A “monster” rat is set to lose half its body weight in a pet-slimming competition – after weighing in at just below one KILOGRAM.
The enormous jumbo rat, whose weight has earned him the nickname Mr T, tips the scales at a whopping 0.975kg (2.1lb) – largely owing to his passion for porridge.
The pet, from Neath, south Wales, will now go head-to-head with 12 porky cats and dogs from around the country in the ultimate pet weight-loss challenge – PDSA Pet Fit Club.
Mr T needs to lose 0.475kg, (or 1lb), to slim down to his ideal weight of half a kilogram/1lb.
He will go head-to-head with a Shih Tzu dog named Billy, which is 125 per cent overweight at 11.25kg (or 1st 11lb) and portly Beagle Bella at a massive 24kg.
Black cat Pen, from Southampton, Hants., is 150 per cent overweight, weighing 10.1kg (or 1st 8lb).
Pollyanna the pug’s unhealthy love affair with cheese has seen her balloon to 50 per cent of her ideal weight, at 11kg (or 1st 10lb).
And at 11.3kg (or 1st 11lb), five-year-old cat Benji is now so large he can no longer fit through the cat flap.
The 12 robust pets, who have a staggering combined total weight of 201kg (31st 7lb), will undergo PDSA Pet Fit Club’s strict six-month diet and exercise programme.
The programme is individually tailored to each pet’s specific needs, and overseen by vets and vet 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.”
Olivia added: “If owners are worried about their pet’s weight they should seek advice from their local vet or vet nurse.
“They will make sure pets are on the right type of diet, being fed the correct amount and work with owners to help increase their pet’s exercise levels.”
Pet Fit Club has been running since 2005 and is the biggest of its kind in the UK.
To date it has helped 124 overweight and obese pets (79 dogs, 37 cats and 8 rabbits) lose an incredible 450kg (71 stone) – equivalent to a grand piano or 160,000 doughnuts.
To help them with their weight loss, Pet Fit Club participants receive free diet pet food for the duration of the competition, courtesy of Dechra.
The overall Pet Fit Club winner, crowned at the end of 2018, will win a year’s free pet food, a pet friendly holiday, courtesy of Sykes Cottages, and a pet hamper.
To follow the progress of this year’s finalists, visit: www.pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub.