Open Thread: Not Tunch

… but there’s a new niche waiting for Balloon Juice’s most popular pin-up…


Feline media sensation Prince Chunk dies in NJ
BLACKWOOD, N.J. – An enormously fat cat named Prince Chunk who became famous when he was found wandering in New Jersey after his owner lost her home to foreclosure has died.
Prince Chunk’s adoptive owner, Vince Damiani of Blackwood, said the white tabby died in his sleep Sunday. He was about 10 years old. Damiani said a veterinarian had diagnosed the cat with heart disease.
Prince Chunk skyrocketed to fame in August 2008 after the Camden County Animal Shelter, which took him in, reported that he weighed 44 pounds, just shy of a world record.
Damiani believes that estimate may have been somewhat exaggerated. He said Prince Chunk weighed 22 pounds when he brought the cat home from the shelter…

“People exaggerate, he’s just big-boned.” Yeah, we’ve heard that one before.

… The pet’s plight inspired the Damianis to establish the Prince Chunk Foundation, a nonprofit that helps financially distressed pet owners keep their animals. The foundation operates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and California.
Its mission is to prevent animal homelessness by providing temporary assistance to dog and cat owners, including free emergency vet care and pet food, Damiani said.

(h/t Gawker)

55 replies
  1. 1
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Hopefully this will be the start of a string of white fat cat deaths.

  2. 2

    pretender! everyone knows Tunch is the gravitational pull of the solar system!

  3. 3
    West of the Cascades says:

    Isn’t the premise for Tunch “filling this niche” rather grisly, i.e. the asylum-master losing his home to foreclosure? Say it ain’t so!

    Also, being homeless in New Jersey (cat or human) sounds more horrid than being homeless anywhere else.

  4. 4
    suzanne says:

    That’s a great mission, though. The Humane Society here has had to resort to having days where they give the animals away for next to nothing because so many people have had to turn their pets in due to shit-tacular financial situations. I got me the puppy this summer, and the three times I went, every kennel was full, sometimes with three or more dogs. Sad.

  5. 5
    General Stuck says:

    That cat almost makes Tunch look svelte, almost.

  6. 6
    Pangloss says:

    My alma mater is 7-0 in college basketball for the first time since they won the National Championship in 1963 with an unprecedented FOUR Negroes in their starting lineup.

  7. 7
    debit says:

    @suzanne: I can’t even look at the web page for the local humane society. When we found Oliver, I went there to see if he had been listed as missing, then found myself looking at all the animals up for adoption. $50 for a cat and they’ll throw in a second one for free. It’s just heartbreaking, but with four cats and one dog I am at (over) my limit.

    Confidential to whoever thought Oliver was part Turkish Van: he’s got the rabbit soft plush fur, he’s got the fascination with water (I haven’t take a shower alone since he came in) and he’s truly the smartest, most exuberant cat I’ve ever known. I don’t regret taking him in at all.

  8. 8
    BGK says:

    In case asiangrrrlMN bips in here later:

    With respect to your comment in a Thursday open thread, yes, Angus is a Scottish Fold. He is too cute for words.

  9. 9

    Prince Chunk is cute, no doubt. I don’t think he weighs over forty pounds, though. Twenty-two–I would believe. TUNCHIE!

    @BGK: I thought so. I have a friend with a Scottish Fold (at least some in his blood. He has the ears). They are sooooo freaking cute–and Angus is prime beef cute.

    @West of the Cascades: Pretty horrid in MN, too, especially around this time of year.

    Question for any football fans. The Vikes are supposed to be on the teevee tomorrow at noon on FOX. However, my media source is telling me that the Packers game is on instead. It’s an away game, so it’s not a blackout situation. What gives? Not that I give a damn because the Packers are more interesting to watch than the Vikes–I’m just curious.

  10. 10
    sfinny says:

    To avoid having my cat becoming the next fat cat du jour, he is on a restricted diet. Meaning I feed him less, even though he still gets quite enough. So he has taken to waking me up by batting my face, while sleeping, with his not insubstantial claws. And scolding me. Repeatedly.

    He was just over eight pounds when I got him, formerly feral and underweight. Six years later he is fifteen pounds and in fine shape. You would think this would be fine, but apparently having an empty bowl for any period of time is cause for protest.

  11. 11
    Yutsano says:

    @debit: The more I watch my kitteh Lexie act the more I think Anne Laurie is right that she has strong Maine coon genes. She was too adorable today. The front door was cracked (happens when I don’t close it just right) so her natural curiosity got to her and she ran outside. She stopped, looked around in the hallway once, then bolted back inside. I laughed myself silly.

