Tattooing Sphynx (Hairless) Cats Is Cruel

Updated on July 31, 2019
Stacie L profile image

Stacie L has raised many pets and had some cats live into the twenties. She also ran a successful pet sitting service.

Why Would Anyone Tattoo an Animal?

Let me be clear about my intentions for writing this: I feel it's cruel to tattoo this hairless cat—or any animal, for that matter. Should you ink a Sphynx cat just because it has no hair?

Tattooing has been in practice for thousands of years, dating 5,000 years ago to the Polynesians. The word tatau means to mark something. This art form has enjoyed a new surge in popularity and acceptance in recent years. Once viewed as a practice only reserved for sailors on leave or pirates, this art form has gained a huge following. People from all socioeconomic levels in society are now getting "tats," ranging from tiny flowers on an ankle to whole back or chest tattoos.

Having an ink artist prick your skin with a needle, injecting ink for hours to create a permanent work of art on your body, is painful for most humans. Now imagine having it done to an animal.

Tattooed Sphynx cat.
Tattooed Sphynx cat. | Source

Tats for Cats: The Hairless Sphynx

You can have a tattoo of a cat, but a new trend is emerging concerning hairless felines. The Sphynx, or New Mexican Hairless Cat breed, resembling the Sphinx statue and dating back to the ancient pharaohs, is the latest victim of attention-seeking owners. People own these hairless animals due to allergies from the dander or hair. They were once an oddity and called "ugly" by many. Having a cat without hair isn't something I'd ever consider.

The hairless, wrinkled Siamese-shaped cat is now becoming popular with tattoo shops. Photos of a tattooed cat first showed up on the Internet, since March 2009, on a number of blogs. This favorite pet is now becoming a work of art, just like their owners. It's been said that owners start to look like their pets; well, now that is more true than ever. The once noble cat is now getting decorated, like a favorite painted canvas.

A Confusing and Painful Experience for a Cat

The procedure takes a little over three hours, and of course the cat is anesthetized. Anyone that owns a cat knows you don't come near it and poke it without getting torn up! After the cat is knocked out, the artist can turn him in any direction to accomplish the task at hand. The dazed cat is an unwilling participant in this procedure. When it wakes up, it surely is in pain and confused.

Are we humans so shallow and materialistic that we see our pets as just another possession?

The First Cat Tattoo (Reportedly)

The animal was first reported to be tattooed in Russia with the image of the Sphinx. Apparently the owner thought this was a noble gesture on her part, since this breed originated from Egypt. The photos of the hapless, hairless feline were reported around the world on the Internet. The video above shows the cat getting that three-hour tattoo procedure. The other videos seemed to go underground.

Tattooed dog.
Tattooed dog.

Other Animals Getting Tattooed

Since researching this story, I have found a few more tattooed animals besides the cat. Pigs and chihuahuas are being tattooed as well. It looks like any hairless animal is fair game. Be afraid, be very afraid.

I wonder why they don't tattoo a snake or any reptile for that matter? They are hairless. Perhaps a snake has too much of his own design to be bothered. I don't think an alligator will put up with that for a second. Now if they could get the dolphin to cooperate, that would be a fabulous place to show off some art work! Of course, I'm being facetious and don't think any animal should be put through this torture.

Animal Cruelty

I think this is cruel and just plain stupid. Where is the Humane Society or the ASPCA, for that matter? Why is this not considered animal cruelty? If you see this happening, please report these thoughtless and self-absorbed numbskulls to any animal protection agency.

These same people may start tattooing their own children. Who would tolerate that? Pet owners are often referred to as pet parents, so why would they think their hairless "child" is a canvas?

Tattooed Animals

Do you think it's cruel to tattoo an animal?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • I would like a sphinx cat but they require a lot of work. I do think it is cruel to tattoo animals It would hurt them and they might get sick from the ink. Why would people do this?

    I don't know why people would tattoo an animal. Perhaps it's about vanity or they don't see the cat as a living being. Thanks for commenting.

© 2009 Stacie L


Submit a Comment
  • profile image

    Gabriel Hyde 

    2 years ago

    Poor creatures. I'm a huge tattoo fan and a proud sphinx cat owner and I don't understand how anyone can do this to an innocent animal who has no way of defending itself and relies on you for care, it's such a breech of an animals trust. Once more I don't understand how people find tattoo artists willing to do this.

  • Stacie L profile imageAUTHOR

    Stacie L 

    3 years ago

    Yes Paul, cat tats is real and other animals being inked!Thanks for commenting.

