lbs] and looked the spitting image of famous cat Garfield before her dramatic transformation.
The adorable feline, who had been overfed, was brought into animal welfare charity, Blue Cross, due to her previous owner dying in 2016.
But now, two years on, Flora is unrecognisable after being adopted by Paul Wildman, 73, and wife Christine, 65, from Fordham, Newmarket, Suffolk.
Paul, a retired taxi driver, said: “We completely fell in love with Flora as soon as we saw her – it was those big eyes that got us.
“Flora looked just like Garfield with her ginger fur and oversized belly but we thought it was adorable.
“We knew it would be difficult to get her back to a normal weight, but we saw it as a challenge.
“We were more than willing to give her the extra love and care that she needed.
“We aren’t sure why Flora was so overweight as we don’t know exactly what she was eating back then but it was clear it wasn’t healthy.
“But since adopting her she’s now following a strict diet and is only allowed one tin of food a day, she is also exercising regularly by climbing fences in our back garden.”
Flora has successfully nearly dropped 2kg [3lbs] in weight so far, getting her closer to her ideal, healthy weight of below 5kg [7lbs].
But with her strict diet plan still in place, it’s fair to say this lookalike moggy will be staying away from the lasagne in future.
Paul added: “She’s definitely been exercising more – she can now successfully climb on top of the shed roof, which she couldn’t do before.
“Flora’s like any other cat really – she enjoys sitting on the window ledge and watching the world go by in particular.
“She’s been on a strict diet that the vet recommended which entails one tin a day of special food and 15g of biscuits.
“The vet forewarned that it would be a slow process, but she’s definitely on her way.”
Amanda Marrington, London Animal Welfare Officer at Blue Cross, said: “When a cat is this overweight it can have problems grooming properly, as well as arthritis due to pressure on the joints and heart problems.
“Diabetes and respiratory problems can also develop, and cats of this size tend to be less active, sleep more and have difficulty moving around.
“So it was therefore vital that we started helping Flora to shift some pounds before it started to affect her health.
“This needs to be gradual weight loss otherwise it can cause problems with the liver.”