If progressive pundits are to be believed, the only thing Washington cares about is taking care of the fat cats on Wall Street. But apparently their influence does not extend across the river into New Jersey. This sad item crossed the news desk over the weekend… Prince Chunk has died.

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.

Aside from the cat’s enormous (though not world record) size, the only point of interest to this story is that it highlights an infrequently reported side effect of the housing crisis. Many of the people losing their homes are pet owners who find themselves forced to move into apartments which do not allow dogs or cats. This leads to the pets being dumped at shelters already facing huge issues with funding and overcrowding.

The cat’s owners took advantage of the pudgy pussycat’s fame to draw attention to this problem and help folks out by establishing the Prince Chunk Foundation. They provide assistance with free pet food and veterinary services for homeowners in distress, in case you want to help them out.

Tags: New Jersey