Meow, the 39-pound kitty who made his worldwide debut a few weeks ago β€” and who provoked conflicting emotions around here β€” has died. In an announcement on the Santa Fe Shelter & Humane Society's Facebook page, Meow's condition had been improving since his whirlwind media tour; he was able to walk up stairs and was "seeking affection." But last Thursday Meow began to experience respiratory issues and, despite the best efforts of his foster home and specialty veterinarians, he passed away this Saturday at 4:30 pm.

When we first saw Meow, I gasped in amazement and, I admit, bemusement β€” mostly because of Meow's bewildered expression and, frankly, that someone had let that poor cat get so goddamn fat (I'm usually one to cope with unfortunate absurdities by awkwardly laughing at our fucked-up world). But there was also sadness and pity for the cat and hope that, with all the attention β€” he made appearances on the Today Show and Anderson β€” he'd get the care he needed. And he did; it just wasn't enough.

RIP, Meow. You may be gone, but you'll always be my Facebook cover photo.

Meow, the 39-Pound Cat, Has Died [Buzzfeed]