  • Paul Edmondson profile image

    Paul Edmondson 

    3 years ago from Burlingame, CA

    I just saw another site reference this article. I didn't even know cattooing or getting your pet cattooed was a thing.

  • Stacie L profile imageAUTHOR

    Stacie L 

    7 years ago

    JayeWisdom: I don't think this is well known or publicized. When I wrote it there wasn't much information on the net and now there is. It's sad that many more people think it's OK to tattoo an animal;I wonder about their own pets.

    Thanks you for reading and leaving your thoughtful comments. Maybe if enough people talk about this,something can be done to stop it.

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 

    8 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Cruelty comes in many forms, and cruel behavior to any person or animal that cannot defend itself deserves punishment befitting the crime.

    I saw that 20% of 285 people who voted in your poll don't think tattooing an animal is cruel, and 3% are undecided.

    How would these (approximately) 65 people feel if someone held them down and stuck enough needles in them to equal the level of tattooing required to cover one of these animals in designs? For example, if they had to be hospitalized with an illness that necessitated many frequent painful injections....It's called karma. Wonder if "pazuzu" will be first in line and, if so, how "cool" he or she will think that is! (Sorry, but ignorance melded with a streak of cruelty (or, the very least, uncaring) infuriates me, regardless of the person's age.)

  • Stacie L profile imageAUTHOR

    Stacie L 

    8 years ago

    Thank you for reading and commenting. I can't understand how peoples vanity takes place over the animals pain.

  • moonlake profile image


    8 years ago from America

    How awful. That dumb guy is saying pigs don't feel it but you can tell the pig does feel it. I always hated to see it when they would brand cattle. Also cruel. Poor cat how sad. Voted up on your hub and shared.

  • Stacie L profile imageAUTHOR

    Stacie L 

    9 years ago

    Rev_Shadowhorse; yes some people need to use animals to feed their is sad so we all need to try to stop this.thanks for reading and commenting

  • Rev_Shadowhorse profile image


    9 years ago from U.S.A.

    I thought I'd seen it all. I rescue small animals. This is horrible. What is wrong with people? Why don't they keep their twisted vanities to themselves instead of making animals suffer for it?

  • Stacie L profile imageAUTHOR

    Stacie L 

    9 years ago

    Paradise7;it is sick. This is an underground art form and not openly advertised

  • Paradise7 profile image


    10 years ago from Upstate New York

    That's sick, tattooing helpless animals. Really sick. I hope the SPCA gets after 'em and puts them right on the blocks!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    obviously 15 years old who thinks tats are coooool.

  • Stacie L profile imageAUTHOR

    Stacie L 

    10 years ago

    well pazuzu;

    if you think an animal is ok to be tattooed,then maybe a baby is ok also?

    Since neither can speak for themselves ,you seem to feel as long as they are knocked out,it will be alright because it looks soooo cool?


  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I disagree. So long as the cat is knocked out during the procedure, this is fine. How is this any different than the ridiculous grooming of show animals? It looks soooo cool!!!! I have large tatoos and after the procedure, there is basically zero pain.

  • Stacie L profile imageAUTHOR

    Stacie L 

    10 years ago

    thank you for commenting Benjimeister.

    yes,there are a lot of strange people in the world!

  • Benjimester profile image

    Benji Mester 

    10 years ago from San Diego, California

    That's really bizarre. I never would have thought people would ever do that to animals. People are weirdos. Just wait till PETA gets a hold of this one :) I hope I see that story on the news.

  • Stacie L profile imageAUTHOR

    Stacie L 

    10 years ago

    thanks for commenting, marshall92.

    animals are not merchandise;pets are here to love and be loved.

    this is so selfish of some people...

  • marshall92 profile image


    10 years ago

    After you left a comment at my Dogs vs. Cats hub, I decided I would check out some of your hubs. Before reading this one, I never knew that people tattooed cats, pigs, and even dogs. I think this is very cruel, and I agree with you in that "When it awakes, it surely is in pain and confused." People shouldn't make animals do things they can't consent to. Poor animals! Anyway, keep writing hubs. They are very informative and fun to read!

  • Stacie L profile imageAUTHOR

    Stacie L 

    10 years ago

    Thank you for your thoughts...we need to also report these people. If they can do this then other procedures will follow. Ebay shut down an auction for "Goth kittens" recently. Seems someone thought it was cool to pierce their ears with earrings! ugh!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    The world is full of vain, stupid people who crave attention. If tatooing their pets gets them that vapid attention, then what is to stop them? I usually give such people a wide berth and IGNORE. Sometimes an acid comment helps!


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