Fat cats can be yours to love

Full-figured felines at Humane Society for Southwest Washington need homes

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer


photo "Big and Beautiful" cats, or those that tip the scale at more than 14 pounds, can be adopted now at a discounted price.

Humane Society Cat Adoptions

• The Humane Society for Southwest Washington has a sliding-fee scale for cat adoptions, ranging from $80 for kittens younger than 6 months old; $50 for adult cats 6 months through 6 years old; and $25 for senior cats older than 7.

• Fees include sterilization, initial veterinary care and microchipping. The shelter is at 1100 N.E. 192nd Ave.

• Information and hours:

360-693-4746 or Humane Society for Southwest Washington.

This election season, there's a different kind of fat cat dominating attention at the local animal shelter.

These cats aren't necessarily fat, shelter staff say, just "Big and Beautiful."

There are lots of them at the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, and the heftier cats are looking for a home and a good weight-loss coach. The shelter's counselors say the supersized cats get a bad rap next to their kitten counterparts, but, really, what's not to love?

"Heavier cats are often not the type of cats people want to adopt," said Erin Griffin, the humane society's spokeswoman. "We want to encourage people to give them a second look."

In response to an influx of shelter cats, big and small, the humane society has launched the "Big and Beautiful" promotion this month, offering the overweight cats at discounted prices. For cats tipping the scale over 14 pounds, the humane society will discount adoption fees by $1 for every pound of their weight.

That means adopting a 21-pound tabby, like 6-year-old Halbert, would bring the adoption price to $29, down from $50 for a cat his age.

Many of the plus-size felines are prominently on display in cat colonies facing the shelter's lobby. They are distinguished by a sign on their kennel that reads "Big and Beautiful." Halbert is the humane society's largest.

The not-so-shy cat approaches all strangers who enter his kennel, licking them and snuggling up as they pet him. Griffin said cats like Halbert are ideal for families with older children or retirees because the cats aren't so active.

"They are going to tend to be lap cats," she said. "They like to snuggle."

So far, adoptions of the fat cats -- or to be PC, the big boned ones -- has been successful, Griffin said. Eight of the shelter's 20 fat cats have been adopted since the beginning of September.

To those who do choose an overweight pet, adoption counselors recommend a thorough diet plan, preferably dry cat food over wet food. The rest is common sense: portion control, portion control and more portion control.

"A lot of the heavier cats we get come from homes where they are constantly re-filling the food dishes," Griffin said.

Shelter staffers hope would-be owners will be committed to giving the cats a healthy makeover.

"We aren't encouraging cats to be fat," adoptions counselor Brian Rutherford said plainly.

They hope the 15-pound black cat, Slim Jim, will be true to his name, and the tabby, Big Boy, will shed the nickname with the pounds.

It's important for cats that weigh more than 15 pounds to have a chance at a healthy life, Griffin said.

"He still has a lot of time to lose weight," she said of Halbert.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts;www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker;laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.