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Meow, the 39 lb obese cat, has died of respiratory failure. I can't help wondering if all the lugging about to show him off, TV appearances etc., contributed. People get sick when their life is disturbed, so I think the same could happen to cats, and Meow already had enough problems.

Animal Tracks - Meow the 39-pound cat dies

Very sad.
 

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So sad. He died because he was so fat and his organs couldn't take it anymore. You can tell by the shape of his coat that it wasn't good. How could he clean himself. Screech is 21 lbs and on a diet. He has trouble cleaning his back end. I have to clean his butt every once in a while because he can't clean it and it smells and he gets knots though i try to brush him everyday. But soon he will be going to a no kill shelter. Wish i could take him because he just loves people, being petted, and groomed. This really upsets me that he will be going to a shelter.

Kathy
 

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That is so terrible. That poor innocent cat! Absolutely horrible. :-(
 

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"we were in a race against time to get the weight off" from a little 2x2 cage, how, exactly??

I have trouble getting my cats to play within a house! theres no way that thing was gonna play enough in that small of a space.

Poor guy :(
 

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"we were in a race against time to get the weight off" from a little 2x2 cage, how, exactly??

I have trouble getting my cats to play within a house! theres no way that thing was gonna play enough in that small of a space.

Poor guy :(
i don't think it mattered how big his cage was, he could only take a couple of steps without lying down and being out of breath. they were probably just cutting calories and crossing their fingers, hoping they could get him to a size where he could actually exercise.

and yeah, i don't think being on t.v. helped any. poor thing.
 

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So very, very sad...

Can someone tell me what breed he may have been?

And I wonder what the old lady fed him that he became so fat...?
 

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He had lost a couple of pounds before his death. On catster they were giving updates about him.

R.I.P Meow. You were a lovely cat.
 

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I was so saddened by the passing of poor Meow, I began researching resources online discussing the horrible effects of overfeeding pets. Here, in NYC, the main entity to report animal abuse is the ASPCA so I logically went to their site during my search. I must confess I was very disappointed to find this was not one of the signs for abuse listed on their website. I then proceeded to send them the following email:

I was perusing through the ASPCA.org webpages, and came across the How to Recognize Cruelty page you have posted on your website. Although it makes me very happy that such a valuable resource exists to give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves, it made me really sad that one sign was left out, overfeeding your pets. I am certain your organization would agree that cats and dogs should not look obese.

I do understand that sometimes it’s hard to know where to draw the line; when does a well meaning owner go overboard indulging their pet? However, maybe posting guidelines of what a healthy pet looks like side by side one who has been overfed would help to educate people that this is not OK. Not addressing it at all send the message that no problem exists and allows it to continue decreasing the lifespan of many of our local pets, particular in an urban setting like ours, where many animals are kept in cramped apartments.

I will also share with you that after my last cat was adopted from your facility (back in June of 2009), I went for our after care appointment to your Bergh Memorial Hospital. While we were waiting to be seen, some older ladies came in with 2 very overweight Chihuahuas. The dogs also seemed to be in their senior years. The ladies were carting the dogs around in shopping carts, and these poor helpless dogs looked like stuffed hams. It was really disturbing to watch these women fawning over these animals, and carrying them bundled up in small blankets like babies, but the whole time without allowing them to set foot on the ground to walk for themselves. One of the dogs was almost entirely paralyzed, and most likely routinely confined to the shopping cart as if it were a wheelchair. I cannot understand how hoarders are called out and penalized for being cruel to animals, but people who clearly overfeed their pets to the point that they are cutting the animal’s life short, and brining on the same disease and conditions that obese humans acquire, such as diabetes, arthritis, respiratory failure, heart attacks, etc., are not.

Please set the example and include this insidious sign of animal abuse in its rightful place, your website.

Regards,

DweaM

I am hoping that they will pay attention, but we'll see. I think it is a cause that definitely deserves attention.
 

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So very, very sad...

Can someone tell me what breed he may have been?

And I wonder what the old lady fed him that he became so fat...?
just looked like a dsh to me. i don't think anyone knows what his diet was but it's a theory that pets become obese from eating a diet of something like just meat that isn't nutritionally balanced. you know, table scraps kinds of things. they get spoiled and refuse to eat anything else.

dweamgoil, you won't see me defending weight-challenged pets, i have always been very conscious of this and have normal weight cats (although they'd be plus size if i let them eat whenever they want). BUT--this can be one of those areas that is subjective. obviously, none of the pictures you posted is okay (i lol'd, sorry, i can't help it, and i can't understand how someone can have a chihuahua shaped like a football whose legs just stick straight out and don't touch the floor but i'm sure there's more than a few out there somewhere), but can you imagine what would happen to animal care & cruelty if that becomes listed as an infraction? EVERYONE would be calling, there are a lot of people with heavy animals. i'm sure they aren't abusing them and they aren't nearly as big as the ones in the pictures, but fat is fat.

