April 23, 2012 at 3:35 PM ET
The cat was out of the bag in Studio 1A this morning – all 39 lbs., 10 oz. of him. Meow, a cat being cared for by the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society, visited the TODAY show along with veterinarian Jennifer Steketee, who is helping the flabby tabby shed a few pounds and hopefully find a home.
Meow was originally turned into a smaller shelter in Roswell, N.M., Dr. Steketee explained; his owner was an elderly woman who could no longer care for him. “Clearly he was not fed a healthy diet, and way too much of it, and lacks a certain amount of willpower,” she said. Amazingly, despite his prodigious girth (adult cats usually weigh 7 to 12 pounds), Meow does not have diabetes or other health issues. He’s just fat. Really, really fat.
“You say he turned up in Roswell?” Matt said. “Maybe he ate a spaceship.”
Actually, these days Meow is mostly eating meat – a high-protein, low-carb diet, kind of the feline equivalent of Atkins (Catkins?). The folks at his Santa Fe foster home are hoping to bring him down by about 10 pounds before placing him in a new home. “He’s already lost two pounds, so he’s on his way,” Dr. Steketee said.
“A chubby cat is really not a happy cat,” the veterinarian added. “He is a cat that can really barely walk at this point, and it’s going to be a hard road back to health.”
To dramatize just how obese Meow is, an assistant brought another cat into the studio: Oscar, a healthy 8-pound Persian.
“Careful,” Matt warned as Oscar was held next to Meow. “Because Oscar will disappear.”
Follow Oscar’s weight-loss journey on the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society's Facebook page.
Rick Schindler's favorite cat is Scratchy on "The Simpsons."