Clearwater, Florida -- It's a typical story of a cat with a hairball... only the cat weighs about 400 pounds, and the hairball is so large it can only be surgically removed.
Ty the tiger underwent the procedure on Wednesday afternoon at BluePearl Veterinary Partners emergency hospital in Clearwater.
The hospital says Vernon Yates with the not-for-profitWildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Inc. brought in the 17-year-old male jungle cat to see a specialist on Monday, after the tiger had not eaten on his own for nearly two weeks.Dr. Brian Luria performed an ultrasound and took X-rays before using a scope with a camera to determine the problem, which appears to be a giant hairball.
Yates says Ty sheds quite a bit this time of year, which may be why the hairball is bigger than usual.
The hairball was too large to be removed using the scope, so Ty was scheduled for surgery.
The hospital tells 10 News Wednesday afternoon that the surgery appears to be a success and Ty is resting comfortably. And that hairball?
It weighed in at four pounds and was approximately the size of a basketball.
Yates estimates Ty, who is pretty old as far as tigers go, lost about 100 pounds, and he has been force-feeding the animal.
"He's sort of like my biggest baby, my kid," says Yates. "This tiger means more to me than any cat that I have."
Yates founded Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilition Inc. in 1980, and is perhaps best known for capturing the Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay last year.
You may also like...
Lesbian Teen Sex Trouble:Online support grows 18-year-old girl who had same-sex relationship with 15-year-old
Prostitute Roundup:92 arrested in online sex sting
Attractive Convict: Woman behind mug shot meme sets the record straight
Watch this, Brother:Hulk Hogan does the weather at 10 News!
Crime-Fighting Gator:Man flees cops, attacked by alligator
Homebrew Soda:Man claims to find Coca-Cola recipe, sells it on eBay
Friendly Fire:Woman accidentally shoots friend at Starbucks
Dwinking and Dwiving:Barbara Walters' daughter arrested for DUI
PHOTOS:Bikini bike wash!
Happy Reunion:Kidnapped kids taken to Cuba back with grandparents
Faces of Meth: Before and After pictures
Sex tape scandal:Miss Delaware Teen USA resigns
Sex blog:Tampa area school CFO busted over her dirty sex porn blog *warning, GRAPHIC*
Nasty Nasty Dining:10 of the nastiest restaurants in Tampa Bay in 2012
APP-tastic:Download the 10 News app for your iPad
Bikini Photos:2012 Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant
Money Mondays: How you can search for unclaimed cash
Sex Offender Mugshots:Look up Florida Sex Offenders here
Bikinis, mud, trucks:The Redneck Yacht Club
Naughty Schoolgirls: Naughty schoolgirl night at Tampa club pictures
Outrageous mug shot galleries...
Notorious Women:Bad girls behind bars
Teachers: Teacher arrest mugshots
Jaw droppers: Open mouth mug shots
Laughers:What's so funny mug shots
Prostitutes:Prostitute mug shots
Athletes:Professional athlete mug shots
Porn arrests:Child porn arrest mug shots
Local Mugs:Hillsborough County Mug shots
More unusual mug shots and galleries:10 News slideshows and galleries