A large cat named Cinder-block has achieved online fame after a video of her voicing her displeasure at a mandated workout on a partially underwater treadmill has gone viral.
In the video (above), a man’s voice can be heard asking, “Are you working out?” as the gray feline, with only one paw on the treadmill, meows.
But though Cinder-block may come off as a bit grumpy in the clip, veterinarian Brita Kiffney told HuffPost she’s typically a mellow sweetheart.
“Extremely affectionate, she purrs whenever you talk to her, she’s very sweet,” said Kiffney, the medical director of Northshore Veterinary Hospital in Bellingham, Washington. The practice posted the video on Oct. 19 on Facebook, where it garnered tens of thousands of reactions and comments.
The cat’s name was previously just Cinder, but “we added ‘block’ because she’s fat,” said Kiffney. She clarified that the cat’s moniker is spelled with a hyphen and that she often is still simply referred to as Cinder.
Her former owner relinquished her to the vet after the cat’s health and hygiene issues ― largely caused by her obesity ― became too much to handle.
“I don’t want to shame the previous owner in any way,” said Kiffney, who added that the person was under a lot of stress caring for an ill family member and that the situation became “unmanageable.”
The plan is ultimately for the veterinary hospital’s receptionist to adopt Cinder-block. But for now, Kiffney is caring for the cat and handling her strict weight loss regimen. Cinder-block, who weighed 22 pounds when she was relinquished but should eventually get down to about 12 pounds, is suffering from joint problems and is at risk for issues like diabetes and pancreatitis.
“Because she’s so heavy, she can’t walk more than a couple steps right now,” said Kiffney.
Her joint issues, as well as her mellow demeanor, are what made Cinder-block seem like a good candidate for the underwater treadmill. The idea is that “the water will support her weight while she moves” and allow her to exercise without putting pressure on her joints.
Kiffney acknowledged that in the viral video, the water is too low to really be supporting Cinder-block; the plan is to raise the water gradually so that she becomes used to it. The veterinarian also said that she’s ordered Cinder-block a special harness for the workouts that should be more comfortable and supportive than the one she’s wearing in the clip.
While it’s important for cats to be at a healthy weight, Kiffney noted that it’s equally important that cats lose weight gradually, since cutting a cat’s food too drastically can lead to fatty liver disease and liver failure. She recommends that anyone whose cat needs to lose weight work with a vet to create a health plan.
Cinder-block’s newfound fame may also end up helping other pets in her community. Kiffney said that any of the proceeds that come in from licensing out the viral video will be put into a fund for local people who are having trouble paying their vet bills.
In the meantime, Cinder-block has lots of people rooting for her, with many new fans finding her general attitude towards working out pretty relatable.
You’ve got this, Cinder-block!