44-Pound Feline Waddles Way Into Nation's Heart

The cat currently known as Prince Chunk is living the American dream.

The tubby tabby went from the streets of New Jersey to red-hot media darling in less than a week. Chunk appeared today on "Good Morning America," his second talk-show appearance in as many days.

Donna Oklatner, a 65-year-old retiree, said she had to part with the cat she named Powder because she faced foreclosure on her Voorhees, N.J., home.

Oklatner told the New York Daily News she was "heartbroken" to give up the cat, but because of her economic woes, she asked a friend to take Powder to a local animal shelter.

"I would never abandon an animal," she told the newspaper.

Prince ChunkPlay

Chunk's rise to fame began July 25 when animal control officer Jim McCleery got a call to pick up the collarless stray. McCleery dropped the cat off at the Camden County Animal Shelter.

Then the media got wind of the corpulent kitty and pounced. Ten-year-old Chunk is just two pounds shy of the fattest cat on record, a 46-plus pounder from Australia.

Gender Confusion

Adding to the drama, vets had trouble determining Chunk's gender. They first thought he was a male cat and dubbed him Captain Chunk. Then they reversed the diagnosis, saying he was a she and tried on the Princess Chunk moniker. Finally, on Thursday, a veterinarian said the cat was definitely male, and the name Prince Chunk stuck.

The Camden County Animal Shelter said they have received hundreds of calls from people interested in adopting Chunk and aren't taking any more applications.

The question on many minds is, why is this cat so fat?

"Actually since I've had him, he eats like a normal cat," said CCAS worker Debbie Wright.

Oklatner said she didn't overfeed the cat – Fancy Feast in the morning and at night and kibble to snack on during the day, she told the N.J. Courier-Post newspaper.

Wright said that Chunk will undergo a physical exam on Tuesday to check for any underlying medical conditions.

For now, Chunk has become the poster child for the toll the failing economy is taking on animals, as more pets lose their homes along with their owners.

"It's an epidemic," Wright said.