Ben Swan / Santa Fe Animal Shelter via AP
Dr. Jennifer Steketee holds Meow, a 2-year-old tabby who arrived at her shelter weighing in at over 39 pounds, after his elderly owner could no longer care for the feline.
"We are devastated," said Mary Martin, executive director of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society, which was caring for the obese orange-and-white tabby. "We were in a race against time to get the weight off Meow before he developed complications from his obesity, and we lost."
Ben Swan / Santa Fe Animal Shelter via APMeow tipped the scales at over 39 pounds when she came to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter in Santa Fe, N.M..
"His extreme obesity may have set off a string of events that ultimately ended his life," Steketee said.
Meow was originally turned over to a smaller shelter in Roswell, N.M., when his owner, an elderly woman, could no longer care for him. He was transferred to Santa Fe shelter, which was better equipped to deal with his weight and put him a a high-protein, low-carb diet, hoping to bring him down by about 10 pounds before placing him in a new home. By the time Meow appeared on TODAY, he had already lost two pounds.
TODAYDr. Jennifer Steketee introduces Meow to Hoda Kotb and Willie Geist on TODAY.
But Martin hopes Meow will not have died in vain. "We hope his fight will encourage other people to help their pets maintain the best health possible," she said. "Obesity is not something to be ignored."
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