By Neo Bye
This chubby kitty has been put on a diet but his owners are using the fact he was born with THUMBS to their advantage – as his paws are too big to steal snacks.
Tabby Bronson, four, has the genetic abnormality polydactyl, where the first digit of a cat’s for is longer and separated, resembling a human thumb.
Cat lovers Mike Wilson, 35, and his girlfriend Megan Hanneman, 30, from Michigan, USA, adopted the moggy in April last year as a pal for their two other cats and were shocked at the porky pet’s 2st 3lbs [15kg] size.
The business owners have since been helping their lazy moggy drop the pounds – with him already shedding 4lbs [3lkg] 20 per cent of his body weight – and admitted his unusual deformity means he can’t fit his paws into the food puzzles they bought him.
Mike said: “We were originally going to the shelter to look for a new kitten, but when we walked into the place, we were blown away by this large cat in the front room.
“We had never seen a cat his size and after getting over the awe while hanging out with him, it was a little sad to see that he lacked so much mobility.
“But he can definitely grab objects a lot better than cats with his opposable thumbs.
“His paws are very big so when he catches a toy, he has quite a grip.
“We’ve gotten him food puzzles that are designed for cats to work harder to get their treats and promote activity and he wasn’t able to fit his paws in any of the areas.
“Luckily he hasn’t managed to get into any food cupboards yet!”
Mike and Megan believe Bronson, who was brought into a shelter when his previous owner passed away, previously belonged to someone with memory issues who accidentally overfed him.
Mike added: “There’s something very charming about Bronson’s large size, and if he could stay big and still have a healthy fulfilled life, we would love him to stay like this, but that’s not the case.
“We’ve done a lot of research of feline enrichment and exercise, and hope to get him to a healthier point where he has the urge to get up and explore.
“Every time we see him do something he wasn’t able to do before and it really makes our day – things like jumping up to our bed, fitting under our couch and standing on his back legs for treats, to racing around the house, when he previously just slept all day.
“He also inspires us to stay more active and healthy.
“He’s spent a lot of his life laying down and watching life go by, so it’s really important for us to now keep him on his feet.”