Let’s stop making animal abuse trendy. If you read that sentence and did a double take or think that I’m lying, I can assure you that animal abuse has been popularized to create societally preferable animals.
One example is the myth that people abuse black cats around Halloween. While I can see where this fear and myth originated, I haven’t found a single article that supports this idea. If you have no idea what I’m talking about there is a myth that black cats are abused or killed around Halloween because of the taboo surrounding a black cat crossing your path. There is also a rumor that shelters refuse to adopt out black cats around Halloween out of fear of them being abused.
While these ideas are both myths, black cats are actually less likely to be adopted than any other color of cat because they don’t photograph well and they have a bad reputation. In fact, black cats are two thirds less likely to be adopted than white cats and half as likely as tabby cats.
While adoption rates shouldn’t be affected by how photogenic a cat is, this isn’t the only time that cats are harmed in the name of social media.
Last year I adopted a tiny cat named Daisy from the Nebraska Humane Society. She was two years old (a fully grown adult cat) but was only the size of a little kitten. Apparently, the Humane Society had recently busted a cat breeder who was known for selling “forever kittens” or cats that stay small for the entirety of their lifespan. Chalking up the size to breeding (like dogs) people spent money and happily showed off that they had unwittingly purchased an abused and malformed cat. The owners of the cats would starve the kittens, just enough to stunt their growth and then would feed them regularly after they were at the age that they should have been fully grown.
While my Daisy is tiny and adorable, she has some health issues due to her stunted development. Last Christmas I tried to get her declawed, but when the vet began to put her under for the procedure she began wheezing and struggling to breathe. Her lungs can’t handle the anesthesia, which would be fine if it were only for the fact that I can’t get her declawed, but if she needs surgery when she gets older, it would be a tough call on whether or not she would be okay during and after the surgery.
I keep a very close eye on Daisy to try and catch any other health issues or symptoms she may have and her vet says she’s doing great, but her life was altered so that she could be kept cute longer. I now have a trendy social media cat, but I also have a cat with who knows how many handicaps that will affect her in later life. Being trendy is never worth the suffering of an animal. #adoptdontshop