Frosty, stray cat too chunky to fit in cage, finds home in Virginia

Workers at the Richmond Animal Care and Control shelter all had the same thought when a stray gray cat landed on their doorstep weighing almost 30 pounds.

“It reminded everyone of Patches,” said shelter director Christie Peters, referring to a 40-pound domestic short-haired cat whose story was told in The Washington Post after he was surrendered by his owner last year.

Although the new fat cat wasn’t as chunky as Patches, “he was still plenty big,” Peters said.

So ample, in fact, that he didn’t fit in any of the cages.

“We put him in our kitten room since we don’t have any kittens right now,” she said.

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Staff named him One Frosty Too Many, having fun with his size and imagining that he’d gulped down plenty of the frozen treats from Wendy’s. His nickname became Frosty.

The person who brought in Frosty on Jan. 2 said he’d found the tabby wandering the streets of Richmond, Peters said. Staff addressed his size right away.

“We put him on a strict low-calorie diet, and he wasn’t too happy about that,” she said, estimating that the cat is about 2 years old. “Because he was cranky, we just kept telling him he’ll feel a lot better when he loses weight.”

When nobody came forward to claim the plump tabby, staffers put Frosty up for adoption on Jan. 8 and posted about him on Facebook. He was featured on ABC 8 News.

“You KNOW we love a cat with a belly, and lord almighty this one has the best belly in town,” the shelter’s post read. “He’s 28.5 lbs. of pudge with a side of crankiness. As long as you let him do what he wants, when he wants, everything is fine.”

“Other than that — he’s perfect!” the adoption post concluded, with information on how to adopt the shelter’s supersize feline.

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Facebook followers immediately pounced with comments.

“Sounds like you’re describing my teenagers,” one woman commented.

“He sounds like my spirit animal,” wrote another.

“I think you should change his name to Pudge. He’s adorable,” another person posted.

Lots of people were interested in adopting the rotund tabby, but one woman beat everyone to it.

Maggie Thompson was on her way home to Stafford, Va., from Williamsburg with her husband and two young sons when she came across the Facebook post about Frosty.

“I thought, ‘Oh, I want that cat,’” said Thompson, 38, who runs a pet-sitting business.

She convinced her husband, Mike Thompson, to take the Richmond exit so they could inquire about adopting Frosty.

Once she met the cat, she knew she couldn’t go home without him, she said.

“He got on my lap and started purring,” she said. “With animals, they pick you. You just know when it’s right, and they do, too.”

Her boys, Mickey, 5, and Andy, 3, were thrilled they’d be taking home a fat cat to join the family’s other two felines, Rosie and Wolfie, both about age 1, she said.

“They weigh under seven pounds each — less than 14 pounds together,” Thompson said. “But I had a feeling they’d all get along fine and become friends.”

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After she’d filled out an adoption form, Thompson was told that her new family member would need to follow a strict diet of low-calorie dry cat food twice a day until he’d dropped half his body weight, she said. An average adult cat usually weighs between 8 and 12 pounds, sometimes more, depending on the breed.

The shelter didn’t have a cat carrier large enough to hold Frosty, so the staff gave Thompson a dog crate to use for the trip home, she said.

“We put him in the back of the car, and he didn’t protest at all,” she said. “He was a good rider and was pretty quiet the whole trip.”

Once they arrived at home, she put her family’s new addition in a spare bedroom for a few days while she gradually introduced him to their other two cats.

She also gave the cat a new name that wouldn’t conjure images of fattening frozen desserts.

“We’ve decided to call him Gus,” Thompson said. “That’s what he looks like to me. I now call him Gussie, and he responds well to that.”

Gus now enjoys lounging on the bottom level of a cat tree in the spare room, and Thompson hopes that in time, he’ll work his way up.

She said she plans to start a weight-loss journey Facebook page for the cat formerly known as One Frosty Too Many, in the same spirit as a page that was started for Patches by Kay Ford, the woman who adopted him.

According to Patches’ page, he has lost 14 pounds since April and now weighs 28 pounds — about the same weight that Gus is now.

“Gus weighs so much that his stripes disappeared — except on his face, tail and chest — when his skin stretched out,” Thompson said. “We’ll be putting him on the scale every week, but we love him no matter what he looks like.”

“He’s a sweet boy,” she said.

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