Meow, the sweet and exceptionally large boy who came to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society in April, weighing in at over 39 pounds, sadly passed away Saturday afternoon from pulmonary failure. Meow made headlines for his great size, his story became well known to the online community of animal lovers, then he gained greater fame after visits to the Today Show and Anderson Cooper’s talk show program.
After his initial intake examinations, Meow was placed into foster care. He was placed on a diet chosen to help him maintain proper nutrition while losing weight at a healthful rate, and he had lost a few pounds. After slimming down a bit, Meow went from barely being able to walk more than a few steps without tiring himself out, to being able to walk up stairs. When Meow’s story first became known, everyone was surprised to learn that the gigantic cat was only two years old, but he was later discovered to be about five. Even as a five year old cat, the sweet boy had become unhealthfully enormous while still relatively young, while those extra three years added on to his age meant more damage done to his overall health.
Things went downhill by Thursday of last week, when Meow’s scheduled weigh-in was postponed due to wheezing, which his primary care vet, Dr. Jennifer Steketee, initially thought might be asthma associated with his weight. When he did not respond to treatment to ease his breathing, Dr. Jen sought help from the shelter’s emergency specialty hospital and a private veterinary hospital. None of the vets’ efforts to help Meow and stem the progress of what turned out to be heart failure were able to save him.
The Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society said on their Facebook page that, while they are saddened at Meow’s passing, especially after he’d made such wonderful progress, they are grateful for the way his story has raised awareness about the problem of pet obesity, and has highlighted the good work done for animals by many shelters across the country.
Beyond Meow’s great size, most saw the face of a sweet and beautiful boy who was on the verge of getting a wonderful new lease on life. We are truly saddened to learn of his passing.