Tiny was anything but.
The 30-pound cat inadvertently became the national spokes-cat against feline obesity as his weight loss journey was documented online.
The beloved grey cat died at his adopted home in New Brunswick in late February. But the onetime fat cat was commemorated in a “celebration of life” over the weekend at the Fredericton SPCA.
That’s where Tiny gained international attention more than six years ago. He, and another smaller cat, were dropped off by a man in the shelter lobby in a taped box in December, 2011.
“At first we thought the box was full of donations of computer paper, cat treats, etc. but then the box meowed. We were shocked to see what was inside,” the SPCA recounted.
Tiny weighed in at 30.2 pounds, the largest cat the shelter had ever encountered. Veterinarians recommended a low-calorie high-protein diet with the goal of a slow, steady and healthy weight loss to cut his weight in half.
And frequent foster mother, Nancy Garon, stepped up to be Tiny’s caregiver in 2013. She eventually adopted him and in the course of their time together, did wonders with him.
Tiny leaves behind an impressive legacy.
His weight-loss tale helped raise about $50,000 for the Fredericton SPCA, which helped pay for Tiny’s care, but also other animals medical needs. Also contributing to the fund is the sale a line of formal feline apparel called Tiny’s Ties.
Tiny did even more than that.
He would visit the FSPCA Summer Kids Camps, senior’s homes and local pet events around town to teach about dangers of pet obesity and healthy pet nutrition and exercise.
And, during the 100th anniversary of the facility in 2014, Tiny was presented on the floor of the provincial legislature becoming the first animal in the province’s history to do so.
Karen McGeean, marketing and development director for the SPCA, said:
“Tiny’s passing is a shock to all who knew and loved him. While he has done very well since losing and successfully keeping off the weight with the help of his amazing foster/adoptive mom, we recognize that he was elderly and we were all able to give him a healthy, happy life to the end. Again this emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy weight for all pets and we encourage everyone to work with their veterinarian regarding proper nutrition or a weight-loss plan.”
Annette James, who is director of operations for the shelter, called Tiny’s legacy “huge.”
“Beginning with his public awareness campaigns and then equally important with his fund that has helped to avoid euthanasia and provide other animals with a healthy, happy life in their forever homes. We are dedicated to keeping that legacy growing in his honour,” she said.
The loss of the famous feline was covered by local media outlets as well-wishers sent cards, flowers and photos of the big, little guy as well as ones their pets wearing his trademark ties.
Garon even received a knitted shawl the colour of Tiny.
“Was told Tiny will always be wrapped around me. Very special,” she said.
Oh, and the other cat dropped in the box with Tiny. Well, her name is Rapunzel and she’s doing just fine.