Little Dude, the portly 33-pound rescue cat who earned a fan base as the feline’s foster family worked to get his health and weight under control, has died of pneumonia.
“Little Dude was a treasure. A beautiful, precious, invaluable gem,” said Angela Jackson-Brunning in a Facebook post.
She said Little Dude died at an animal hospital in Orange County. He was 10.
“The 13-pound cat within could no longer support the weight and fight the illness. His body was ready to rest,” she said Sunday after the cat died.
Jackson-Brunning agreed to foster Little Dude at her Costa Mesa home until he could gradually lose enough weight to be adopted. His previous owners could no longer afford to care for him, she said.
At 33 pounds as of his last weigh-in, the feline looked slightly like a baby seal when he rested on his belly, but he had an average-size face and deep, soulful eyes that hinted at the slimmer cat who must have lived beneath his ample frame.
“He’s just a big love bug,” Jackson-Brunning said earlier.
About two weeks ago, Little Dude’s family of about a decade took him to a no-kill shelter in Westminster, saying owners of the apartment complex where they lived had implemented a pet rent they could not afford, said Cortney Dorney, shelter coordinator at WAGS.
So when Dorney met Little Dude, the heftiest cat she’s seen in her 20 years associating with shelters, she knew she had to get him into a foster home quickly.
Jackson-Brunning, who works at Newport Mesa Animal Hospital in Costa Mesa, has fostered many animals for the shelter in the last few years.
Jackson-Brunning made a Facebook profile for “BIG Little Dude” to help potential adopters follow his progress. A Reddit post on the oversize pet has led donors from as far away as Germany to chip in for his medical care, bringing in about $600.
She even started a campaign to come up with a new name. Among the suggestions: St. Augustine of Hippo.
But when Little Dude’s health gave out over the weekend, the Facebook page took on a more somber tone.
“I have never known a soul like him and I doubt I ever will,” Jackson-Brunning wrote. “I am so blessed to have been his foster mom.”