Chubby animals are adorable, but Melvin, a 26-pound tomcat rescued from a San Antonio home earlier this month, isn’t just a roly-poly little guy to roll around: He’s the fattest cat ever recorded at the city’s Animal Care Services, and as cute as it sounds, that’s actually a very dangerous thing for the animal. As (which also has photos of Melvin) reports

[Dr. Marilyn] Gotbeter [chief veterinarian at Animal Care Services] said obesity is a snowball effect: the animal begins to gain weight when it doesn’t exercise and eventually it becomes too fat to exercise, which brings on other physical problems such as arthritis, heart problems and other issues.

“When we have them out working with doctors, even if they are barely moving, they get exhausted very quickly,” she said. “They basically pass out.”

The two felines have a long road to recovery, said Gotbeter, but with a caring owner, it is possible.

The other cat in question is Marvin, a twenty-pound tom who lived in the same house. And while overfeeding may have played a part in the cats’ obesity, the issue here was probably one of confinement: the cats didn’t have room to roam, run, or jump—activities that come naturally to the little guys, as anyone with cats of their own or access to YouTube is well aware—which helped them pack on the pounds. 

Even the people who work with the animals seem to recognize that this sounds like a cute problem (the department’s public information officer described him by saying “He kind of looks like a tick; a little, bitty head with a big, huge body”), but that may partly be Animal Care Services trying to appeal to an active adoptive owner who’s willing to take on the task of helping Melvin (and/or Marvin) get back in shape. With enough work, eventually even these rotund felines could be able to perform the activities of a healthy housecat—like jumping on top of the refrigerator while you’re trying to open it, hiding pizza crusts in your shoes, and insisting on sleeping directly on top of your keyboard while you’re trying to use it. 

(image via flickr)