Animal Cruelty, Cats with Tattoos
Tattooing has been done for thousands of years but its modern popularity as body art originated in Samoa, where people decorated themselves with permanent inks. Sailors who visited these islands as early as 1769 spread the trend around the world, and today many people have themselves tattooed as a form of artistic expression.
A recent trend in the pet industry has been to tattoo pets. Tattooing pets is not in itself new, pets have been tattooed for identification purposes for some time, but the new trend is to have them tattooed for vanity purposes.
Many people have seen tattooed fish, they may not have even realized what they were looking at. Sometimes these are Cichlid fish with colors on their side, other times the “tattoo” is a Chinese symbol, making it more obvious the fish has been mutilated in some way.
Certainly tattooing fish is not done with the fish's best interest in mind, it is done as a gimmick to sell more fish.
The more recent trend is for people who own hairless pets, mostly cats, to have the cat tattooed. This is generally done on cats with pink skin, but can be done on the darker skinned cats too. Unlike humans, who are awake while getting tattooed, the case are anesthetized.
A small tattoo takes about three hours, a larger one can take six hours or more, and may be done over more than one visit.
The images are often Egyptian in nature, possibly due to the name of the cat breed most commonly tattooed – the Sphinx! Oriental art is also not uncommon, but any tattoo can be done.
It should be noted that in some cases, for photography purposes only; fake, water based ink tattoos are applied and they do come off overtime, or with a good bath.
The trend of tattooing cats is mostly seen in Russia. Animal welfare groups around the world have been quick to condemn it as it is done for cosmetic, and vanity, purposes only, benefiting the cat in no way.
Those who tattoo cats defend it saying it is painless and insisting it is only done while the cats are anesthetized. It must be noted that anesthetizing cats is not always safe, some cats do have reactions to anesthesia, and in particular the hairless breeds seem to have greater problems with anesthetics in general. There are tests that can be done prior to putting a cat under anesthetic to make sure it will not have a negative reaction.
Tattoos used as Identification
Tattoos are often used as identification on pets. Racehorses have tattoos on their inner lip, kittens and puppies are sometimes tattooed with a letter and number system by their breeders. Other pets are often tattooed in their ear or inner leg, with a code that traces to the veterinarian and can be used to track down the owner of a lost pet, with these tattoos applied when the cat is being spayed or neutered.