Sponge Bob: Behind The Scenes When A Cat Goes on National TV

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30 pound NYC shelter cat Sponge Bob appeared on the Today show Sunday for a segment about his special circumstances, as part of  the shelter’s efforts to find him a home. Bob’s friend Suzi made a behind the scenes video of his trip to the studio.

Bob has been the fat cat du jour in the media in recent days and his caretakers at Animal Haven in Soho have allowed a photo shoot, on site interviews, and now, select TV appearances.

Yesterday, Bob appeared on the Today show, and this morning he was on Good Day New York.

Bob arrived at Animal Haven in April, out of shape and weighing 33 pounds, with his sweet little head looking out of place on his enormous body. Shelter staffers and volunteers quietly worked with Bob to carefully take off the pounds and to get him moving more easily,in order to improve his overall condition.

Bob’s great weight was determined not to be from a medical condition, but from a situation that is not coming to light over and over again; Bob is one of the grossly obese indoor cats whose owners are elderly or infirm and overfeed their understimulated pets without actually meaning to hurt them,

Along with the rest of us, including the Today show producers; since the media has come calling, Bob’s caregivers constantly feel the looming presence of Meow, the fat cat who died shortly after making a cross country trip for TV appearances on the US East coast. While no one knows for sure if the stress of travel and the strange environment of television studios directly contributed to Meow’s heart failure, his death stands as a cautionary reminder.

Bob’s trip to the Today  studio included getting into his roomy soft sided wheeled carrier and taking a limousine ride from Lower Manhattan to Mid-Town, while accompanied by close companions he sees every day.

Once in the studio, Bob was allowed to stay in his carrier for a while to become acclimated to his new surroundings. Then he was settled on a table top so he could ease into position for the segment, while still surrounded by his familiar people. Bob also get attention from show personnel who wanted to meet him.

He received comfort and reassurances to help him stay calm as he waited for his segment with the Today show hosts and Animal Haven Associate Director Kendra Mara.


The segment, thankfully, was respectful and informative, unlike at least one of poor Meow’s national TV appearances. Kendra spoke about Bob and reached out for an adopter.

The shelter’s two goals for Bob have been to help him become fitter and to find him a home. While his size has made it easy for him to become a spectacle, it has scared off many potential adopters. Several offers for adoption came in after the broadcast, but Animal haven is reluctant to have Bob travel too far out of area to go to his new home.

Maybe Bob’s appearance on Good Morning New York today will bring forward the person who will give him the good and loving home he needs to continue his weight loss and fitness regimen and to live out the rest of his days.

Bob is not the only remarkably large cat in a New York area shelter these days; 40 pound Garfield came to the North Shore Animal League on May 31, inspiring the league to write about the dangers of and solutions for feline obesity. See Pet Obesity: When Your cat needs to Cut down on the Kibble, which features Garfield along with the important discussion on overweight cats.


Here is Suze Anders’ behind the scenes look at Bob’s visit to Today, followed by the actual broadcast segment.


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