Symba the 'Fat Cat': From Viral Sensation to Adopted Pet with Weight Loss Goals

PetMD Editorial
Published: June 19, 2017
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Weighing in at 35 pounds, a 6-year-old cat named Symba stunned the staff of the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) in Washington, D.C., upon his arrival.

According to a blog post, Symba was brought into HRA's facility after his previous owner could no longer care for him. Though the owner told HRA that his cat was overweight, the staff still couldn't believe their eyes when they saw the large feline. 

Aside from his weight, Symba had no major health issues. But the staff at HRA wanted to nip any future problems in the bud and get Symba on the right track. Not only did they put him on a healthier, balanced diet, they began a first-class workout treatment for Symba, which was captured on film. (In addition to his diet and workout, Symba was neutered during his time at HRA.) 

The photos and footage of the "fat cat" quickly went viral, and the adoptable Symba became a sensation. It wasn't just his size that won people over, but his amazing personality as well, said Matt Williams, the senior director of communications at HRA. Williams described Symba as a "very sweet" cat who, despite being "a little shy," simply "loves to be petted." 

"Everyone wanted to meet Symba while he was here," Williams told petMD of Symba's star status. As soon as Symba went up for adoption, he was quickly scooped up by a loving local family, who has experience taking care of cats. 

"His adopters are committed to helping Symba lose the weight," Williams said, adding that, ideally, Symba would get down to a healthier 18- to 20-pound range for a cat of his size. 

Although Symba was in good health, obese pets have an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, and liver disease, among other health conditions. Williams suggested that all pet parents consult with their veterinarian to come up with a diet plan that will help their cat lose weight. "Continued interaction and playtime with your cat always helps," he added.

Images via The Humane Rescue Alliance 

Read more: What To Do About an Overweight Cat