Amazing and Strange 22lb Fat Cat Socrates is signed up to the PDSA's Pet Fit Club

His owner apparently hadn't noticed that Socrates was getting a little pudgy.

As you can see from her face however, the vet's nurse realised straight away.

At a whopping 22lb, the black and white heavyweight in Jenny Doig's arms is more than double the size of a normal cat.
Owner Bill Duncan, 52, had taken Socrates to the vet worried by his lack of get-up-and-go.

The verdict, not surprisingly, was that he was simply too fat to move, possibly because of his taste for cheese and onion crisps.

Twice a day, regular as clockwork, he had managed to stagger to his paws and miaow for his breakfast and tea.
Now however, meals are a little disappointing. Five-year-old Socrates has been chosen as one of nine finalists in Pet Fit Club, the PDSA animal charity's annual diet competition.
With just 100 days to reach his target weight of 9.9lb, he gets two 50g helpings of prescription diet food a day. That's about half of what he used to eat.

'Because he's long-haired I hadn't noticed how big his belly was getting,' said Mr Duncan from North Shields, Tyne and Wear.

'When I feed him now, he scoffs it down and looks at me as if to say, "Where's the rest of it?" '

Awesome 12ft model of Eiffel Tower made entirely of chocolate

A 12ft-high model of the Eiffel Tower made entirely out of chocolate gave busy commuters a glimpse but not a taste of Paris today.

The mouthwatering version of the famous landmark attracted hungry-looking glances when it appeared at St Pancras railway station, from which the Eurostar departs for the French capital.

But passers-by hoping for a taste were out of luck as the tower was constructed to mark the launch of a new range of Thorntons European city-chic inspired chocolates and will be touring stores throughout the country over the coming weeks.
The Continental City Boxes are themed around either Paris, which features milk chocolates, or Milan, which is for dark chocolate lovers, and are designed to reflect the traditional flavours and style found in each city.

The boxes feature five new chocolates, including a gingerbread and hazelnut number called Pain D'Epices, alongside the favourites that consumers will already know from the Continental range.

Keith Hurdman, Thorntons' Master Chocolatier, says: 'This is an exciting addition to the incredibly successful Continental range, and is sure to surprise and delight both our existing Continental lovers and those who have not tried it before.

'Our chocolatiers have travelled Europe to bring back the best flavours that it has to offer, and we've used them as the inspiration behind these new chocolates to give our customers that little taste of European luxury.'

But chocolate lovers face bitter news as the price of their favourite confectionary looks set to soar.

Cocoa prices have hit a 24-year high as the market faces its biggest shortage for 40 years.

The price rise has been sparked by poor harvests of cocoa beans on the Ivory Coast, which grows 40 per cent of the world's cocoa.

The El Nino weather phenomenon has also hit supplies from Indonesia, the world's third largest producer.

Amazing Mother Nature as gardener digs up five-fingered carrot

A gardener got his own unique five-a-day in one go after digging up a hand-shaped carrot complete with five fingers.

The bizarre 'carrot claw' was grown by Peter Jackson, 66, in the garden of his home in Shropshire.

But Peter thought nothing more of the wacky-shaped vegetable and merely took a picture before proceeding to cook it, much to surprise of his daughter Lindsay.

Lindsay, 42, a chef from Condover, Shropshire, joked whether the hand might count as all of her 'five a day' in one go.

She said: 'We couldn't believe it, it was quite a shock to see a carrot perfectly shaped like a hand.

'You'd think that with me being a chef and my dad a gardener, we might have come across something this strange before - but we never have.

'My dad just seemed to make some joke about it being 'handy', took a picture and then I think they just ate it. He played it all down, but that's just the way dad is.

"We've not had anything weird since - no arms or legs to go with it. I don't think his garden is trying to build a carrot man. Now that would really be unusual.

'It was just one of those one-off freak of nature occurrences - but isn't it funny?'

Peter, who is a semi-retired gardener, has three vegetable plots in his large garden, in a leafy part of Shropshire.

He said that throughout his years of gardening, he had never seen anything quite like his 'carrot claw'.

Other oddly-shaped veg to hit the headlines over the years include baby-shaped pears, a parsnip that looked like a witch and a potato teddy bear. Earlier this week a gardener cut open a Jalapeno pepper to see a smiley face, complete with eyebrows, looking back at him.

'I'm giving up my cigarettes...after 95 years!' 102-year-oldest woman says

She lit her first cigarette as the lights were going out over Europe at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

Since then she has reached for her trusty Player’s Navy Blue (or, latterly, Embassy) through the ups and downs of all the following decades.

Until now. At the astonishing age of 102, Winne Langley has kicked the habit after 95 years because she ‘didn’t fancy it any more’.

Mrs Langley, who would share cigarettes with her friends at infant school, reckons she hasn’t contracted cancer because she does not inhale.

The former laundrette worker, who lives in Croydon, South London, said: ‘Everyone used to smoke in those days, you did it to cope. We didn’t know about the health problems. I just don’t fancy it any more.

‘My eyesight is failing so in a few years’ time I might not be able to see the pack.’

Since her first puff in 1914, Mrs Langley averaged five cigarettes a day, giving a total of more than 170,000 in her lifetime.

Her cigarettes were always to hand during the Depression and the Second World War.

‘I lived close to Biggin Hill and you could hear the German rocket bombs’ engines cut out,’ she said.

‘Some bombs used to land pretty close to me. You needed a smoke after that. ‘We didn’t know if we were going to be alive from one day to the next, so we thought you might as well enjoy yourself while you’re alive.’

Mrs Langley has outlived her husband Robert, who died in 1968, and
her son, who died four years ago aged 72.

She said: ‘I’ve cut down in recent years and only had one every few days after dinner or in my bedroom. I can just about afford it but the price of cigarettes is disgusting, and the smoking ban is disgusting. You should be able to smoke where you want.’

Mrs Langley’s step-grandson Clive, 53, said: ‘Her doctors have told her there’s not much point stopping now. If she’s got to 102 without getting cancer I don’t
think she ever will.’

Beautiful Fishy looking albino otter savours his breakfast in the Scottish sun

The first time she spotted him, Karen Jack didn't have enough time to fish out her camera before he slipped off into the sea.

But then, very obligingly, the rare albino otter came back and stayed for lunch.

Miss Jack managed to take this snap and a few others while the creature enjoyed his morning meal on the rocky coastline of Moray in north-east Scotland.

She was extremely lucky - as sightings of albino otters in the wild are highly unusual.

In Britain only one other live albino has been spotted in the wild in recent years and throughout the world hardly any reasonable pictures of the creatures exist.

Miss Jack said: 'I have been into photography for about three years as a hobby and love photographing wildlife, landscapes and my two cats.

'But it was just an amazing and surreal view of the albino otter, and for it to sit there and eat while we watched was mind blowing.'

Yesterday Grace Yoxon, of the Skye-based International Otter Survival Fund, said there were hardly any records of albino otters in the wild and they were almost never seen outside a museum.

Mrs Yoxon added: 'To be able to get such wonderful photos is exceptional.

'Karen was extremely lucky to have her camera with her - I am very envious.'

She said the creature, a Eurasian otter, was unlikely to be disadvantaged by its white coat now that it is an adult. 'Otters don't really have any predators,' she said.

'I would think the biggest risk may be people coming to see it.'

Otters have soft, insulated underfur protected by an outer layer of longer hair which traps air, keeping them dry and warm underwater.

Eurasian otters must eat 15 per cent of their bodyweight a day. In warmer waters they need to catch 3oz of fish an hour to survive.

Although fish make up the majority of their diet, they are also partial to frogs and crustaceans.
Some have become expert at opening shellfish.

Most species live beside water, using it to hunt and travel, but they return to dry land frequently to ensure their fur does not become waterlogged.

In March, IOSF took into its care an otter which latched on to two teenagers who were sledging, then followed them home.

The cub was spotted in snow under a bush at Windygates, Fife, in February.

He was nicknamed Dylan because one of the youngsters was playing a harmonica - an instrument synonymous with singer Bob Dylan.


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