Contract causing delays in fat cat's adoption

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - August 28, 2008 The family chosen to adopt the 44-pound cat named Prince Chunk says the shelter that found the tubby tabby is having a lawyer draft a special contract for them to sign.

Donna Damiani's family was chosen earlier this month from over 500 applicants to care for the cat, who was found lumbering around the town of Voorhees after his owner lost her home to foreclosure last month.

The fluffy white tabby's near-record weight put him in the national spotlight and he spent two days in New York appear on several talk shows and the New York tabloid covers.

But Damiani now worries that the shelter that rescued Chunk may be taking advantage of the cat.

"We had said, 'Absolutely, Chunk should be the little mascot for the shelter - but not to be exploited in any way,"' she said Thursday.

Jennifer Andersch, the director of the Camden County Animal Shelter that found Chunk, has said the shelter would make sure that donations on Chunk's behalf would benefit other pets in need of homes.

But she told The Courier-Post of Cherry Hill that the family's public concern about the adoption terms could jeopardize the adoption.

The article did not elaborate what Andersch she meant by the comment and shelter officials did not immediately return a call Thursday to The Associated Press.

Damiani said her family applied to adopt Chunk even before he became a media star.

They knew about him early because her son, 17-year-old Vince, works at the shelter and has organized fundraisers for it.

They took him home on Aug. 3 and say he's adjusted well - though a publicity appearance at a pet shop earlier this month seemed to stress him out.

"Prince Chunk is doing wonderful," Donna Damiani said. "He's awesome, he's doing great. We love him."

But she says there's not as much to love as originally reported. On her family's scale, he weighed in at 22 pounds - only half the 44 pounds that the shelter originally said.

She says tensions have grown with the shelter concerning the terms of adoption; Damiani said she tried to sign adoption papers right away, but that shelter officials sent the forms back and insisted they be drafted by a lawyer.

It turns out that Chunk is not the only fat cat in Camden County.

Shelter officials told The New York Daily News that they have taken in a 35-pound cat found in Camden this week.

Board president Catherine Harr says he's black and white and looks like a whale. "We named him Shamu," she said.

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