A cat that once ate an entire cheesecake is among three Scottish contenders in a pet slimming competition.
Cats Benji, Elvis and Chester are taking part in this year’s PDSA Pet Fit Club, which aims to help animals slim down to a healthy weight.
Benji, from Greenock, Inverclyde, is so large he can no longer fit through his cat flap, which had to be widened to fit a small dog.
Weighing 11.3kg (1st 11lb), he is 61% over his ideal body weight and needs to lose 4.3kg (10lb) to reach his ideal weight.
His owner Michelle Liddell said: “We really don’t know how he’s got to this size. We control his portions but we think he must steal food from our other cats. We’ve tried various diets for him but so far nothing has worked.”
Elvis, from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, is still 58% over his ideal body weight despite having been on a diet since January.
His weight has dropped from 10kg (1st 8lb) to 8.68kg (1st 5lb), but he still has a way to go to reach his ideal weight of 5.5kg (12lb).
Owner Carole Sweeney said: “Elvis’s portion sizes used to be king-sized, but thanks to Pet Fit Club I’ll now be weighing everything out and ensuring he only eats what he needs to be fit and healthy.
“He means so much to me that I’m absolutely determined to help him shed the weight and keep him around for longer.”
The third Scottish contender is Chester, from Dunbar, East Lothian, who is 52% over his ideal body weight at 7.6kg (1st 3lb).
He needs to lose 2.6kg (6lb) to reach his ideal weight.
Owner Lisa Gilmour said: “We realised everyone in the house was feeding him without knowing he’d already being fed, so he was getting fed by all four of us every day.
“We’ve tried to help him lose weight, even putting a collar on him that says, ‘Do not feed me!’ for the neighbours, but that hasn’t worked.
“He eats whatever he can find, including crisps left on the floor by the kids. He even stole my dad’s cheesecake that was on the kitchen counter.”
Pets chosen for PDSA Pet Fit Club are placed on a strict six-month diet and exercise programme, tailored to their needs and overseen by vets and nurses at their local PDSA Pet Hospital.
PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan said: “Pet obesity is an epidemic that is seriously impacting the lives of millions of pets across the country. As with humans, carrying excess weight has serious health implications for our four-legged friends.
“It increases the chances of life-limiting and life-threatening conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and heart diseases.
“With the help of PDSA and Pet Fit Club, these pets and their owners are making the necessary diet, exercise and lifestyle changes to get down to healthier weights. We will support them every step of the way over the next six months to ensure they succeed.”
The overall Pet Fit Club winner will be announced at the end of 2018.
The winner will receive a year’s free pet food, a pet-friendly holiday courtesy of Sykes Cottages and a pet hamper.