  12. 12

    @Yutsano: Pictures! My Raven did that once. He was born in captivity, though (to a pregnant stray), so he did not know what to do. He turned around and ran back inside.

    @sfinny: Is this the one you rescued twice (thinking he was another feral cat)?

    I always think my Shadow is fat–until I read about other people’s cat or see my friends’ cats. Shadow is 10.7 pounds with a chubby face–he just looks fatter because his brother (who is in my arms right now) is 9.1 pounds and long and lean.

  13. 13
    Yutsano says:

    @asiangrrlMN: She’s on her throne pouting, which means disturb under penalty of claw. If I tried now she’d bolt.

  14. 14


    @Yutsano: Why is she pouting?

  15. 15
    Pangloss says:

    Do we have enough power as a community to stop people from using the term “Black Friday” as a commercial benchmark? No wonder the GOP is having so much success in erasing the New Deal— “Black Friday” is now a term that means commercial success instead of the total collapse of the economy from deregulation in the 1920s.

  16. 16
    JoyfulA says:

    Our local food bank accepts pet food donations to try to help people keep their furry friends.

  17. 17
    Yutsano says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Probably because her universe was thrown a major curve ball by realizing my going outside basically goes nowhere. She started life as a barn kitteh on my parents’ ranch.

    BTW I wish I was there right now. They have almost a foot of snow, and horses playing in snow is so fun to watch.

  18. 18
    Anne Laurie says:


    He was just over eight pounds when I got him, formerly feral and underweight. Six years later he is fifteen pounds and in fine shape. You would think this would be fine, but apparently having an empty bowl for any period of time is cause for protest.

    Lots of rescue pets never quite get over the fear that every meal might be their last — they will overeat & pork up, then protest madly if you try and restrict them.

    One thing you can try is splitting your cat’s meals into smaller portions, fed more often… half for breakfast, half for dinner, or even breakfast/dinner/bedtime. The other thing vets have suggested to me in the past is carrots, shaved or cubed small, as an “extra” when the bowl is EMPTY EMPTY EMPTY and it’s still hours till the next scheduled meal. Carrots are low-cal, of course, especially since cats can’t really digest them. Some cats will choke the vile veggies down anyway (looking at you reproachfully all the while). Others will regard this as another monkey insult, but they’ll understand that the empty bowl is not an oversight, just a deliberate torture tactic. :}

  19. 19
    BGK says:

    Your daily Angus.

    With respect to our annual consumerist orgy: is it me, or do the stories about how bad or well end-of-year retail sales are going seem to change daily? Last year, in particular, there were violent reversals between “HAY THE CLAPPING LOUDER WORKED THE RUBES ARE SPENDING THEIR BRAINS OUT” and “HOLY CRAPPING CRAP WE’RE ALL DOOMED BUY STUFF OR THE CHINESE WILL EAT OUR LIVERS” sometimes within the same CNBC segment.

  20. 20

    @Yutsano: Ah. I see. You fooled her. Shame on you. I wish we had another foot of snow, even if I have no horses.

    @BGK: OK, he is too damn adorable. Really. I could stare at his cute little face all day long.

  21. 21
    suzanne says:

    @debit: I hear ya. I’ve only got the one cat and the new puppy, but I want to wait until the puppy is a bit mellower before bringing a new pet home. And with the baby coming in a few weeks, I will already have all the poop I can handle for a little while. But I have a friend who does a lot of volunteering for animal rescue in her area, and she posts pictures on Facebook of all the animals that need adopting, and I have to remind myself repeatedly that no no no, now is not the time.

  22. 22
    sfinny says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Ha ha, yes this is the one I rescued twice. He has still been too scared to venture into the hallway, yet managed to jump or fall off the balcony twice.

    The other day he was going nuts because one of the local strays, a beautiful cream colored tom, was exploring the garden apartment below us. I was afraid he would jump again so brought him inside (somewhat against his will) and had to hear about for hours.

    Much as I complain, this is a cat that sleeps by my side and purrs like a locomotive now. He didn’t ever purr when I got him, it took a couple of years. Absolutely worth it.

  23. 23
    Svensker says:


    @Yutsano: Pictures! My Raven did that once. He was born in captivity, though (to a pregnant stray), so he did not know what to do. He turned around and ran back inside.

    I had an indoor cat who got out once. She loved it — but didn’t know she could pee outside. Finally got her back inside when her legs were crossed and her eyes were swimming — she was just a blur getting to the litter box. Silly kitty.

  24. 24
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Lots of rescue pets never quite get over the fear that every meal might be their last—they will overeat & pork up, then protest madly if you try and restrict them.

    We have this problem with Batman. He wants to eat all the time and he attacks his food like he’s starving to death. We’re accommodating his food lust in recognition of the fact he might have had a rough childhood and he is really putting on the weight as a result.

  25. 25
    Yutsano says:

    @suzanne: You do realize, of course, that some stray puppeh or kitteh will now find you and insist that you take them home NAOW!!1 1!!ONE

  26. 26
    sfinny says:

    @Anne Laurie: The funny thing is that I have always broken up his meals. I usually feed him a third of a little fancy feast meal, three times a day. Fill a small bowl of dry food once or twice a day. Did this particularly to avoid overeating.

    This worked for many years, but lately UJ (the cat) has been both more affectionate and more aggressive about demanding food. Now the extra food thing won’t happen, given he’s a healthy weight, but the interaction has been fun to witness. Except at four in the morning.

  27. 27
    BGK says:

    The picture that hooked me.

    Last summer, I became fascinated by Scottish Fold cats. Knowing that they were rare, I never expected one to show up in a shelter. Also, all cats in this house must be Black and White. I made the mistake of looking at Petfinder, and Angus showed up as being in a foster home up in Atlanta. There was no picture at first, but when the foster lady sent me the photo in the link above, I was doomed. To make a long story short, AirTran had super-cheap fares at the time (for me, anyway – Angus’s return fare was about twice mine), and I was able to fly up on the first flight of the day, pick him up, and come home on the last flight of the day. While carrying just a phone, wallet, boarding pass, and cat carrier made the outbound security screening easy, carrying a squirmy and grumpy kitty through the magnetometers on the way back was no mean feat. The Atlanta TSA was quite friendly about it, though, and the people in line behind me were very patient. Of course, people in the terminal were wondering why I was talking to my luggage.

  28. 28

    @sfinny: Silly boy. He sounds like a keeper, though. So glad you rescued him twice!

    @Svensker: OK, that’s funny as hell. Was she born inside?

    @Yutsano: And, if she were the host of a semi-popular blog, she could blog about how she just happened to be driving down the road when a stray puppy JUMPED into her car, and what could she do but keep it?

  29. 29
    sfinny says:

    When I was growing up my Mom raised show cats, Himalayans and Persians. I used to help her with the births, raising the cats, showing the cats. One the best things about the shows was seeing other breeds and scottish folds were one my favorites. I was amazed that one litter could have black and white, orange, calico kittens. This was so different from the breeds we raised.

    Strange, but I think having spent time in the show cat world has led to the fact the all of my cats as an adult have come from the streets, shelters, rescue organizations.

  30. 30

    @BGK: Awwwwww! So cute. Yeah, my friend’s Scottish Fold is a barn cat tabby and just as sweet as can be. It seems like Angus was meant to be with you.

    P.S. I understand your cats fitting your color scheme–my cats must be black.

  31. 31
    stuckinred says:

    And the incredible Georgia Bulldogs are now 6-6 and bowl eligible! Arf Arf Arf!

  32. 32
    Yutsano says:


    And, if she were the host of a semi-popular blog, she could blog about how she just happened to be driving down the road when a stray puppy JUMPED into her car, and what could she do but keep it?

    I’m not certain the blog hosting portion of that is necessarily required. Plus finding a dog on the side of the road in Arizona is hardly ever good, so I hope SOMEONE would stop for the per thang.

  33. 33
    stuckinred says:

    @asiangrrlMN: You had a Raven? Our first cocker was Raven.

  34. 34


    I understand your cats fitting your color scheme—my cats must be black.

    That’s the traditional color for a familiar, isn’t it?

  35. 35
    sfinny says:

    @BGK: Aw man, Angus is a sweetie. It’s wonderful that you were willing to go through the difficulties, though the idea that people were interested by your speaking to your luggage cracks me up. I always assume that someone is talking either to a kid or a pet. I’m only surprised when it isn’t.

  36. 36
    BGK says:


    The non-Angus cats. L-R: Sophia, Rizzo, Ava, and Jack.

  37. 37
    suzanne says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Heh. When I was in high school, I worked at my local Petsmart. More than one stray animal found their way to my house. LOL.

  38. 38
    suzanne says:

    @BGK: Oh my God, they’re so adorable. WANT.

    They remind me of Kevin Drum’s kittehs.

