The Richardson Animal Shelter in Richardson, Tx., recently got a call from a local resident about a "huge cat" wandering around outside, and the description almost turned out to be an understatement.
What the shelter staff encountered was Skinny, a 40.9-lb. behemoth of a feline estimated to be between 3 and 5 years old.
"I've been here 22 years and it's the largest cat I've ever seen," says Dennis Wooten, assistant director of health at the shelter. "And the sad thing about it is, it can only walk a few feet at a time."
When Skinny was first scooped up (with two hands!) by animal authorities earlier this month, evidence suggested that she was a he.
"[A staffer] put it down as a 'neutered male' because he couldn't find any parts down there," says Wooten. "But the doctor said, 'I rolled him over and parted all the layers of tummy and believe it or not, it's a girl!'"
Though the severely obese kitty tested negative for diabetes and has a clean bill of health so far, she has been classified as special needs and will soon be transferred to another clinic where staff will help her shed the weight before she can be placed in a forever home.
Until then, she's enjoying spotlight in her kitty suite, an area the shelter created for her because the regular kennel was too small. It's also where TV crews and reporters have stopped by for a glimpse of the remarkable animal.
"She's just loving all the attention," says Wooten, who's gotten calls for adoption from as far away as Brazil. "She's kind of like a newborn – when you put 'em down they stay right there. Wherever you put her, that's where she pretty much stays."