40-Lb. Rescue Cat Patches Down 15 Pounds One Year After His Adoption – See the Transformation! (Exclusive)

Patches first made headlines in April 2023, when he arrived at Richmond Animal Care and Control weighing 40.3 pounds

<p>Kay Ford </p> Patches the cat after his adoption in April 2023 (left) and Patches playing with a toy in 2024

Kay Ford

Patches the cat after his adoption in April 2023 (left) and Patches playing with a toy in 2024

Patches is making healthy progress on his weight loss journey and is enjoying his new mobility more and more each day.

The cat has lost over 15 pounds since his adoption on April 19, 2023. Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) posted a Facebook photo of Patches, then 40.3 pounds, on the same day, looking for an adopter for the pet.

"Did you wake up today and say, 'Let's adopt the largest cat anyone has ever seen?' If so, we have the cat for you. 😻," RACC wrote in the post. "Meet Patches; all 40.3 POUNDS of him! He's been regulated to a very special diet, is on an exercise plan, and is very sweet."

The news of the fat cat spread quickly and eventually reached Kay Ford, who was considering adopting an overweight pet. When her daughter sent her a photo of Patches, Ford knew she had to contact RACC to submit an adoption application.

"I let them know that a special diet was nothing new to me. I had a Yorkie that was on chemo for three years and had a good quality life," Ford told PEOPLE in April 2023.

<p>Kay Ford</p> Patches from above in 2023 (left) and Patches from above in April 2024

Kay Ford

Patches from above in 2023 (left) and Patches from above in April 2024

RACC agreed Ford was a good fit for Patches and chose her as the adopter.

"I did not wake up on Wednesday morning and think to myself, 'Do I want to adopt the biggest cat?' But by four o'clock in the afternoon, we were home," Ford added last year.

PEOPLE caught up with Ford and Patches to see how the feline felt one year into his weight loss journey.

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

Since moving in with Ford, her other cat, Wellesley, and her senior Yorkie, Bella, Patches has found fame. Ford started a Facebook page for her new pet shortly after his adoption so others could stay updated on his health. After a few days, the page Patches' Journey had over 10,000 followers, according to Ford. Today, the page has more than 47,000 followers from 78 countries, eagerly awaiting "Weigh-in Wednesdays."

Weigh-in Wednesdays are when Ford weighs Patches on a scale at home and shares the result. On April 17, the Weigh-in Wednesday before his April 19 adoption anniversary, Patches tipped the scales at 25.47 pounds, over 15 less than his weight when he arrived at RACC.

<p>Kay Ford</p> Patches with Wellesley in 2023 (left) and Patches with Wellesley in 2024

Kay Ford

Patches with Wellesley in 2023 (left) and Patches with Wellesley in 2024

Ford celebrated the cat's success and adoption anniversary with a special anniversary t-shirt design of Patches. All the proceeds from the shirt were donated to animal welfare efforts.

Ford celebrates Patches' success daily, cheering him on as he surpasses more milestones.

"He's doing great. He really is," Ford tells PEOPLE of Patches. "He is just a normal pet."

Patches still can't fully groom himself or jump up on the bed, but he has conquered almost every other obstacle thanks to the mobility he has gained while losing weight.

<p>Kay Ford</p> Patches enjoying a window perch

Kay Ford

Patches enjoying a window perch

"I couldn't control my emotions the first time he jumped up on the radiator cover," Ford remembers. "It was a couple of days before Christmas, and I remember saying, 'It's a Christmas miracle,'" she adds.

Now, Patches routinely hops on the radiator cover and on top of window perches to take in the views. Over the past year, the cat has started playing with toys and his feline buddy, Wellesley.

Related: Curious Cat Learns to Turn on Sink Faucet. Owner Wakes Up to House Flood, Falling Ceiling (Exclusive)

"It just happened the way it was supposed to happen. He was able to achieve almost every milestone that he needed to achieve to become a real cat, not a Macy's Day Parade balloon," Ford says.

As Patches has for the past year, he will continue to monitor his caloric intake. His vet at Wellesley Animal Hospital set a goal weight of 20 pounds for the feline. Once Patches reaches that weight, Ford and the vet will reassess Patches' health goals.

<p>Kay Ford</p> Patches with his vet, Dr. Meaghan, at Wellesley Animal Hospital in April 2024

Kay Ford

Patches with his vet, Dr. Meaghan, at Wellesley Animal Hospital in April 2024

Patches made great strides thanks to Ford's dedication to maintaining the cat's diet so he could lose weight at a healthy rate. For other pet owners wanting to help their furry friends lose weight, Ford recommends "patience, diligence, and commitment."

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"This would never have happened if I had given in to whining," she says. "The hardest thing is not giving into the begging. What I say to people is, 'Get it in your head that instead of asking you for food, they're asking you for attention and to help them become a healthier cat or dog.'"

Ford also advises that pet parents develop a pet diet plan with their vets so owners have safe guidelines to follow.

<p>Kay Ford</p> Patches sitting on his scale

Kay Ford

Patches sitting on his scale

Patches and Ford look forward to another year of sharing the cat's adventures with his fans. Patches' Facebook page took off more than Ford ever expected to, and she says the online community has been "meaningful" for her.

"We have been 100% positive from day one," Ford says, adding that Patches' Journey is a warm place without offensive comments or cruel snark.

"I laugh so hard in the quiet and comfort of my own home all on a routine basis because they say some of the funniest stuff people are sharing on the page," Ford explains.

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