  39. 39
    BGK says:


    It really wasn’t that bad. Though I’ve yet to go through the latest security circus and it may change my opinion, I’m an outlier in that I enjoy flying. People may have done a double-take hearing me talk to my luggage, but once they saw Angus, I had a crowd around me the whole time. The only bad part was the flight attendant screaming at me on the return flight when I put Angus’s carrier on the empty seat next to me. He was very nervous, and petting him calmed him considerably. I guess AirTran was on the look-out for AQFP (Al Qaeda of the Feline Persuasion) agents.

  40. 40
    sfinny says:

    @BGK: That just cracked me up. You have a whole collection of black and white kitties.

  41. 41
    BGK says:

    My mother also has a black and white kitty monster, Josephine. She may break the chain, though, in that a pet store in town is fostering a little stripedy orange guy who is begging her to take him home. I expect Josephine will have none of that, as she’s tried to eat my cats on the various times they’ve met.

  42. 42
    sfinny says:

    Just saw a sign for a bunch of kittens and my god, I wanted to look at them. When I got UJ I agreed that there would be no other cats. He needed individual attention. But I keep thinking that maybe a young buddy would be good for him. Set against that the fact that he seems to hate the sight of any other cat, i.e. on the next patio, local tom walking the garden apartment below.

    Still thinking that no other cat is best. Although I would love a kitten.

  43. 43

    @stuckinred: I remember that pic! Beautiful. And, call me old-fashioned, but 6-6 being Bowl eligible? Meh.

    @Roger Moore: Yes. Hey, what are you trying to say? Heh. I call Raven my heart kitty and Shadow my soul kitty, so who knows?

    @BGK: Oh my god. That is a bedful of CUUUUUTE! Me likey. And, Josephine is beautiful, too! You know, orange cats are really friendly guys. I’m just sayin’.

    P.S. You reminded me that the cat in my novel is named Josephine and that I am almost done with my novel. YAY, me!

  44. 44
    Yutsano says:


    P.S. You reminded me that the cat in my novel is named Josephine and that I am almost done with my novel. YAY, me!

    WOOT!! You should come and eat at Wild Ginger with me in celebration. It’s Seattle Asian approved even!

  45. 45

    @Yutsano: WANT! Next trip most likely West Coast-bound. If I ever fly again.

  46. 46
    jeffreyw says:

    Toby isn’t exactly black n white, but he can pass for it.

    Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk.

  47. 47
    Yutsano says:

    @jeffreyw: Your BLT pic just reminded me I got heirlooms at the store tonight. I don’t think I’m ever gonna buy another type of mater again, and the store I shop at has a semi-regular supply. I can’t wait to tear into the bright yellow one I got!

  48. 48

    FYWP with your ‘You do not have permission to edit’!

    @jeffreyw: Toby’s cute enough that it doesn’t matter what his colors are!

    P.S. Lola…lo, lo, lo, lo, Looooola!

  49. 49
  50. 50
    Triassic Sands says:

    Chunk certainly doesn’t look like 44 pounds in the video. What he looks is unhealthy.

    There is a Maine Coon named Leo whose photos are available online. He’s a giant and only weighs 35 pounds. (Despite what the web says — i.e., that Leo is not overweight — he looks overweight. Not obese like Chunk or some cats we know, but definitely not lean either.

  51. 51
    WereBear says:

    @debit: Hurrah for you AND Oliver! I thought Turkish Van.

    It just breaks my heart to see so many animals going homeless; because it also means the rest of the family is not doing so well. I lived in a shack with Swiss cheese walls to keep my animals at one point. It’s tough.

  52. 52
    Skepticat says:

    @Svensker: I once had an indoor cat who managed to get out once in a while, and it really seemed that his prime motivation was to use the big outside litterbox. Once that was accomplished, he’d come yelling to get back inside.
    Lawd, I miss him every day.

  53. 53
    Skepticat says:

    @Triassic Sands: My Maine coon cat looks huge, but he’s only eleven pounds. Talk about a thick, luxuriant coat!

  54. 54
    licensed to kill time says:

    Ha ha! When I saw this story on my news feed this morning, the first thing I thought was “Wow! Tunch had some competition there!”

    Then I came here and saw the thread title, immediately knew what it was gonna be about. The Balloon Juice assimilation is complete :)

  55. 55
    cckids says:

    @sfinny: one of our cats (they were former street cats) is like that too. He actually starts the bitching when he can see the bottom of the bowl in any way. Food insecurity. But since he was only 6 weeks old when found & adopted, maybe he is just a pig.

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