What do you think about when you think about health crises? One of the biggest public health crises that doesn't get talked about enough is that of obesity. Obesity is a bigger killer than guns, however, gun control gets a lot more attention than any legislation that could help curtail obesity in the United States.
Obesity is something we worry about when it comes to humans, but we never talk about obese animals. That's because a fat dog or a fat cat can be an incredibly cute thing to see. Since animals can't communicate with us, it is harder to tell if their weight is affecting them negatively or not.
What do you do when a pet gets too fat? If it's a dog you might have better luck getting it to run around and lose weight, but what about a cat? Cats are notoriously lazy, and they are stubborn as well. That's the story of a cat named Cinderblock who the internet is now rallying around to lose weight.
What's your workout routine? I bet it isn't as popular as Cinderblock's. Cinderblock is a 25 pound cat from Washington. She's a an eight-year-old gray domestic shorthair who, at 25 pounds, is morbidly obese for a cat. Ever since Friday he has exploded on the internet after a video of his workout was posted on Reddit and Twitter. Cinderblock has a big of a heartbreaking story. Her owner wasn't able to take care of her, so they brought her to Northshore Veterinary Hospital near the Canadian border.
Originally the plan was to euthanize Cinderblock because her owner had some health issues and was caring for her father with dementia. Brita Kiffney is a medical director and veterinarian at the Northshore Veterinary Hospital. She just couldn't euthanize Cinderblock, so instead she asked to have Cinderblock relinquished to her.
Brita Kiffney explained, "I couldn't do it and asked her to relinquish her to me. She agreed and was grateful, as she really didn't want to euthanize Cinderblock but was overwhelmed with the care of her father. So, she is morbidly obese, due to overfeeding by the father." The staff at Northshore Veterinary had to use an underwater treadmill to get Cinderblock to exercise. They shared the video on Facebook which shows Cinderblock lazily pawing at the treadmill with one paw as she meows uncomfortably. Anyone who has begrudgingly gotten on a treadmill can completely understand where Cinderblock was coming from.
Ever since the video was posted, it has been viewed 2.2 million times. The video has found its way on other sites like Reddit as well where it rose to the front page.
Cinderblock's video got so much attention that it became a Twitter trending topic. That prompted internet users from all over to find ways to honor the fat cat. One artist, Alex Plante, even drew several illustrations of Cinderblock that have since gone viral. Alex Plante said, "I think she's going viral because she may be the most relatable cat I've ever seen. Who hasn't cried on a treadmill at some point in their lives? I also think people love a feel-good story and the vets at Northshore Veterinary Hospital are doing such a lovely job working with her. They're clearly super kind and caring people."
While at face value it seems like a fun internet video, this is a good reminder that animals need to have exercise too. "We are hoping to raise awareness of pet obesity, as nearly 60% of pet cats are either overweight or obese. Many people do not realize their pet is overweight."