human beings don't seem capable of assessing a normal weight for themselves when 50% of the population in the US is overweight (i don't know what % of that is obese). don't get me wrong, everyone doesn't have to be keira knightly or calysta flockhart size, but i am really sick of truly obese people calling themselves "curvy" when the curves are in reality, rolls. i don't think it's healthy, and even if they don't have health problems at 25, if you're 100 lbs. overweight long enough, it will take its toll. i think it's another form of body dysmorphia to say you look "okay" when you really need to lose weight, just like thinking you're fat when you are indeed a walking skeleton.

so it would be nice to say that obvious abuse (like meow) is a reportable offense, but i have learned that you cannot trust public perception when it comes to "using your own judgment". some people just don't have any. i think it would be a complete headache for ACC to try to respond to every call about someone having a fat pet. plus, no one is calling DHS or DCP on people who have fat kids.

you don't need to go far to see examples of decisions gone awry: octo-mom. tanning bed mom. balloon boy. there are too many to name.
 

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It's not a perception issue. Right now, insurance plans use weight and BMI (which IMO is not as reliable) as a marker to approve or deny benefits. Weight is used to diagnose medical conditions in humans, and to recommend nutritional plans, surgeries and treatments by healthcare professionals, etc. It's not too far off that local agencies may intervene when children are overfed to the point of morbid obesity. Schools already regulate snacks, implement gym classes, etc.

I personally don't see either Keira Knightly, Callista Flockhart or any of the other holloywood lollypop heads as healthy either. Starvation as a method to lose weight is not healthy. Skinny is the other extreme and there are levels ranging from celebrity skinny to anorexics, etc. But, if you starve a person or an animal, there is medical intervention involved. The same should be true for the opposite condition.

In NYC, AC&C does just that, control the population. They do not respond to abuse allegations or investigate anything besides maybe putting down a colony of ferals. They are a high volume kill shelter. They also do adoptions. The ASPCA is more in line with what we think of as animal cops.

Here in NYC, if your child is sufficiently overweight, the school will get involved, and at minimum, you are investigated or referred to a clinician to educate you regarding eating habits and diet. The same should be done for pets who are overfed to the extent of morbidity. The key is changing people's attitudes from dismissive to giving it the priority it deserves. And of course, educating owners on how to feed and when things are getting out of control.

The same type of apathy also existed 20, 30 years ago when owners would consider neutering and spaying as a waste of good money.
 

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I hate the 5 minute editing rule...lol

I will finish by stating that I am also not only advocating punishing people as a means to modify their behavior, but more intervention and education programs for owners to receive the education they need. There are a lot of people that do mean well, but things end up going astray.
 

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i understand what you're saying and i agree with it, but i taught middle school for 16 years and i can tell you that there is a huge chasm between policy and procedure. there is what should happen and there's what does happen. i don't know about n.y. state, but in colorado, if you suggest psychiatric counseling to a family, the school is obligated to pay for it. (please don't bring up columbine lol) (it isn't funny--i've just heard about it day in and day out ever since it happened). so even if we noticed an obvious problem, it was practically impossible to handle.

i'm not apathetic at all, i think it's gross when people do this to animals. i think it's wrong not to spay or neuter, but i just don't see how it's possible to be the weight police when people don't even adhere to laws regarding altering pets. the shelters are inserting themselves when it comes to spay/neuter but it's so hard to enforce what people do with the animals once they get home. fortunately reproductive surgery can't be undone, but someone can take a normal weight pet and feed it to death.

i also don't know all the laws regarding animal cruelty so i might just be talking out my butt. since starvation is definitely an abuse violation, wouldn't a morbidly obese report already be dealt with in the same way? take the same formula to calculate whether a pet is morbidly obese as you do with humans, i don't see that as too far a stretch. meow was definitely not dealt with fairly for at least two years, but i'm thinking that the 87-year-old didn't just stroll in (or forklift in) with him and say, "i just can't afford to feed this cat any longer." i believe that either a family member stepped in or even a neighbor reported the heinous situation and the sr. citizen voluntarily surrendered the animal. i just don't think the news reported that part.

personally i would like to see parent education class requirements across the board, but that is never going to happen. of course education is a good idea, but in addition to people who don't know, there are many people who just don't care.

(this is off-topic but i remember the first year i taught. every time i passed a particular student, i noticed a really bad smell. at first i thought it was gas, but i noticed over some time that it was always the same student and it was consistent. i explained it to another teacher and asked him what the smell was, and he said, "dirty laundry. they don't have anything clean to wear so they dig stuff out of the hamper." that was exactly what it smelled like too, a mixture of dirty diapers and garbage. so i said, "omg. shouldn't i call child protective services?" and he said, "then what are you going to do, take her laundry home and do it every night?")

i've never seen a 5 minute editing rule either. i use preview a million times and i still make mistakes so i've given up lol.
 

