Podgy Pippa on a mission

Picture by � Julian Brown for the PDSA'''Pippa the cat pictured at Blackpool PDSA Pet Hospital

Picture by � Julian Brown for the PDSA'''Pippa the cat pictured at Blackpool PDSA Pet Hospital

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You can’t miss Pippa, the cat from Blackpool, for two reasons.

One, the five-year-old moggy is appearing on television shows left, right and centre.

And, two – and this is the reason for point one – she weighs more than a stone.

“She was getting a bit heavy to pick up but to be honest I didn’t really notice how much weight she was putting on,” admitted owner Audrey Brooks, of Bispham Road.

“It wasn’t until a neighbour looked at her and said she was fat that I thought ‘yes, she really is’ – and that’s when I went to the vets to get advice.”

Now Podgy Pippa, as she’s been dubbed, is battling for the title of the UK’s biggest loser by taking part in a national pet slimming competition run by vet charity, PDSA.

She is up against 17 other overweight pets, including fat cats, dumpy dogs, a round rabbit and a rotund rat.

And the unusual flab-fighting competition has made Pippa something of a celebrity – in the last fortnight she has appeared on This Morning with Philip Schofield and Amanda Holden, and a CBBC show.

“But given she’s currently flat out on the settee I don’t think she is getting too excited about her fame,” said Audrey.

The reason for Pippa’s weight problem is that she’s something of a food thief.

Audrey owns another cat, seven-year-old Oscar, but it seems he doesn’t get much of a chance to have his lunch.

“He has never had a great appetite so he leaves most of his food, and Pippa has been finishing it off,” said Audrey.

“But because her weight gain has happened so gradually – and she hasn’t become any less agile or full of fun – I just didn’t notice how big she was getting.

“Even when I went to the vet to get her weighed, she was still able to jump on the table.

“I’m glad she is getting treatment now though because she does need to get slimmer.”

That treatment involves a diet of dried biscuits only (and none of her previous favourite meal – fish) and the purchase of a laser beam which Audrey shines on the floor and which Pippa, when she’s not flat out, chases around.

The PDSA competition is certainly worth winning – the prize for the owner of the animal which loses the most weight is a year’s supply of food and a stay in cottage (pet-friendly, of course).