This month marks the two-year anniversary of a diet that helped to make the Moose Jaw Humane Society’s rotund mascot cat “Fat Boy” famous around the world. To acknowledge this milestone in the popular flabby tabby’s life (and to celebrate his weight loss from 24lbs down to 17.6 lbs), the shelter has launched a fun, summertime activity for all friends of Fat Boy to take part in.
The humane society would like its supporters to help send Fat Boy (or FB, as he likes to be referred to) on holiday; the shelter has prepared a photo of the big man, that can be printed off, cut out, and taken on summer travels. The MJHS hopes that Fat Boy’s friends will then take photos of his paper likeness in different spots of interest wherever they are vacationing this year, and then share the pictures on its Facebook page. Submissions are encouraged over July and August, and the most creative, unique, and adventurous photo will win a MJ Humane Society prize pack to be awarded at the end of August. Fat Boy also has his own Twitter account (@FatboyMJHS), and he will tweet his favourite photos as well throughout the summer.
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE FAT BOY PHOTO: Fat Boy Vacation Photo
Maybe you already live in a faraway destination; perhaps an interesting roadside attraction or stopping by a famous landmark (like the attached photo of FB checking out Mac the Moose right here in Moose Jaw) might suit his fancy – the possibilities for Fat Boy’s journeys are endless. The shelter has chosen a reclining photo of FB from its archives for the promotion, making it ideal for visits to the beach, going for a ride on the boat, or even just living large by pool – just don’t forget the floppy hat and sunscreen!
The Moose Jaw Humane Society is fortunate to enjoy such a relationship with its supporters, and the shelter is hopeful that by using their popular mascot for a bit of summer fun, it may also help to raise awareness about pets’ healthy weights. While attaining this balance of regular exercise, not over-feeding, and keeping pets happy isn’t always easy, the benefits are certainly worthwhile for the health, well-being, and life expectancy of beloved companion animals.
Background Information on Fat Boy’s Fame
Although he’s never physically left the city of Moose Jaw, the humane society’s resident mascot, Fat Boy, is known around the world. The ten year old cat that now permanently makes the shelter his home, was initially surrendered for, ahem, overeating. Initially weighing in at a hefty twenty-four pounds, Fat Boy was plenty to love!
His recent international fame can all be traced back to the diet that was imposed upon him in July of 2011. After visiting the vet for attention to a chronic ear infection he had been suffering from, a dose of tough love was measured out, and the shelter staff was sternly told that if Fat Boy did not lose weight, he was at serious risk for many health issues and his life would be drastically shortened.
As Fat Boy already had a dedicated local fan following right here in Moose Jaw, the shelter staff thought it would be good fun to make weekly posts on the humane society’s Facebook page charting the fat cat’s attempts at weight loss. Fondly dubbed “Fat Boy Fridays”, it was hoped that by chronicling his progress reports, it might also draw attention to the other events, fundraisers and adoptable animals at the shelter. As well, Fat Boy was going to be the frontline example for pet owners to learn about the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle for their own overweight cats.
The first postings were tremendously popular, and news of his diet spread quickly via the wonders of technology. One Facebook fan in particular was a host for CBC radio, and had been following his story with great interest. An interview followed shortly thereafter and Fat Boy’s rise to stardom started to take off from there. As the story and photos spread over the internet, television news teams from Global and CBC began knocking on the shelter’s door for interviews with none other than Fat Boy himself, although he remained decidedly demur on the topic of his weight.
The attention took off like wildfire, and the humane society’s staff lost nearly a week of “real work” to keeping up with telephone calls, emails, visits, and of course, Facebook questions about everyone’s new tubby obsession. In fact, they began to suffer from Fat Boy-exhaustion during those heady days as personal assistants to the star! The news giant CNN even picked up the story and ran it repeatedly, generating a huge response from new American and international fans around the globe. A Polish Facebook site ran the story as well, in Polish naturally, so his legion of fans expanded even further into Europe from there.
If one takes a quick glance at the humane society’s Facebook page today, one will see that the number of “likes” has gone from 161 to over 3,380 in the span of two years. The locations of his fans include each province in Canada, and nearly every state in the lower forty-nine plus two in Alaska! Fat Boy has friends in over twenty countries, and some interesting locations of fans living abroad include Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Bermuda, the Philippines, and Australia.
Each Friday for the first year or so, Fat Boy’s public waited with baited breath for the weekly update – was he up, down, or did his weight stay the same? And if the update was late in coming, look out! His fans were simply ravenous for news and photos from the week’s adventures. Currently, Fat Boy has lost almost seven pounds on his way to his target weight of fourteen pounds. At the vet’s advice, a slow and steady weight loss is best for the fluffy fellow, and so far, he is on track to achieve this massive endeavour, albeit, this goal is still some ways off in the future.
For all his fame, Fat Boy has remained humble and modest at heart, and has stayed the shelter’s lovable round ambassador and Walmart greeter. Most days, you’ll be sure to find him snoozing in his favourite lobby chair, receiving visitors and dignitaries who make the trip to pay homage to his girth and reflect in his wide grandeur. His girlfriend Mama, however, knows that its what’s on the inside that counts and has pledged to love her Fat Boy, no matter how much he weighs!