By James Somper
A cat who was over-fed treats by her elderly owner is the fattest rescue centre staff have ever seen – weighing the same as a TODDLER.
Fat cat Sootie was taken in by Cats Protection when her previous owner passed away.
But she had been fed so many treats that the podgy puss was so enormous she even struggled to clean herself – weighing in at 1st 8lb – twice the healthy weight for a cat and the same as an 18 month old child.
The chubby cat has been placed on a special diet to help trim her down after she arrived at the centre in Chelwood Gate, West Sussex, following the death of her previous owner.
Danielle Draper, manager of the centre, said: “Sootie is one of the largest cats we’ve had in care here and we were all quite shocked to see her.
“She finds it hard to clean herself and needs encouragement to exercise. We’ve placed her on a very strict diet so she loses the weight in a controlled way.
“Cats can be very persuasive and it can be hard not to give in to the pleading meows for a treat or two. But Sootie’s story is a really good example of when too many treats can cause a real problem.
“Because of her weight, Sootie will be at a higher risk of diabetes, arthritis and heart trouble, so it’s important we get it under control. Once she has slimmed down she will feel much better and can enjoy a more active lifestyle.”
Sootie is currently on a strict diet of low-calorie cat food and staff aim to have her shed some pounds in a controlled and sustainable way.
Danielle said that Sootie struggles to move around and clean herself because of her massive bulk.
She said: “Because of her weight Sootie struggles to do the basics such as move around or groom herself properly.
“She’s also prone to joint problems and has an increased risk of developing a weight-related illness such as diabetes or a urinary infection, so it’s important we slim her down.”
Danielle added that in these uncertain times just a few simple tips can keep your cat healthy and on weight.
She said: “Weigh out cat food on a daily basis, being careful not to overfill bowls. If giving cat treats, reduce the overall amount of food given at meal times.
“Encourage your cat to exercise with games such as fishing-rod toys or placing their daily ration of food inside a fun feeding ball to encourage activity.
“Avoid giving your cat treats intended for humans, such as milk, cheese or chocolate. Many cats cannot digest cow’s milk products and chocolate contains a compound that can be toxic to cats.
“Never starve overweight cats or put them on a crash diet. A gradual, steady decrease in body weight is ideal and it may take up to a year for a severely overweight cat to reach their ideal body condition.
“If your cat is overweight, seek advice from your vet before embarking on any change of diet.”