When the Humane Rescue Alliance met Symba, they were shocked at the state of his health. He was surrendered to the rescue when his owner moved into a nursing home, and the vets knew that they were in for a challenge.
Over the phone, Symba’s owner was answering a few questions. When they asked him how much Symba weighed, he responded with an honest “nearly 40 pounds.” They thought he must have been exaggerating…until they arrived and discovered that Symba really was as large as they feared.
The 35-pound cat barely fit into a large cardboard box and barely had the strength to move.The vets immediately performed blood tests and discovered that Symba wasn’t diabetic – in fact, his results were normal! It was a relief. After Symba became used to life at the shelter, they put him on a controlled diet and helped him to exercise just a few steps at a time.Symba has 15 pounds to lose before he reaches his goal weight of 18 pounds.
In order to teach him new eating habits, Symba now receives 2/3 cup of dry kibbles fed to him with a puzzle-feeder, meaning that he must slow down in order to eat his meals. Volunteers report that Symba is ready for a new home, but any new owners would need to be taught how to help him lose the weight. “Free feeding,” or leaving a bowl filled with cat food throughout the day is what caused his obesity in the first place. Any new home would need to follow the strict regimen, or Symba might easily gain back all of the weight that he’s lost at the shelter!