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    Fat cat in Tenn. loses weight with underwater treadmill

    10:31 AM, Sep 9, 2013   |    comments
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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (The Tennessean) - Losing weight can be a daunting task for humans.

    But Buddha, the formerly 31.4-pound cat who has seen the ounces melt away after working out on an underwater treadmill three times a week at Stonewater Rehabilitation at Animalia in Franklin, is on the prowl for better kitty health.

    After launching a new diet and exercise program last month, the 6-year-old gray and white domestic shorthair now tips the scales at about 27.9 pounds. But he's still got a way to go to reach his target weight of 20 pounds.

    "He's on there usually for 7 to 10 minutes at a time. He kind of dictates the timing. Otherwise, he'll just stop walking and you know he's done," said Penny Adams, a volunteer with the Cat Shoppe/Dog Store in Nashville's Berry Hill community, a retail store that manages the nonprofit Cat Shoppe Rescue Inc.

    Adams, who also is the volunteer photographer at Metro Animal Care & Control, noticed the obese feline in a cage there on Aug. 2. His previous owner had surrendered him to the shelter after a death in the family.

    Since then, Adams brought Buddha to the Cat Shoppe, where he lives now, to get him in a more controlled environment for a weight loss program. The regimen will go slowly. It's unhealthy for cats to lose weight too quickly.

    Unlike most of his species, Buddha doesn't seem to mind getting wet on his underwater treadmill excursions in Franklin. But he's a happy cat with a good disposition.

    "He's a very friendly cat who's sleeping most of the time and recovering from all his exercise. And he's a talkative cat who rolls over on his back and seeks out belly rubs," Adams said.

    Already, Buddha's story has traveled far and wide and he's become a local celebrity. People often will stop at The Cat Shoppe to get a gander at the hefty feline when he's available for meet-and-greets except on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when he's at Animalia.

    "That's when we tell people he's at the gym," Adams said.

    Contact Bonnie Burch at 615-771-5421 or bburch@tennessean.com.

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