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New Mexico Fat Cat ‘Meow’ Dies

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SANTA FE, N.M.) -- Meow, the 39-pound cat from New Mexico who made national headlines in his quest to lose weight, has died.

The Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society announced Meow's death in a Facebook post, saying the two-year-old cat passed away Saturday afternoon after suffering respiratory distress and then pulmonary failure.

Meow gained national attention last month after he was abandoned by his elderly owner and sent to the shelter which put the obese cat on a diet in hopes he could lose enough weight to be adopted.

The orange-and-white tabby made a round of appearances on national TV shows with shelter officials to chronicle his weight loss efforts.  He was in the care of a foster home at the time of his death.

"Meow had been doing so well in his foster home; walking up stairs and seeking affection; that it is so very hard to believe he is gone," the shelter said in its Facebook statement.

"We will forever be grateful for the attention Meow's size brought to pet obesity and to animal shelters across the country."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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