Little Dude, a morbidly obese cat who drew attention worldwide as he worked on his health in preparation for being adopted, died over the weekend.
“My heart is absolutely broken right now,” a post on a Facebook page chronicling the feline’s fitness progress said. “It is with tremendous sadness I must tell you all that our precious Little Dude has peacefully slipped away while in the arms of love.”
The 10-year-old cat arrived at WAGS Pet Adoption in Westminster in August weighing 36 pounds after his parents had to give him up due to financial problems. At roughly three times heavier than an average adult male cat, Little Dude could barely walk, handlers said.
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A foster parent took him in, and during his short time with her he was put on a strict diet. Little Dude last weighed in at 33 pounds, but officials said the feline was stressed by the changes.
His handlers believe Little Dude suffered a pneumonia-type virus, and vets think he suffered from asthma.
"Our doctors feel that he succumbed to the sheer size of him," said Cortney Dorney, the shelter manager at WAGS. "It was really difficult for him to breathe and the stress of being displaced from his home is pretty common for adult cats - and he was a senior cat."
The Facebook post announcing Little Dude's passing was posted Saturday night.
“Please know we did everything humanly possible to help him,” the Facebook post said.
Little Dude’s journey gained attention worldwide, with thousands of people liking his Facebook page and hundreds writing in to express their condolences.
“I have no regrets and I'm certain LD would say he was pleased to be genuinely loved and adored by so many worldwide,” according to the Facebook post.