Rescue Cat Nicknamed 'Thicken Nugget' Takes Up Swimming to Help Him Shed Extra Weight

The orange cat named Ty weighed 30 lbs. when he was surrendered at the Vanderburgh Humane Society in Indiana

<p>Vanderburgh Humane Society/Facebook</p> Ty "Thicken Nugget" the cat

Vanderburgh Humane Society/Facebook

Ty "Thicken Nugget" the cat

A rescue cat in Indiana is swimming his way toward his goal weight!

Ty—affectionately nicknamed "Thicken Nugget"—was surrendered to the Vanderburgh Humane Society in January. When he arrived, the shelter staff was shocked that the feline weighed 30 lbs.

"We had quite the surprise," staff member Mackenzee McKittrick told the local outlet Tristate Homepage about the moment the shelter first met Ty.

<p>Vanderburgh Humane Society/Facebook</p> Ty the cat swimming

Vanderburgh Humane Society/Facebook

Ty the cat swimming

Related: 28-Lb. Cat Named 'One Frosty Too Many' Wants to Slim Down and Find a Family for the New Year

While the ideal weight for cats varies based on breed and sex, a male house cat should generally weigh between 11-15 lbs., according to Purina. Ty weighed twice the average when he was surrendered, which led the shelter to formulate a unique exercise plan for the orange cat: swimming.

The shelter raised money for Ty's water therapy, which takes place twice weekly at the Canine Aquatic Center, according to Facebook. At first, the cat wasn't a fan of lessons, but in an April 3 update posted by Vanderburgh Humane Society, it was revealed all of Ty's hard work is paying off.

"Remember Ty? He is well on his way to reaching his goal weight, thanks to everyone who donated towards his water therapy at Canine Aquatic Center! 💪," the shelter wrote alongside photos featuring the kitty in a pool and on land. "He is swimming twice a week, is much more mobile and down from 30 pounds to 26.8 🐠 He's even swimming across the pool all by himself 🥹 Go Ty, go!"

The Canine Aquatic Center also shared an update on Facebook, including videos of Ty swimming across the pool in his little life vest. In the post, the center shared that the "chonky cat" who "so famously" protested against his first pool session is now "quite the swimmer."

"Well look at this sweet boy now! He is quite the swimmer!!🙀," the post read. "It took time and reassurance (note the ledge pep talks😄) but this guy is quite the trooper and does not fuss or fight and is swimming across the pool by himself. He has lost 3+ pounds since being surrendered and his care team will keep working hard to help him so he can have a long, happy and healthy life.💕🐈🌊"

Related: Patches, a 40-Lb. Cat, Gets Adopted by Owner Committed to Helping Him Get to a 'Healthy Weight'

As adorable as Ty is now, the extra weight impacts his quality of life, which is why the shelter hopes to help him lose around 15 lbs before finding him a forever home.

McKittrick and volunteers at the shelter told local station WEHT that the cat's size had impacted his joints and, if left unchecked, could cause spinal damage.

"A lot of people think it's cute when it's like that Garfield-type cat, but it's not cute," McKittrick said. "Ty's quality of life is affected at this point, so we want to give him a good quality of life, and we know that the adoptive home is going to adhere to his diet and exercise restrictions."

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Thankfully, Ty has taken to the water.

<p>Canine Aquatic Center/Facebook</p> Ty the cat and his swim teacher

Canine Aquatic Center/Facebook

Ty the cat and his swim teacher

"Day one, he didn't know he could swim, and he had a little bit more weight on him," canine therapist (and Ty's frequent swim instructor) Laura Novack told Tristate Homepage before adding. "He's swimming really well."

McKittrick has noticed a positive change, too. These days, "Thicken Nugget" is "definitely more mobile," she told the outlet.

"He's moving around the clinic now more, which is just going to expedite his weight loss."

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