DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Tipping the scales at 37 pounds, a cat named Skinny, at the East Lake Pet Orphanage in Dallas, is hardly living up to his name.

His veterinarian and caretaker, Dr. Brittney Barton, says he is by far the fattest cat she has ever seen.

“Look at his wrists and his ankles. They shake under his weight, so he has to move very quickly and in short spurts,” she said.

She estimates a healthy weight for a cat his size would be 17-18 pounds, less than half what he measures now.

When he first showed up at a Richardson animal shelter last month, though, he was even bigger – 42 pounds.

“I see a huge medical problem,” said Dr. Barton.

The extra weight puts him at risk for all types of health problems.

“It can weigh down brain function, kidney function, pancreas function, even case feline binge eating disorder” she said.

To get as big as he is, she believes he must have been brought up on a diet, unhealthy even by human standards.

“I suspect someone was probably sharing their pizza and cake and cookies and chips.”

Now on cat food, he’s starting to shed the pounds. Exercise, though, is limited to casual wandering around his new home. Any more activity could put too much strain on his body and hurt him, said Barton.

“He’s had more activity in the last month than in his whole life,” she said.

His struggle is one many can relate to, and it’s getting him a lot of attention.

A Twitter page in his name now has almost 500 followers, and his fans often stop by to see how he’s doing. The orphanage even keeps a list, where people can volunteer to sit with him.

Dr. Barton doesn’t think this cat will ever be as slender as his name suggests.

With the right diet and activity, though, he may just get to live happy and healthy.

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