When the much-larger-than-any-domestic-cat-should-ever-be orange tabby named Mitchy first arrived at VCA Santa Monica Dog and Cat Hospital in Santa Monica, California, the staff hoped the owner could help the 4-year-old cat slim down. But in time, it was apparent to everyone this goal was impossible considering his home life. Mitchy gained even more weight between visits to the hospital. But thanks to a dedicated pro-Mitchy team at VCA, his weight’s now on the way down and life is looking up.

Changes had to be made to save this cat

Evidently, Mitchy has superpowers when it comes to getting humans to give him food! One look at him proves this is true.

“Mitchy first visited us last year for a routine checkup and weighed 25 pounds,” shared Monique White, hospital manager at VCA Santa Monica Dog and Cat Hospital. “Then last November, his owner brought him in again and he’d gained another 15 pounds, then weighing 40 pounds. Mitchy sadly couldn’t even walk.”

Mitchy’s veterinarian had a candid talk with Mitchy’s family, expressing her concern for Mitchy’s health. “They ultimately came to the difficult decision to relinquish him to the S.M Animal Shelter in an effort to get him the additional help he needed to get the weight off,” explained Monique. 

Mitchy stayed at the animal shelter for one day. The staff at VCA Santa Monica offered to take over care for him because they felt the shelter might not have the resources to help him lose the significant amount of weight he required. So VCA welcomed Mitchy back for continued care until he can ultimately live in a home again.

“Before Mitchy arrived here, the largest cat we’d seen at the clinic weighed 25 pounds!” said Patricia Lainez, vet tech supervisor at VCA Santa Monica Dog and Cat Hospital. “Mitchy, who’s a long cat, should weigh between 12 to 15 pounds for an appropriate weight. We estimate that it will take about 18 months for him to reach this milestone.” 
“This cat has brought our whole team together. We’re an even tighter group now working together to rehabilitate Mitchy. We all agreed as a group that we could help him, and we’re all a part of his journey.”

Everyone loved him, but he couldn’t even walk

The staff at VCA is absolutely enthralled with this alluring boy. “I’m so obsessed with him,” said Monique. “I think we all are. He's such a lover. Mitchy pretends like he hates it, but he always wants attention, always. Everybody says, ‘Oh my gosh, he's so big, he's so cute.’ People are so curious about him. And he isn’t bothered by dogs or other cats. He doesn’t even hiss—he’s such a cool cat.” 

Despite all this cuteness, Mitchy was in serious trouble. At first, he was completely immobile. “It was sad because he’s only four years old,” says Patricia. “He should be in his prime, jumping on counters and doing things he’s not supposed to do. When he first arrived, he couldn’t walk, so we struggled with how to give him exercise. We started massaging his legs to improve the muscle condition.”

Then after some weight loss and work on his legs, he just walked out of his kennel in January. “I opened the cage and walked away to get bedding and when I returned, he was gone,” explained Patricia. “He’d walked over to our x-ray room. I realized, OK he's mobile now! That was the best day ever because it was so surprising and welcome.”

Monique says that from that point on, it’s been a joy caring for Mitchy. Now he can use a litter box like a normal cat. “To most people that may not mean a lot, but to us it’s a big deal. Once we knew he could walk, we also took him to the front lobby because he hates it there so he’ll walk back—so funny. It’s our trick to make him move!”

They also gave him a gold chain for a collar with a bell because no cat collars would fit him. “It’s the cutest thing, you could tell that he felt so handsome!” said Patricia. “Mitchy purrs a lot, he’s super vocal.”

His strict diet continues and his health improves 

The staff continues to monitor and adjust Mitchy’s unique nutrition needs, working closely with his veterinarian. He pretends he’s always hungry by licking his empty bowl. “Mitchy’s getting there!” shared Patricia. “He's plateaued right now at 32 pounds. We thought for sure he would be a diabetic because he was so big, but no, surprisingly not. So, we just need to focus on his continued weight loss.”

The staff says it’s so hard not to feed him treats. But they have a rule: no treats! And now they take him out for walks to exercise him and he can play with toys. 

“Mitchy has perseverance to keep trying to improve,” concluded Monique. “I feel like this cat has brought our whole team together. We’re an even tighter group now working together to rehabilitate Mitchy. We all agreed as a group that we could help him, and we’re all a part of his journey. We all love Mitchy!”

To learn about weight loss for your pet, talk to your veterinarian. If you need a veterinarian, find a VCA veterinarian here.