ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Meow can't help but waddle. He's one super-sized cat.
The 2-year-old orange and white tabby tips the scale at nearly 40 pounds, and the Santa Fe Animal Shelter is on a mission to get the feline back into shape.
Meow's 87-year-old owner could no longer take care of him, so the pet was turned over to a shelter in southeastern New Mexico that called the Santa Fe shelter for help.
"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 said Friday.
Meow has been placed with a foster family. He'll be on a special diet so he can start shedding some pounds. The goal is for him to lose at least 10 pounds so he can be put up for adoption.
The shelter plans to post updates on Meow's weight loss on its Facebook page.
It's not clear how the feline was able to gain so much weight in just two years. Adult cats typically weigh between seven and 12 pounds.
"If you go online, you'll see a lot of fat cats and these are people who have fed them just one thing, like meat or something that's not nutritionally balanced," Swan said. "Then the cat refuses to eat anything else and then they just get fatter and fatter and fatter."
Meow has one thing going for him. He's not the fattest cat out there.
That record belongs to Himmy, a tabby from Australia that weighed almost 47 pounds. The shelter said Guinness World Records has since stopped accepting applications for the record over concerns it would encourage people to overfeed their animals.
In Meow's case, the shelter is awaiting blood test results to make sure he doesn't have any additional health problems.
Shelter veterinarian Jennifer Steketee said the idea is for Meow to gradually lose weight by eating a special diet. He has already lost a couple of pounds since being turned in.
Steketee said the dangers of feline obesity are not much different than they are for humans – extra pressure on the heart and joints.
Swan said all the extra weight makes it tough for Meow to play. He had little interest in the super-sized toy mouse the shelter gave him when he first arrived and he couldn't squeeze much more than his head into the carpeted ring attached to the shelter's scratching post.
"He's very sweet. He's doing everything a normal cat would do except he loses his breath and tires easily," Swan said. "We're seeing what we can to do help him."
Fat cat Fifi Bottomley (8), was found nearly starved to death as a kitten before being taken in by her current owner. Her difficult start in life left her with a tendency to gorge herself at any opportunity. The greedy feline would steal food from other cats, even directly from people's plate's, and despite all attempts to help her, she continued to pile on the pounds.
Mega moggy Mini Moo, from Basildon, is undergoing a complete diet overhaul thanks to the vets and nurses at Basildon PDSA PetAid hospital. Mini Moo will eat anything she can get her paws on, from Wotsits to cheese and even butter! And she regularly steals the other cats' food, making it difficult for Sharon to judge just how much food the colossal cat is putting away!
Sweet treats and extra portions have been the dietary downfall of Bailey, a rather round Border Collie from Wishaw in Glasgow.
Black-and- white tom cat Billie (10) was nominated for the fat fighting competition by his retired owners. Billie loves his food and always had a bigger and unhealthier appetite than his housemate Bobby, who recently passed away. Devouring his own meals he also had no problem helping himself from Bobby's bowl too!
Billy, a cuddly Cocker spaniel with a passion for food, food and more food, has been selected to slim down and shape-up with help from staff at the PDSA PetAid hospital in East Glasgow. Billy started piling on the pounds about two years ago and developed a problem climbing the stairs. He was getting very exhausted after a walk so his owners cut down his extra portions and treats right away but the weight stayed on
Ottis, an overweight Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from Edinburgh, who eats everything in sight and has even been known to steal food from the bin.
Flabby rabbit Bobby, from Richmond in North Yorkshire. Bobby has gradually piled on the pounds over the last few years until her owner noticed that her large dewlap (the fold under her chin) was making it difficult for Bobby to groom herself properly.
Sneaky food thief Casper the cat, from Stockbridge, Edinburgh. Over the years, the pounds piled on, despite the owner trying her hardest to help him lose weight.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Jack (7) was rehomed earlier this year by his current owner, and is undergoing a complete life transformation
Podgy pooch Dexter, from Cheshire, weight problems began after he was neutered and he soon piled on the pounds.
Mighty cat Maverick, from Leith, Edinburgh, is the biggest cat ever seen by PDSA Vets in Edinburgh.
Big Alfie, from Strood, Kent, the weight problems began after he started limping at the age of three. He suffers from both arthritis and hip dysplasia and the excess weight he is carrying is adding to his misery
Merlin's weight problems began after he was neutered and his extra bulk is causing him mobility problems and he has developed arthritis.
Rotund Rottweiler Molly, from Barnsley, the weight problems started when the pair began serving Molly their food leftovers and visitors couldn't resist giving her a treat from the jar when they popped round.
Spoilt Springer Spaniel Skippy weight problems began after he was neutered and his greedy appetite does not help matters.