Tattooed Cats All The Rage In Russia!
Veterinarian Reviewed on March 4, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Mickey, a rare Canadian Hairless breed, also known as a Sphynx, had to undergo three hours of anesthesia, whilst tattoo artist, Anatoly Keksel, owner of TattoonHamon Tattoo Parlor in Russia, carefully tattooed the Tutankhamun onto Mickey’s chest under the watchful gaze of Mickey’s owner, Oksana.
Oksana thought that the tattoo was quite fitting and rather appropriate for her Sphynx cat. After the procedure was complete, a delighted Oksana was reported as saying: “I wanted something new and different for the times we live in.”
However, Irina Novozhilova, an animal rights activist in Moscow, was extremely disgusted and accused the tattooing as barbaric and cruel to Mickey.
Irina was quoted as saying: “The ethical thinking about animals in Russia lacks behind that of the West. People in Russia mostly buy animals for selfish reasons and anything that happens to them afterwards is a consequence of that.”
Following suit, a London RSPCA spokesman stated: “We are totally against using animals for purely cosmetic reasons just on the owner’s whim. Clearly the animal has no say in the matter. We do not believe in using pets as fashion accessories. It shows no respect for the animal whatsoever. So far we have only heard about this practice happening overseas – and we hope it doesn’t spread.”
Although this does seem to be the underlying fear: that tattooing cats could catch on amongst the more wealthy pet owners in the West, statistics show that incidences like this are quite few and far between.
Those pet owners who approve of the idea argue that tattooing their pet with a picture is not unlike tattooing them for identification purposes. Such identification tattoos are usually placed either on the inner leg of the cat, which of course requires shaving the cats hair, or inside of its outer ear and must be done by a veterinarian or a trained specialist.
The downside of this type of tattoo is that although the tattoo is linked to a registry with the owner’s information, a person who finds a lost cat with a tattoo will need to know exactly which number to call and there are quite a few of these types of pet tattoo registries. This can make finding the rightful owner a bit hard to do.
However, such a fad should not be taken lightly and should be discussed with your veterinarian first. There are many risks to be considered such as, the anesthesia, ear tattoos being clipped off my unscrupulous pet thieves, and keeping the tattooed area clean shaven at all times.
Other problems are the tattoo wearing off over time and becoming illegible, thick fur and skin discoloration may cause the tattoo to be illegible as well, and if done on a kitten or puppy, that tattoo will grow as the pet’s skin grows, which would also leave it illegible to read over time.
It is best to make sure that your cat has proper identification such as a collar and microchip and to be quite diligent about keeping your contact information current.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan