By Paul Bisceglio
New York’s favorite corpulent kitty has shed more than fur this summer. Spongebob, the nine year old tabby whose physique puts Garfield to shame, has lost some pounds since he was adopted from Animal Haven in June by Upper East Side newlyweds Courtney and Matthew Farrell.
The blog maintained by the couple on their portly new family member reports that Spongebob dropped four pounds in his first two weeks at home, down to 26 pounds from 30. His obesity — the result of overfeeding by his previous owner — puts him at risk of diabetes and arthritis, so Animal Haven and the Farrells created a diet and exercise routine to get him closer the feline average of 12 to 15 pounds.
Too much weight loss too soon can be bad for cats, however, so the Farrells note that Spongebob’s impressive progress is a cause for celebration as well as caution:
“Obese cats that lose weight at too rapid a pace are at risk for Fatty Liver Disease, which requires serious treatment and can be fatal,” they say on the blog. “When trying to help a cat lose weight, it’s important to monitor their weight and exercise levels regularly and look for any signs of discomfort, stress or illness.”
The couple had intended to help Spongebob drop only one to two pounds per month, but recognize that the stress of his sudden celebrity probably jolted things forward. To get him back on track, they have shelved the diet cat food and count play and general movement around their apartment as exercise.
Spongebob was a whopping 33 pounds when he arrived at Animal Shelter earlier in the year. Kendra Mara, the shelter’s Associate Director, has kept tabs on the tubby tabby’s progress, and is confident that he found the right home.
“Sponge Bob is doing fantastic in his new home and we couldn’t have found a better family for him,” she told New York Press. “He continues to lose weight and his parents keep a very close eye on his health. He brings them so much happiness and I am sure Sponge Bob feels the same way about them.”
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