Texas Fat Cat Tiny Tim Battles Through Weight Issues

The feline lost 6.6 pounds this year thanks to exercise and a strict diet.

ByABC News
December 28, 2012, 10:54 AM

Dec. 28, 2012 — -- There's nothing tiny about Tiny Tim, a Texas fat cat. Tiny, as his caretakers call him, was rescued just before Christmas in 2011.

"Because he was so huge, he had trouble walking, he had trouble standing," Southside Place Animal Hospital manager Debbie Green told ABCNews.com.

Tiny, who's about 9 years old, weighed in at a hefty 35.2 pounds when he arrived at the animal hospital, but testing showed that Tiny was otherwise healthy. When a search for his owner proved unsuccessful, the hospital took him in as a permanent resident -- provided he'd lose weight.

By New Year's, the "super sweet cat" had been placed on a strict diet for the year.

"He has been on a very, very regimented diet -- measured meal plans, the whole works and he is at 28.6 pounds," Green said. "He weighs in twice a week, and he gets meals measured in little bags throughout the whole week, so we know exactly what he's eating."

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His 6.6 pound weight loss was nearly 20 percent of his body weight -- a New Year's resolution success story by any standards.

"He did better than most people. I think he could be on the 'Biggest Loser' show," Green said, with a laugh. "It's been slow and steady but very good for him."

Tiny is fed a precise 307 calories per day, and his team of doctors would be "really, really excited if he got closer to 20 pounds," Green said.

But he puzzled his doctors earlier this year when he seemed to plateau at 30 pounds.

"He did have an episode where we couldn't figure out why he stopped losing weight," Green said.

Tiny, somewhat ironically, lives in a food pantry in the animal hospital because he is too big for the normal cat cages at Southside.

"He has a little house and a little bed and a very large litter box," she said. "Since he was so big, we never thought anything of it and one day we were just moving some things and found some food that didn't quite look like what he normally eats."

Tiny is too big to jump up on the shelves, but a staff member figured out that Tiny had clawed a small hole into a bag of food and had been having midnight snacks.

"At night, he was feeding himself because his little measured amounts would run out and he was not losing weight so the food got moved up one more level and now he's back on track," Green said.

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Tiny's doctors make sure Tiny exercises by making him work for his bed and board. He is carried to the front of the clinic at least three times a day, and he has to walk the 50 feet back to his room for meals.

"He doesn't voluntarily walk around the office," Green said. "He used to move 10 steps and then sit down. Now he can get from the front to the back, which is about 50 feet, without much trouble at all."

As of now, Tiny is "perfectly healthy," but that does not mean he will not get stricken with diabetes or have thyroid problems in the future because of his weight, Green said. They believe arthritis could become a problem for him too.

Regardless, the popular feline is pretty quiet and prefers the peace of his pantry to the business of the hospital's waiting room, but he enjoys the attention and brushing he receives from friends and fans who often stop by to visit him.

"He's very comfortable here. Everyone here loves Tiny," she said. "I think that he has found his residence."