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'Meatball' the cat: 36-pound feline's 'fat farm' diet is obese cat's last hope

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A fat cat named Meatball, who is simply too overweight to be considered for adoption, is now getting the full “Biggest Loser” treatment – a stringent diet and rigorous oversight on the 36-pound cat’s exercise routine.

The short-haired male feline “is the biggest cat I’ve ever seen,” Melissa Gable of Maricopa County Animal Care and Control in Arizona told ABC News on Friday.

The morbidly obese cat was dropped off at an animal shelter by Meatball’s previous owners, who had cared for him before he started “having accidents all over the house.” The owners said they could not understand why Meatball kept gaining in weight – he weighs what four cats should weigh – because they only fed him dry cat food.

Gable says she is not sure how accurate this is, “because cat food isn't typically going to make a cat this large,” though Gable said that blood work had yet to be done on Meatball to rule out any physical problem causing the weight gain.

While eating human table scraps or having constant access to a full bowl of cat food may make a feline put on the pounds, an underlying condition like a thyroid problem could also cause the massive gains.

Gable now has Meatball – who already has glaucoma in one eye because of his weight issue – on a special diet of canned food, though he is sticking his nose up thus far.

“Most cats, if you give them canned food – that's heaven. So when I opened a can I thought he'd some right over,” Gable said.

Because Meatball is too unhealthy to be adopted and too big to be sent to a normal cat kennel, he’s been living in Gable’s office and getting some one-on-one attention.

“He doesn’t have problems walking, but he also does not have a lot of stamina,” Gable said. “Once he gets down to a weight they think is manageable, they will help find Meatball a new home.”

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