Is Tattooing Cats Animal Abuse?

Updated on July 26, 2020
Sherry H profile image

Sherry grew up watching her uncle raise turtles, fish, goats in his backyard. She lives with an orange tabby and her three kitties.

Source

Tattooing has existed throughout the ancient world. After some years of animal domestication, humans decided to get their animals some tattoos as well.

Instances where animals are tattoed:

  • In laboratories to tattoo experimental animals.
  • In the agricultural industry to identify livestock
  • By pet breeders and 4-H clubs to mark purebred animals
  • By vets and animal rescue groups to denote that a rescued animal has been spayed
  • By pet owners to identify lost or stolen pets
  • For lighter-colour animals to prevent sunburn, for example on the nose.

But is it the same to tattoo a cat for decorative purposes? Does getting your pet cat a tattoo fall under the category of animal cruelty?

"Only heaven knows exactly when the first man, or half-man, first added some natural ornament to his body or a woman to hers. Not long after, I feel sure, the first primitive attempt was made at putting permanent decoration, or magic sign, on the skin. If so, it would be a proud claim for tattooing that it was one of man's first conscious acts which distinguished him from the rest of the animal kingdom." George Burchett, Memoirs of a Tattooist (1958, 14-15)

Little did he expect future humans to ruin the supposedly "first conscious act that distinguished human from animals".

Tattooing for Identification vs Decoration

Vets and animal organization do not recommend tattooing a pet, even for identification, let alone for aesthetic reasons. However, being able to identify the animals is important and often a legal requirement for many species of animals.

Compared with other methods of ID, tattooing is associated with numerous disadvantages and is, in fact, more painful than microchipping. But, it is the most practical, cost-effective and rapid method which is why still used in places where it is necessary.

It is used as a means of marking by vets at the time of spay or neuter surgery to identify pets as neutered. This seems reasonable because the pet is already under anaesthesia and a tattoo may prevent it from undergoing unnecessary exploratory surgery.

Generally, simple tattoo techniques which do not require special needles or instruments are used for this purpose.

A small line or symbol is created on the ventral abdomen. A tattoo in this area would be easily discovered and could verify that surgical sterilization had been performed.

Laboratories tattoo ears of animals by applying local anaesthetic creams which unlike general anaesthesia have the least risk.

Reportedly, Russian cat owners  started this trend to tattoo hairless breeds like the Sphynx cat.
Reportedly, Russian cat owners started this trend to tattoo hairless breeds like the Sphynx cat. | Source

Anaesthesia and Risk of Infections

"The cat is put under anaesthesia. What is the big deal? It's not like it will feel pain."

This is what you will hear from people who believe that tattooing is nothing cruel.
Tattooing requires heavy sedation or general anaesthesia, which is never "nothing".

There is always a risk when you are knocking out someone for three hours straight. All sorts of cardiovascular, respiratory, and other complications can occur when general anaesthesia is done on small animals.

This is why owners are asked to give consent for inducing anaesthesia to their pets. The pain caused to the animal after waking up is yet another thing.

Moreover, the use of multiple needles, adds to the risk of transmission of bloodborne viruses or other infections.

Tattoo inks contain pigment particles that remain permanently in the skin to make up the desired colouring. Over time, the pigments partly escape via the lymph and become deposited in the lymph nodes along with a slow release of minute amounts of chemicals which may cause harm, such as allergy.

Additionally, the pigments from lymph can reach the bloodstream and cause harm somewhere else in the body.

Cats Cannot Consent and Would Not Care About How They Look

It's like getting a tattoo on a human baby. The purpose is not medical, a cat cannot consent, and it is risky.

Although cats are smart animals, they are never so smart to know how they look.

It is understandable that people might be doing it out of admiration, but there are many ways you can give your cat a lavish lifestyle. Pets should be loved for their personality and not looks.

Tattoo sleeve for cat.
Tattoo sleeve for cat. | Source

Before you decide to get your cat tattooed, think about this:

  • How will the sensitive skin of a hairless cat react to tattoo ink?
  • How will the cat relief from the snatch and burn of the tattoo healing?
  • What if any complications occur? Can you afford to deal with the aftermath?
  • What would you do when the tattoo starts fading and distorting over time?

After answering the above questions, if you feel that it is safe to get a tattoo on your cat, do it only if you have had the first-hand experience of watching a tattooed pet for some years.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2020 Sherry Haynes

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      4 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Sherry, I do not own a cat. So I would not understand what tatooing a cat means. Nevertheless, thanks for sharing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)