Fat Cat Named Buddha Uses Underwater Treadmill to Exercise

There was a reason the cat is called Buddha and it has nothing to do with zen.

The 6-year-old feline weighed a corpulent 31.4 pounds when brought into a Nashville, Tenn., animal shelter

"I just happened to be there the day that Buddha came in, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him in person," Penny Adams, a volunteer photographer at a Nashville shelter, told GoodMorningAmerica.com. "It was just jaw-dropping and sad knowing the risks he had health wise."

Buddha was dropped off at the shelter Aug. 2 when his owner passed away, and Adams quickly realized that if the 6-year-old obese feline didn't get some help, he would surely pass away.

Adams teamed up Chris Achord, owner of Nashville's The Cat Shoppe.

"Penny said, 'This cannot be good for him,' so she called me and said, 'We've got to help him,'" Achord said. "So she brought him here. He's 6-years-old and sweet, sweet, sweet."

The two women are now working to help Buddha lose the extra weight. They've teamed up with Animalia, a health and wellness veterinary hospital, to put him on a rigorous exercise program where he walks on a special underwater treadmill three times a week.

"When we took Buddha to get checked out, he had lots of extensive blood work done and ironically, he does not have a thyroid problem or diabetes, so it's just because of the diet that he's so big. He's like a ticking time bomb right now."

Along with the weekly exercise, they're getting Buddha back to a regular diet of cat food, rather than the constant table scraps to which had become so accustomed.

"If we can get about a pound a month off right now, that would be a huge help," said Adams. "Because he lived off people food for so long, even just switching to cat food has been a big win."

Buddha is already down to 29 pounds and continues to make steady progress at his exercise appointments three times a week.

Once Buddha gets down to 20 pounds, Adams and Achord believe it is safe to adopt him out to a good home.

If you'd like to donate towards Buddha's rather expensive exercise program, you can send a check to "The Cat Shoppe Rescue" at 2824 Bransford Ave., Nashville, Tenn. 37204.