- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 6, 2003

The race is on to determine the fattest cat on the globe.
It's koshka vs. kitty.
Katy the koshka Russian for "cat" is a rotund feline monster living in the mining town of Asbest, near the Ural Mountains of Siberia. At 50 pounds, Katy is a cat to be reckoned with.
The big Siamese has a taste for sour cream and fish of all persuasions, and she can gnash her way through a sausage in about 45 seconds, according to owner Tamara Yapugova. Katy's day ends with a half-pound supper of meat.
"She doesn't really eat that much," Mrs. Yapugova told the Russian news service Pravda.
Perhaps that is in the eye of the beholder. Katy's waist measures almost 28 inches, and she has a "whisker span" of six inches.
Mrs. Yapugova has contacted the Guinness Book of Records, hoping to unseat the current "heaviest living cat."
The title belongs to "Orange Thing," an American kitty from Minnetonka, Minn., who weighed in at a respectable 40 pounds and 14 ounces when he made the record book five years ago.
But this catfight may be for naught. Guinness wants nothing to do with fat cats or tubby tabbies.
"We've stopped accepting any more applications for heaviest cat. And the world's record stops in 1998 with the Minnesota cat," Guinness spokesman Stuart Claxton said yesterday.
"We were hearing from people who were force-feeding their cats to get in the book, so we backed off. The poor cats were really struggling," Mr. Claxton said.
Guinness now concentrates on other categories: oldest cat (34 years), cat with the most toes (25), cat with the most kittens (420).
It continues to list the heaviest cat on record as "Himmy," a 47-pound Australian tabby with a 32-inch waist and 38-inch length (including tail). Himmy had to be transported about in a wheelbarrow and died in 1986 at age 10.
If her reported weight is true, Katy would indeed have won the competition, had it still existed.
But there are many aspirants.
There are those who believe they have the cat with the longest whiskers or the longest tail, said Mr. Claxton, who perused current Guinness record applications yesterday.
"Here is someone who has a cat that fetches like a dog, and someone who writes, 'My cat has five tails,'" he continued. "There's an application for oldest cat, and someone who has the largest painting ever made of a cat's pawprint."
Some applaud the Guinness ban on feline obesity.
"They are so right. Overweight cats are not healthy, and it's abuse to let them get that way," said Connie Vandre of the American Cat Fanciers Association. "Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame, and some people will even try to get it through their cats."
Still, the world has an obsession with cats of blimplike proportions.
Newspaper reports about weighty kitties date to the 19th century, when cats "of great bulk" and diplomatic demeanor proved to be crowd pleasers here and abroad.
Over the decades, fatsos such as "Tiddles" (36 pounds) "Poppa" (44 pounds) and "Baby" (42 pounds) made the news. Baby even won a "Heaviest Cat" competition staged by the National Enquirer in 1982.
These days, "Tubcat" a cat named "Abby" from Atlanta seems to be the fat feline of choice among admirers. With a fan Web site (www.tubcat.com) and official T-shirts, Tubcat has broad appeal.
There is a dubious online gallery of trick photos featuring Tubcat attacking Osama bin Laden, with the words "Tubcat's war on terrorism," among other things.
In Britain, there are so many overweight cats that the British Broadcasting Corp. staged a "Pet Slimmer of the Year" competition last year to encourage Britons not to feed their kitties foods such as porridge and fish sticks.
At 35 pounds, "Tommy" the reigning fattest cat in Britain has gotten plenty of press, though his owners have since put him on a diet.
"Tommy's like a child," owner Duncan Watson of Nottingham told the BBC. "He's very spoilt. He loves his food."
But fat cats also are the stuff of legend or jokes gone awry, anyway.
Two years ago, Cordell Hauglie of Edmonds, Wash., used computer software to doctor a photo of his 21-pound cat "Jumper" to make it appear as if the cat were almost as big as he was.
Mr. Haughlie e-mailed the photo as a joke for his daughter, and the rest is history. The photo circulated on the Internet for a year with a fake caption contending that the "mutant cat Snowball" weighed 87 pounds after exposure to atomic radiation as a kitten.
Though Mr. Haughlie and his family were amused by the online metamorphosis, he also warned about the dangers of e-mail.
"Once it's out there, it's totally out of your control," he said at the time. "Luckily this was a relatively benign thing, but if some guy and his dumb cat can go around the world, you've got to be careful."

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