Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman didn’t expect to leave the Humane Society of West Michigan with a new pet when they stopped by one day in April.
The couple had been discussing expanding their family with a kitten, but when they spotted Bronson — an enormous, 3-year-old orange cat weighing a whopping 33 pounds — it was love at first sight.
Bronson had a commanding presence among the other cats in the shelter, and the couple couldn’t help but admire him.
Wilson and Hanneman waited in line to be questioned so they could meet Bronson, but they had to rush off to work before they could sit down with the shelter worker.
Still, they couldn’t stop ogling the snapshot they had taken of the enormous cat before they left. “On the way to work, we were talking about him nonstop and started regretting not sticking around for him,” Wilson said.
As the day wore on, the couple’s fear that Bronson would be adopted grew, so they rushed back to the shelter as soon as they could.
“Because of how fast we were attached to him, we started feeling like he’d be adopted in no time,” Wilson said.
After his elderly owner died, Bronson was surrendered to the humane society. He was known as “Fat Kat” by shelter employees, and despite having lived in a home with other cats, he was a bit of a loner who stayed to himself.
No one knew how such a young cat could have accumulated so much weight.
“The staff changed his name once they brought him in, but his naming kind of sheds light on how seriously they were taking his obesity,” Wilson said. “Their best guess was that he was fed either too much kibble or was being fed table scraps.”
Bronson’s stature put him at a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and a slew of other health issues. Bronson’s potential adoptive, the interviewer advised, would need to help him lose weight gradually through diet and exercise. The young cat’s large size made it difficult for him to clean himself properly, so they’d have to brush him every day to keep his behind clean.
When Wilson and Hanneman finally met Bronson in person, they were shocked by how love-hungry the cat was, seemingly desperate for pets and affection. And though their hands were oily after touching his striped orange fur, the couple knew they had to bring him home.
“He was pretty untidy and had a lot of dandruff in his hair,” Wilson added, “mainly owing to his inability to maintain himself due to his size.” “All I wanted to do was bring him home, clean him up, and take care of him.”
Bronson may not have been sociable in his previous life, but he likes hanging out with his two feline siblings in his new home. Bronson’s pals, in turn, have encouraged him to explore the home and play with the toys strewn around.
And his owners are overjoyed to watch the once-shy cat emerge from his shell.
“He kind of did his own thing during the day and stayed in our bedroom when we first brought him home,” Wilson recalled.
CREDIT: MIKE WILSON
Bronson hasn’t lost a lot of weight yet, but he’s on his way to becoming an active cat again thanks to Wilson and Hanneman’s care.
Wilson stated, “His weight reduction journey has been going extremely well, and we can already notice a shift in his physique, where he has a lot more definition in his arms and shoulders.” “His front arms used to buckle a little when he leaped down from our couch, but now they don’t.”
Bronson draws attention everywhere he goes, not just because of his size, but also because of his gentle, tranquil demeanor.
“Everyone who meets him can’t believe how huge he is and wants to pet him right away,” Wilson continued. “When we initially took him to the vet, everyone took turns going in to greet him until there were around five vets and techs in the room at the same time.” It makes us feel quite fortunate to have him.”