YEKATERINBURG, Russia – A Russian body artist known only as Aleksandr has earned the ire of animal rights activists for tattooing his hairless cat, Demon. With apologies to cat lovers, at least the cat is aptly named.
It seems the pro-cat lobby strongly opposes drugging and defacing a bald feline and one understands why. It’s not so much that it injures the cat; it’s the limitation of his future career options. After all, we’re not talking about a silly mustache or a bad dye job. A tattoo is permanent, as is the strong likelihood that Demon will be forever relegated to low-wage jobs, possibly forced to ply some illicit trade in the Yekittyburg underground, maybe webcam work or some other menial service, scrambling on life’s grimy margin for its kibble, begrimed and spattered by the litter of polite society. This is a naked cat, after all. There’s no covering up the ink that now disfigures him.
Poor kitty. Would that he were in a box, simultaneously tattooed and not tattooed.
I feel bad for the cat, but more than that I worry about the rising tide of body alteration that so consumes the young at home and abroad. Earlier this week we learned of a young woman in Portland who got a snake – a real, live, squiggly snake, that is – stuck in her gauged earlobe. Sez me: you were born with the right number of holes. There’s no need to go poking new ones where they don’t belong.
But about Demon, the tattooed Russian sphynx, boy howdy did the animal rights folks get themselves in a huff! According to a report in The Mirror:
“Animal activist Yelizaveta Skorynina condemned Aleksandr for putting Demon through the pain of the ordeal for no reason other than his own vanity. She said that the skin of sphynx cats [is] extremely sensitive and that giving the pet an anesthetic was…an unnecessary risk.”
I’m not a veterinarian but I beg to differ. I once had to help give a cat a bath and nearly lost an eye for my trouble. If I was planning to hold one down and draw on its haunches with an electric needle, I’d think an anesthetic was absolutely necessary. But I guess that’s not the point.
The point, I think, is actually missed by the sensationalism over whether or not an adult cat can properly consent to being emblazoned with Russian iconography. That’s a question for the philosophers. The issue at hand is how the global community can stand by while people own hairless house pets in Russia. It’s Russia. In Russian, “Russia” actually means “holy crap it’s cold!” As I type this, Yekaterinburg is slightly cooler than Mars. Cruel though a tattoo might be, it pales in comparison to poor Demon’s daily struggle to stave off a cold that beat fascism.
It’s not right. We need to stop Russian ownership of depilated mutants.
There are many pets the good Russian people should own – borzois, chinchillas, yaks – but a hairless cat (which, let’s face it, maybe shouldn’t exist, period) has no business in the snow-bound hinterlands. I don’t always align with the animal left, but in this case I’m on-board. I’ll sign any “Free Demon” petition that comes my way.
If you’re a cat person and you’ve gotten this far, I don’t want you to think I don’t care about the seriousness of the Demon situation. I’m not insensitive; I just really dislike cats. I can’t help that they’re minions of the devil. That’s just a fact.
So I can’t help you feel much better about the Russian tattooed cat story or my inclination to support cat causes generally, but I can give you the video below. Enjoy.