Cat who learned to open fridge is pet Slimmer of the Year

THE SNEAKY midnight feasts got so bad that her owner had to padlock the fridge.

But food thief Amber the cat is now thanking Penny Faulkner for chaining up her favourite snacks after being named Slimmer of the Year in PDSA's national Fit Club competition.

The porky puss, who once tipped the scales at 1.1 stones, has worked off her feline flab over the past four months to shed an impressive 17 per cent of her bodyweight.

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The 12-year-old moggy, who now weighs only 12 pounds, beat eight fellow heavyweight finalists – five dogs and three cats – to scoop first place.

A second Edinburgh entry, labrador Tara, also impressed the judges. She took the bronze medal after shedding more than nine pounds, taking her from 5.10st to around 5.1st.

Both animals were treated through a specially tailored diet and fitness programme under the guidance of the Edinburgh PDSA PetAid hospital.

Penny, 26, from Craigmillar, who adopted an already overweight Amber from a rescue centre last July,

said: "She was a cheeky thing. She learned how to open the fridge and so was often raiding it for goodies, but those days are long gone.

"You can see a real difference in Amber's shape and she no longer waddles when she walks. I've also noticed she's sleeping less and is more interested in playing.

"The first few days were very hard because Amber wasn't very happy with her reduced portions, but I've tried to make it fun for her by using 'treat toys' so she has to work for her food.

"We did have one slip-up when she managed to get her head inside the bag of food while I was in another room but apart from that I've been very strict."

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Veterinary Surgeon Elaine Pendlebury said: "It is much harder for cats to lose weight than dogs. The process has to be done very carefully under close veterinary supervision as too rapid a weight loss can be dangerous."