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I hear ya, Cinder, and trust me, I don't expect to change the world overnight or for my suggestions to be automatically implemented because I sent an email. I just felt that this is an important issue, and it was worth writing in about it. I am sure they will send me the canned response.

I also know it's a bigger issue to enforce things like this, and there are a lot of aspects that I don't see as a layperson. An emaciation case, surely is of much higher priority than someone slowly chunking up their pet over time; so of course, available resources should be allocated to cases that warrant immediate action. However, I do feel that people do need to speak up. I am of the school that if you always do nothing, then you have no right to complain.

I also agree that perhaps there was more to this story than what they reported in the press, but they probably felt it was moot to make bad press for the owner and turn that person into a martyr being persecuted by the big bad institution...
 

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well, good luck :) you know, this is probably far too much to hope for as well, but i think vets could step in some. schools must report any suspected abuse (and that's an entire separate nightmare but at least maybe a few less cases go undetected and unprosecuted) so why not vets? i mean right there you cut down on the goofball calls ("my neighbor's cat is too fat and she keeps putting spandex on it and this is a CRIME!") because you'd have documentation from a licensed source. i have no idea if vets take photos and document suspicious injuries (if they don't, they should, but i have a suspicion that by the time a vet sees it, the owner isn't the one who took the animal in and has disappeared like a ghost) but that would be good. i'm taking my little old lady for her blood level checks (thyroid meds) the 21st so i'll just ask dr. andy what they do if someone brings in a morbidly obese pet. the scales are right there.

wouldn't it be nice if it were a prosecutable offense? i think the same thing about these people who can't get out of bed but their kids are stuck feeding them. a lot of people would say, "well there you go, if they can't walk to the kitchen or the store and get it, they don't eat it," but i know the dynamics aren't exactly like that. easy to say, probably not nearly as easy to do. but it's the same with animals. it should be even easier, since a cat can't cuss you out for not buying oreos and chocodiles, or throw the remote at your head. :jump
 

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Well, absolutely some of the responsibility would fall on vets, but you have to be careful because you don't want to discourage people from providing care to an animal because they can't take being lectured about their pet's weight. This is why I think education is key. It is less off-putting, but yes, the vet should document even if at first they don't report it. Maybe by a 2nd or 3rd visit, if the animal gets worse or makes no improvement then the owner can be reported, but there has to be a reasonable window of opportunity for someone to get their act together.
 

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I don't agree with parading the cat around like a circus side show attraction considering the condition that it was in.
 

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Well, absolutely some of the responsibility would fall on vets, but you have to be careful because you don't want to discourage people from providing care to an animal because they can't take being lectured about their pet's weight. This is why I think education is key. It is less off-putting, but yes, the vet should document even if at first they don't report it. Maybe by a 2nd or 3rd visit, if the animal gets worse or makes no improvement then the owner can be reported, but there has to be a reasonable window of opportunity for someone to get their act together.
it would be like getting yelled at for smoking or being told your high blood pressure is going to kill you if you don't lose 50 lbs. some people see everything as lecturing, but they're very stubborn and it doesn't matter what you say or do. they get sick of hearing the same thing over and over and over because they don't listen. what happens to a person who is 100 lbs. overweight, smokes two packs a day, won't have any cancer screenings, blood sugar is 449 and cholesterol pushing 700? they die. they don't want to hear what horrible care they take of themselves so they avoid the doctor as much as possible. too bad. a person's body is their own to mutilate or abuse as much as they want to, but animals (and children) have no voice. as far as adults go, i can't care if they don't so i don't bother wasting my breath. i can't be bothered to lecture an adult because chances are really good they've heard it 100 times already and my one time is not the one that's going to work.

i don't mean, "CALL 911 STAT!" except maybe in the case of a person bringing in a cat who looked like meow. a 2-year-old cat that weighs 39 lbs. is obviously in crisis. doctors have no problem calling the police when a child is chronically brought in with strange bruises and unexplained fractures, i think vets should be the same way--the more serious the abuse, the more urgent and severe the solution. tragically, when you see a cat that looks like that, there is no quick fix and its days are numbered already. i think whoever gave the okay to make all those tv appearances made a grave error. but the general public's addiction to tragedygasms is just one reason why i refuse to watch the news. i saw it online. a picture of the cat would have sufficed. it wasn't even ready for adoption yet, so i think it was stupid but that's what people watch.

height and weight charts would help (or length or whatever) because i don't think people equate the amount an animal is overweight proportionately. then again, a lot of people are morons and it doesn't matter what you tell them, they're going to do whatever they want as long as they don't suffer immediate consequences.

personally, i have never ever, in 20 years, seen fat animals in the waiting room at my vet's. they must exist, but the vets there are very proactive and i would imagine they say something. additonally, they aren't really cheap so i think if someone is going to pay that much to take their pets to the vet, they don't ignore the advice.
 
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