Very sad news out of the pet world today: A spokesperson for the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society has announced on the shelter's Facebook page that Meow, the nearly 40 lb. cat who made headlines over the past few weeks for his battle with feline obesity, has passed away. The cat, who captured the hearts of animal lovers from around the world - including Anderson Cooper and The Today Show's Matt Lauer - had been making progress in his foster home, and was already down to 35.7 lbs. on a high protein and low carb diet. His last scheduled appearance was to be a live weigh-in on May 3rd, that was ultimately put on hold as his health began to decline.
Despite the outpouring of media attention given to Meow's unusual story, the XL kitty's origins still remain unclear. While many outlets have reported that the 2-year-old cat was relinquished by an 87-year-old owner who fed him a hot dog diet, Catster contends that he was closer to five years in age, and was better taken care of than we'd been lead to believe.
Whatever the case, the plus sized pussycat made an impact on his countless number of fans who came to know his story, and were rooting for him to shed the weight and find his forever home. While it's unfortunate that Meow did not get the happy ending he deserved, hopefully his death will not be in vain and can teach others about the dangers of having a unhealthily oversized pet.
The full statement from shelter Executive Director Mary Martin reads:
I am devastated to share with you that the respiratory distress that Meow was experiencing last week (the reason we did not do his weigh-in) took his life at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 5. The Shelter staff - along with all those who met Meow during his short time with us – mourn his passing. As many of you are aware, Meow began wheezing last Thursday in his foster home, Dr. Jen began trying to sort out the problem, at first considering the possibility of asthma associated with his weight. She started treatment immediately to ease his breathing and, when Meow didn’t improve, she sought additional help for him from our emergency specialty hospital and an additional private veterinary hospital. Although four different veterinarians worked with Meow, we were unable to stop the progression of what turned out to be pulmonary failure. Meow had been doing so well in his foster home; walking up stairs and seeking affection - that it is so very hard to believe he is gone. We will forever be grateful for the attention Meow’s size brought to pet obesity and to animal shelters across the country. We are especially grateful to all of you who fell in love with this charming cat - as we did – and were so very interested in his progress and success.
With gratitude, Mary Martin