NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A fat cat named Buddha arrived at a Nashville, Tennessee shelter after his owner died, tipping the scales at more than 31 pounds, struggling to get around. His weight was twice that of a normal cat.
So, much like humans, the full-figured feline needed a strict diet and exercise plan.
He has been exercising on an underwater treadmill three times a week.
"One might think, oh cats in water that is cruel, how could you do that? But it really has made a huge difference in his health," explained Penny Adams, a volunteer photographer at The Cat Shoppe.
The 6-year-old full-figured feline has been at a strict regime at the Stonewater Animal Rehabilitation center.
Dr. Lisa Martin says it's not common to see felines in the facility.
"It's very rare. We don't have too many cats that come here. It's a matter of acclimation. They're not naturally inclined to swim in water although tigers do and we just get them used to it over a period of time," she said.
The water gives the cat's joints a break. Buddha has built up endurance and can walk on the underwater treadmill for twelve minutes at a time. So far, he has lost about five pounds.
His goal weight is 20 pounds. When he reaches that goal, the cat will be looking for a good home.