updated 06/04/2012 AT 6:15 PM ET
•originally published 06/04/2012 AT 9:00 AM ET
At Animal Haven shelter in New York City, a cat named Sponge Bob lives in a palatial space typically reserved for litters of puppies.
That’s because Sponge Bob weighs 33 lbs., and can’t fit anywhere else.
The 9-year-old male tabby was surrendered recently when his elderly owner had to be moved to a nursing home. “We don’t how how he became so big,” says Kendra Mara, Animal Haven’s associate director. “We can only guess that his owner, because he was ill, was feeding him dry food on a regular basis, maybe just leaving it out, so he was able to eat whenever he wanted.”
Now available for adoption, Sponge Bob has been placed on a new regime and has already lost three pounds since arriving at the shelter two months ago.
Due to his extreme size, Sponge Bob can’t groom himself, so he gets brushed by hand. The staff tries to get him moving with daily exercise, and Sponge Bob has been known to run for a (small) treat.
“I am exceptionally sweet and LOVE kids!” reads his adoption page. “In addition to eating and sleeping, my favorite activities are being brushed, sun bathing and people-watching.”
[RELATED_TEXT “Can’t get enough pet news? See more on PEOPLE Pets