39-pound fat cat 'Meow' dies of respiratory distress
New York, May 8 (ANI): An obese New Mexico cat that won America over last month with his quest to lose weight died on Saturday due to pulmonary failure.
Meow, a 2-year-old tabby, came to a Santa Fe shelter after his his 87-year-old owner could no longer care for the feline.
Santa Fe Animal Shelter executive director Mary Martin announced the demise of the celebrity cat in a Facebook post on Monday.
"I am devastated to share with you that the respiratory distress that Meow was experiencing last week ... took his life at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday," the New York Daily News quoted Martin's Facebook post as reading.
"We were in a race against time to get the weight off Meow before he developed complications from his morbid obesity and we lost," she said on the Santa Fe Humane Society's website.
The 39-pound cat quickly became a feline celebrity, getting petted on the "Today" show by Hugh Grant and Matt Lauer, and cuddling with Anderson Cooper on his daytime talk show.
Shelter workers were on a mission to have the orange and white tabby lose 10 pounds before he could be adopted, and had placed him with a foster family who put him on a special diet.
"The thing with this cat is when you look at it, certainly it's obese. You see that. But it's a sweet-looking cat. His face is very sweet. It's just incredibly fat," shelter spokesman Ben Swan had said at the time.
He had already lost 2 pounds by April 24, but was still well over the range for a healthy adult cat, typically 8 to 12 pounds.
Meow's health took a turn for the worse last Thursday, when he began wheezing, Martin said in her post.
Despite the work of four veterinarians, nothing could be done to stop his decline and he died on Saturday afternoon.
Martin heralded Meow as the poster cat for animal obesity on Monday, and thanked fans for their attention and support.
"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," she said.
"We mourn Meow's death, but we also hope his fight will encourage other people to help their pets maintain the best health possible ... Obesity is not something to be ignored," she added. (ANI)
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