Sunday 19 February 2023

Picture of a grossly obese and grossly matted abandoned cat is shocking

NEWS AND COMMENT: The RSPCA have named her Big Bertha. She is a young two years old tabby cat. The past owner appears to have grossly overfed her and then abandoned her. She was dumped in Calthorpe Park, Birmingham, UK and weighed 11.8 kg in pounds (26 pounds). The average domestic cat might way around 8-10 pounds.

Picture of a grossly obese and grossly matted abandoned cat is shocking
Picture of a grossly obese and grossly matted abandoned cat is shocking. Image: RSPCA.

The Birmingham Animal Center's supervisor, Emma Finnimore was shocked. She said that "This is the largest cat I have seen in my 22 years working for the RSPCA".

They found her in this bag:

The bag in which Bertha was found
The bag in which Bertha was found. Picture: RSPCA.

So, what did they do? The only thing they could do was to clip off all her matted fur and put her on a gradual weight, reduction diet. The clipped off fur weighed 0.3 of a kilogram incidentally. Dieting of this sort needs to be gradual to avoid fatty liver disease.

She was too large to go through a cat flap and the RSPCA had to adapt a cat run for her until she went to a foster home.

Foster carer Emma Cureton, said:

 "The weight has gradually come off and she's already lost an amazing 3.82kg - which is a third of her body weight. She's still got a little way to go but she'll get there and will soon be ready to find a new home. She was in such a sorry state when she arrived at the rescue centre with her matting pulling on her skin. We don't know how she got so large as she is only a young cat. We think maybe someone had been constantly feeding her as she was so large, she was left unable to groom herself."

Pretty well everybody knows that this kind of obesity is a major health problem leading to high blood pressure, diabetes, problems with the liver, skin and heat tolerance and damaging the joints.

Separately, the RSPCA said that there has been a 25% rise in the number of abandonment incidents. In 2021 there were 10,519 abandonments of pets while in the year up to October 2022 there has been 13,159.

The report does not say why, but I think I know and other reports have confirmed this namely that there were too many self-indulgent pet adoptions during Covid-19 in order to keep people company and to entertain them during those long lockdowns. 

Many of these adoptions have now gone wrong and the owners are either abandoning their cats and dogs or selling them on the Internet through social media.

Incidentally, there has been a worrying upward trend in harassment of farm animals by badly trained dogs in the countryside. This, too, has been put down to the same root cause namely adoptions by people who do not have sufficient knowledge about dog welfare and behaviour during the pandemic.

So, we are, in the UK, feeling the effects in a very major way, not only in respect of pet ownership but in many other areas of Covid-19 and its legacy.

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