A greedy moggy who weighed the same as a toddler has gone on a diet and shed nearly half his body weight – after getting stuck in a cat flap.
Morbidly obese Milo tipped the scales at 23lbs (10.5kg) after gorging on leftovers and stealing other cats’ grub.
Owners Paul, 45, and Fiona Bearcroft, 42, bought the 10-year-old feline from a pet shop in Italy in 2002 when he just a kitten.
They sent him home to friends in Britain but were shocked to find he had ballooned to 23lbs when they returned two years ago and took him back in.
The couple decided to put the black and white tom cat on a diet last year when they found him wedged in the cat flap at their home in Pershore, Worcs.
After careful management and regular exercise at De Montfort Veterinary Hospital in Evesham, Worcs., Milo now weighs a trim 14lbs (6.5kg).
College lecturer Paul said: “Milo couldn’t actually get through the cat flap and when he did try he got stuck half inside and half outside.
“He didn’t really do much. He’d just like to lie around a lot.
“Quite often, he’d lie on his back with his legs akimbo because he was so heavy.
“When we took him to the vets they said he was massive.
“At first, it was like anybody losing weight, it seems to be fairly easy. As you go on, it becomes more difficult for him.
“He does want food quite a lot. You have to not give in to him because he will pester you.
“But he goes out more now and he’s much more active.
“At night, he’s out through the cat flap and doing what cats do, which is bad news for the local mouse population.”
Civil servant Fiona added: “I was working in Italy and I got him as a kitten when he was looking sorry for himself in a pet shop window.
“I gave him to another person in Britain but they had other cats and he would eat all their food.
“When I came back I took him back and he was enormous and that’s when we decided to do something about it.
“It was about a year ago we took him to the vets and they said he has really got to lose weight.
“We were encouraged to play with him a lot and make sure he got a bit of activity.
“And we cut down his food and also used a very strict regime where it’s all measured out.”
Veterinary nurse Sam Beer, who helped Milo shed the weight, said there has been a rise in the number of owners bringing obese pets to the surgery.
She said: “When I first started seeing Milo his body would literally fill a whole chair.
“An average cat should be about 8lbs-9lbs (4kg-4.5kg) but Milo is a bigger cat anyway.
“There has been a rise in obese pets. Some owners assume they need to be eating the same food as us or give them too many treats.
“With Milo, it’s nice to show what can be done with a bit of perseverance.”