-- Symba the 35-pound cat has been adopted.
Kiah Berkeley and Peter Sorkin of Mount Rainier, Maryland, are the proud new owners of the obese feline.
“He is lovely. He is a really sweet guy,” Berkeley, 31, told ABC News of Symba’s personality.
The engaged couple heard about him like everyone else: on the news.
“There were a bunch of news stories about him,” she said. “We love cats. My fiancé and I had two cats already. I have a particular affinity for very large animals and he obviously was a really sweet, loving guy. Very cute.”
When Berkeley first laid eyes on the 5-year-old feline in person, she thought, “How big he is! But after that, how sad he was,” she explained.
“He’s clearly missing his old owner and his old life,” she added. “He has some sores on his belly where his arm joints are because he can’t clean those so I got him ointment from the vet that I’m putting on those. He had fleas. He was really dirty, he was really stinky. We’re giving him lots of dry baths, there’s dry shampoo for that. We’re doing a lot of scratching and brushing and he purrs up a storm.”
Symba was surrendered to the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C., only 10 minutes from where Berkeley lives, when his owner moved into a retirement home.
“He could not bring the cat with him,” the organization's spokesperson, Matt Williams, told ABC News when he was first up for adoption.
The kitty is still getting used to his new surroundings before his new owners start his diet and exercise programs.
“He is adjusting. He’s slowly making progress. He’s purring a lot with his back scratches,” said Berkeley. “It’s almost like practice having a baby for my fiancé and I. hH really needs a lot of care, a lot of medical stuff. He’s currently not eating a lot so we’re constantly going into the room to offer him things.”
Berkeley said her new pet is “docile and sweet” and she and Sorkin are amazed and humbled by all the support they’ve been given.
“We’re super glad to have him. We’ve got three cats and two hamsters now and we’re done,” she said with a laugh. “We love him and we’re also really happy with all the support we’re getting from all the people who want to know how he’s doing and offering to have fundraisers for vet bills. We hope we don’t ever have to do that but it’s really nice knowing that we have that support.”
She said the Humane Rescue Alliance has been “really great” too.
“They gave us a complimentary vet visit for him. That was a nice thing to have,” she said.