31-pound cat named Buddha working to lose weight

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(CNN) -- A 31-pound cat is joining the battle of the bulge. The cat has been ordered by vets to lose weight or put his health at risk.

Buddha, a kitty from Tennessee, weighs 31 pounds -- more than twice the weight of the average cat.

Penny Adams runs "the Cat Shoppe" and rescued Buddha from Metro Animal Control after his previous owner gave him up.

"All I know is there was a death in the family and the owner wasn't able to care for him anymore," Adams said.

Kept inside a round pen inside Adams' shoppe, Buddha spends most of the day lounging around, picking at the cat food they have for him -- but he doesn't like it very much.

"Our vet believes he was on people food. And we believe it too because when we were eating our lunch here the other day he went bonkers wanting our lunch," Adams said.

So what does a fat cat eat?

"We know he likes pasta because that's what we had for lunch here and he wanted some of that," Adams said.

Surprisingly, the 31-pound Buddha still has cat-like moves, and he doesn't bully the smaller cats.

"He's a sweet cat. The vets have given him a clean bill of health. We've did an extensive blood test and listened to his heart," Adams said.

However, doctors say if he doesn't lose weight, he might not be around much longer.

"To me, it's neglect to let a cat get this large.  Of course everybody likes a good fat cat story, and it's a little comical to see, but in the end it's his health and we want what's best for him," Adams said.

Once he gets a doctor's okay, Buddha will go on a strict diet of cat food and exercise -- hitting up the kitty treadmill.

"We can help him lose 12 pounds or a third of his body weight -- that's huge," Adams said.

Adams and other volunteers are accepting donations to help pay for Buddha's medical treatment and hopes that in a year, he'll weigh 19 pounds and be ready for adoption.