It's about time we start talking about the real issue when it comes to obesity — cats! As a longtime shelter volunteer, I've learned that while a little chub can make a kitten ten times cuter, a lot of chub can turn into mega health problemos*. And also, often a fat animal dumped at the shelter is just a sign that their former owner was a jerk who didn't take care of them at all. Unkempt, ill, and old animals get dumped at shelters a fair amount because people suck. In fact, I have a friend who adopted a super fat dog who'd previously lived with a rich family who just didn't have the time to walk him. Or hire a dog walker. Or be decent human beings.
Anyway, he's in a good place now, which is much like this bittersweet holiday tale of two obese cats, a couple of awesome foster moms, an incompetent vet, and all of my tears. It started this past October when 32-pound Blue and his 22-pound sister Bella were dumped at the Kansas City Animal Shelter.
When they entered the shelter, a health and behavior assessment showed that Blue was mouth-breathing and immobile, and the stress from being in a scary new environment caused him to refuse food. The shelter did bloodwork on Blue to determine whether there was any underlying cause for his extreme obesity.
They were given to loving foster mom Meagan, who was determined to fix them up with healthy chow and plenty of laser pointer exercise. Which is the cutest form of exercise.
However, it was discovered that Blue had a severe upper respiratory infection, which made his breathing problems worse. Meagan took him to the vet, where he was prescribed antibiotics. According to Catster, "x-rays noted slight changes in chest and bronchial inflammation, which could have been either from the URI or his physical size." When two days passed without improvement, through a series of misfortunes and poor vet care, Blue died. So sad, poor Blue.
Rachel Coldanghise of Catster writes:
It is unfair that so many cats like Blue are dumped at shelters. While their previous "owners" selfishly decide their pets are meaningless and disposable, I see animals who are valuable, beautiful, and deserving of life. According to shelter workers, Bella and Blue's former owner dropped off the two overweight cats but kept two who are normal size. We might never know what life Blue lived before he was brought to the shelter, but we know his final week was filled with compassion, hope, comfort, and most importantly, love.
Thankfully, Bella is doing very well in her foster home, where she's able to jump and play, even though it sounds as if she'd previously been declawed. Which, an aside, you should never, ever do! I don't care how nice your stupid furniture is.
Let's all go give our pets, no matter what their size, lots of big hugs today. Or, even better, head to your local shelter and do some laser point Richard Simmons with a chubosaurus kitten today!
*Although, I do know one fat cat — she looks like a rippling puddle with fur — who is actually very agile. So, you know, exceptions.