The video of Cinder-Block the obese cat went viral last weekend, a few days after her veterinarian posted it to Facebook: sitting still at the edge of an underwater treadmill, the 22-pound feline moves one wet grey paw with the belt and meows plaintively to an off-screen vet tech encouraging her feeble workout.
Cinder-Block’s instant fan base had a word for her: relatable.
Veterinarians had another: typical.
“We see cats that fat every day. Every day,” said Brita Kiffney, an associate veterinarian at Northshore Veterinary Hospital in Bellingham, Wash., where Cinder — the cat’s name before the clinic added “Block” in a nod to her stoutness — has resided since being relinquished by her owner two weeks ago.
“Twenty years ago, we didn’t see 25-pound cats,” said Ernie Ward, a veterinarian who founded the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, adding that the Cinder-Block video keeps popping up in his text messages. “Nowadays, 20 pounds is the new normal.”