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Meow the 39-pound cat visits TODAY

Two-year-old Meow arrived at a Santa Fe animal shelter last Thursday weighing a whopping 39 pounds. Jennifer Steketee introduces the hefty kitty to the TODAY team and explains how she's helping him get back into shape.

Ben Swan / Santa Fe Animal Shelter via AP

Meow is only 2 years old and already he's tipping the scales!

The cat was out of the bag in Studio 1A this morning – all 39 lbs., 10 oz. of him. Meow, a cat being cared for by the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society, visited the TODAY show along with veterinarian Jennifer Steketee, who is helping the flabby tabby shed a few pounds and hopefully find a home.

Ben Swan / Santa Fe Animal Shelter via AP

This fat cat's elderly owner could no longer care for him, so now he's trying to slim down at the Santa Fe Humane Society.

Meow was originally turned into a smaller shelter in Roswell, N.M., Dr. Steketee explained; his owner was an elderly woman who could no longer care for him. “Clearly he was not fed a healthy diet, and way too much of it, and lacks a certain amount of willpower,” she said. Amazingly, despite his prodigious girth (adult cats usually weigh 7 to 12 pounds), Meow does not have diabetes or other health issues. He’s just fat. Really, really fat.


"He's actually rather sweet," Matt told Dr. Jennifer Steketee.

“You say he turned up in Roswell?” Matt said. “Maybe he ate a spaceship.”

Actually, these days Meow is mostly eating meat – a high-protein, low-carb diet, kind of the feline equivalent of Atkins (Catkins?). The folks at his Santa Fe foster home are hoping to bring him down by about 10 pounds before placing him in a new home. “He’s already lost two pounds, so he’s on his way,” Dr. Steketee said.

“A chubby cat is really not a happy cat,” the veterinarian added. “He is a cat that can really barely walk at this point, and it’s going to be a hard road back to health.”

To dramatize just how obese Meow is, an assistant brought another cat into the studio: Oscar, a healthy 8-pound Persian.

“Careful,” Matt warned as Oscar was held next to Meow. “Because Oscar will disappear.”

Follow Oscar’s weight-loss journey on the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society's Facebook page.

Rick Schindler's favorite cat is Scratchy on "The Simpsons."