By Paul Bisceglio
New York’s tubbiest tabby has a new home.
Sponge Bob, the 30 lb. feline media sensation, made his debut with his new owners last week on the purple carpet at Animal Haven’s second annual Performance for the Animals benefit concert and auction at City Winery in Tribeca.
Two months ago, Sponge Bob’s previous owner went into hospice and left the nine-year-old cat with Animal Haven, a non-profit cat and dog shelter on Centre Street in Soho. The shelter started a blog about Sponge Bob to aid his adoption that won him instant fame last week, including press coverage in the UK and an appearance on the Today Show. He is likely the world’s largest living cat.
Sponge Bob now belongs to Courtney and Matthew Farrell, a young newlywed couple living on the Upper East Side. They hoisted Sponge Bob up for the cameras on the red carpet – no easy task, for sure – and shared hugs and kisses with the cat and each other while expressing their enthusiasm for the new member of the family
Mrs. Farrell said that she and her husband started to play with the idea of getting a cat once they were married, but did not want to bother with a kitten or anything too out of control. When she first read about Sponge Bob, she sent Mr. Farrell a picture as a joke. A few conversations later, they knew they had found the perfect match. They were amazed that he had not yet been adopted.
“We’re gonna whip him into shape,” promised Mr. Farrell when asked about the cat’s health. He and his wife both exercise regularly and believe in promoting healthy lifestyles.
“He’s already on a no carb diet,” Mr. Farrell added with a smile. “Catkins.”
Kendra Mara, Animal Haven’s Associate Director, said that blood work done on Sponge Bob showed that he has no current health complications beyond obesity. Dangers of diabetes and arthritis persist, though, so it is essential for Sponge Bob to maintain a healthy weight loss routine, with the target of shedding about one pound per month.
Ms. Mara noted that Animal Haven had been careful not to over-sensationalize Sponge Bob’s Garfield-esque physique, and believes that his sudden fame has helped raise much-needed awareness of feline and pet obesity, a serious issue in the city.
The Farrells enjoyed their moment in the spot light, but packed Sponge Bob into his baby stroller and hit the road before the evening’s concert and auction began.
“He’s been through a lot,” they agreed while scratching his portly chin. “We just want to get him home.”
Tags: 30 lb cat, animal haven, animal obesity, cat, catkins, centre street, City Winery, courtney farrell, Edie Falco, fat cat, feline obesity, kendra mara, matthew farrell, Obesity, pet obesity, SoHo, Sponge Bob, today show, Tribeca
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