A troublingly overweight cat joined his thinner counterparts at the Riverside Cat Hospital as doctors hope to alleviate his constipation and potentially reduce his immense size.
The cat, aptly named Biggie, weighs a whopping 37 pounds.
"He’s a little stressed, but he’s a very gentle, nice kitty," Dr. Nichole Agarwal told NBC4 on Monday.
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Biggie joined the hospital over the weekend after his owner took him to the hospital out of concern for his lack of bowel movements. After initial diagnostics, the veterinary practice said the cat would need special care, but the owner could not afford the cost. The hospital then opted to formally adopt Biggie.
"This is the heaviest cat I have seen by far in my 10-year veterinary career," Agarwal said.
Biggie is suffering from severe constipation that could require surgery, according to the hospital. Veterinarians are also planning to place Biggie in a weight reduction program, in part to reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes and lower urinary tract disease that tend to afflict cats with a high level of obesity.
The weight loss plan would include a canned food-only diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, Agarwal said. The goal is for Biggie to lose 1 to 2 percent of his body weight per week on the diet.
The cat hospital is chronicling Biggie's weight loss journey on their Facebook page.
Agarwal said it could take a year or two to get him back down to a healthy body weight. The average weight of a house cat is about 8 to 10 pounds.
Veterinarians are giving the tubby cat pain medication and enemas, hoping they'll help move his stool through.
The hospital is asking for donations since his costs have gone up due to having to seek specialty care. Any extra funds will be for a special fund for cats in need. To donate, visit http://www.gofundme.com/biggie.
Biggie's weight loss mission comes after an obese Southern California cat named Little Dude, who once tipped the scale at 36 pounds, drew national attention as he fought for his health. Little Dude died in September.