Buddha, RIP: Inspirational Cat on Water Treadmill and Diet Regimen Dies

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By Karen Harrison Binette



Cat Shoppe and Dog Store in Nashville, TN announced today that their sweet 6 year old big boy and international celebrity cat Buddha has passed away from a congenital heart condition. Buddha passed away last night.

Buddha weighed a massive 31.4 pounds when  he was rescued from Kentucky’s Metro Animal Care and Control by photographer and shelter volunteer Penny Adams in August of this year. The Cat Shoppe and Dog Store runs the nonprofit Cat Shoppe Rescue Inc rescue and adoption program to rehome cats, and they took Buddha into their care. We covered that story on August 9, with Fat Cat Buddha is Rescued and Gets Help.

The Cat Shoppe devised a plan to help Buddha become slim and fit, through a carefully monitored diet and a fitness regimen carried out with an underwater treadmill. The water helped support Buddha’s weight during his three times a week workout sessions, and he made excellent progress toward his goal. We shared video of Buddha’s workout in Water Treadmill Sessions Help Buddha Lose Weight and Get Fit, on September 9.

Buddha’s story garnered worldwide interest, and he became a local celebrity in Nashville, where the locals were charmed by him and took an interest in his progress. Buddha was able to help his caregivers by posing for professional photos with people who donate to the Cat Shoppe’s rescue program.

Buddha got down to 24 pounds, just four pounds away from his reasonable goal weight of 20 pounds, but his life was cut short due to a congenital heart defect. When the severity of his heart problem became evident recently, Buddha was taken off his exercise program and was sent to live in a foster home, where he could finish out his days with love and comfort.

The Cat Shoppe/Dog Store made the following statement at both their website and Facebook page today:

The Cat Shoppe suffered a tremendous loss last night. Our beloved Buddha unexpectedly passed away quietly from congestive heart failure. He had recently been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. He was not able to continue water therapy and was placed in a loving foster home.

Five months ago today Buddha arrived at the Cat Shoppe from Metro Animal Control. Little did we know how much of an impact and inspiration he would have on us and all of you. Buddha lived life to the fullest and had such determination.

He was cared for by some of the best Doctors in town. Dr. Lisa Martin and the staff at Animalia / Stonewater Rehab were wonderful and instrumental in helping Buddha achieve a healthier weight. His cardiologist, Dr. Nicole Piscitelli, Dr. Doug King, and Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners were always there for him. We cannot thank them enough for loving and caring so much for Buddha!

And to all of you who have stopped by the shop to ask about how he was doing, had your pictures made with him, donated loyally to his care, we thank you!

Our bouncy Buddha cat has been stilled but his spirit lingers on!! He was deeply loved and will be greatly missed!

It’s our hope Buddha will not have died in vain. We hope that his story inspires owners of obese cats to help them get them on a path to a healthier weight.

We will be having a celebration of life for him at Monell’s next to the Cat Shoppe on December 14th at 7pm-8pm.

Buddha, as he looked at the time of his rescue.
Photo by Penny Adams
Buddha in one of his water therapy sessions.
Buddha in his foster home at Thanksgiving, after his heart condition was diagnosed.


Looking cute in his foster home





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