Monday, April 12, 2004 Posted: 12:03 PM EDT (1603 GMT)
Officials said Mikesch is so fat he suffers from heart trouble.
BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) -- An obese German cat six times the normal weight has gone on a hunger strike at a Berlin animal shelter after being taken from his owner who had fed him two kg (4.4 lbs) of mince daily, Bild newspaper reported.
Mikesch, weighing 18.5 kg (nearly 41 lbs), was brought to the animal shelter on April 1 and was so overweight he could not take more than four steps without becoming exhausted. His elderly owner was at the same time taken to a nursing home.
Shelter officials said six-year-old Mikesch is so fat he cannot clean himself and suffers from heart trouble. They said he felt lost without his meat-feeding owner and stopped eating altogether when he was put on a diet to gradually lose weight.
A shelter worker will take Mikesch home with her for 10 days to help get his appetite back, shelter head Carola Ruff said.
"The cat had a good night in her flat on the first night and that's giving us hope his condition will improve," Ruff said.
Cats usually weigh between three and six kg and eat no more than about 300 grams (10 ounces) of food each day, vets say.