R.I.P. Sponge Bob, New York's Favorite Fat Cat

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"Goodbye Sweet Boy." Matt and Courtney Farrell announced on [spongebobthecat.com](http://spongebobthecat.com/) that Sponge Bob, their [recently adopted](http://nypress.com/sponge-bob-the-30-lb-cat-finds-new-home/) 33-turned-26 pound tabby, had to be put down this week. He had fits of breathing trouble, the newlywed couple wrote, so they took him to an emergency veterinarian, who found a growing mass in the nine-year-old cat's chest that pushed his heart to the wrong side and put pressure on his lungs. According to the blog, removing the mass would have required a biopsy, which likely would have killed him because of his weight. "After asking lots of questions and weighing all of our options, we made the difficult yet informed decision to put him down," the couple wrote. "Surgery was a very risky option for him, and we didn't want to put him through the stress of that with such great chances that it would not work and he would be in a worse condition, or that he would die in surgery and we wouldn't be there." Sponge Bob joined the Farrells in their Upper East Side home in June. He had been up for adoption at Soho's [Animal Haven](http://www.animalhavenshelter.org), where he was delivered after his original owner went into hospice. Sponge Bob's extraordinary size -- that of a three year old child, or around three times that of the average cat -- won him [widespread media attention](http://www.lifewithcats.tv/2012/06/04/sponge-bob-behind-the-scenes-when-a-cat-goes-on-national-tv/). At his heaviest, he wasspeculated to be the world's largest living cat. The Farrells were eager to help Sponge Bob trim down, but also [careful to make sure he did so in the healthiest way possible](http://nypress.com/spongebob-the-30-pound-cat-slims-down-to-26-pounds/). "Obese cats that lose weight at too rapid a pace are at risk for Fatty Liver Disease, which requires serious treatment and can be fatal," they wrote on the blog after consulting with vets and Animal Havenc's director, Kendra Miller. They planned to take one or two pounds of Sponge Bob per month. "Sponge Bob is doing fantastic in his new home and we couldn't have found a better family for him," Miller told New York Press last week. "He continues to lose weight and his parents keep a very close eye on his health. He brings them so much happiness and I am sure Sponge Bob feels the same way about them." The growth in Sponge Bob's chest was sudden and, according to the blog, not directly related to his weight. "This has been one of the hardest things I have ever experienced, and certainly the most difficult thing Matt and I have had to endure as a couple," wrote Courtney on the blog. "We loved this cat so tremendously and had so many plans for him as part of our family. We hadn't had him for long, but we had already dreamed about him being around in the future." Matt put together a slideshow tribute to Sponge Bob on the site. "Until we meet again," it concludes, "breathe easy little buddy, breathe easy." -- by Paul Bisceglio

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