Ever since I met Grumpy Cat a few weeks back after winning a competition, I have seen an array of anger towards her owner for flying her cat around the world to meet fans and take part in press events. I, as an animal lover myself, have a few things to say on this matter of celebrity cats.
THE RISE OF CELEBRITY CATS
Cats have always been adored but Youtube and Reddit made the love stronger. When Grumpy Cat’s image went viral, the web went crazy.
Grumpy Cat aka Tardar Sauce has a permanently grumpy face is due to her underbite and dwarfism. Other cats like Lil Bub – who also suffer from dwarfism and other genetic mutations – rose to fame based on their cute and unique appearance and demeanour.
As well as Grumpy and Bub, there are a large number of cats both with and without disabilities having meet and greets as well as media appearances.
“THOSE POOR ANIMALS”
I get it. As someone who hates zoos (I’m not even a big fan of Animal Kingdom, at Disney World) and aquariums, I understand why people say that it’s cruel.
When I met Grumpy Cat there were certain things happening to make her comfortable:
- No flash photography,
- No touching Grumpy,
- Her owner, Tabatha was present (hugging her in between sessions, giving her toys and treats),
- There were no loud noises or music,
- Photos were about ten seconds each.
The assumption that there are screaming fans, flashing lights and hot bulbs looming over her is a bit of an insult to Tabatha. Her owner was clearly protective and loving towards her cat and wouldn’t want her to be distressed in any way. Fans have been assured that she travels well but doesn’t do it that often. She has regular visits to the vet and has been given a clean bill of health.
Here’s the thing. Animals like Grumpy and Bub have created a hysteria for cat lovers to look past the cuteness and built an awareness for animals with disabilities. In addition, many celebrity cats raise a tonne of money for animal charities.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Here’s what I don’t get: Grumpy Cat and others travel occasionally to events making their owners some cash via merchandise and to raise money for charity. They aren’t put in cages during the M&G experience (other than carry cots during travel), are healthy and looked after. Their owners are always present and the well-being of the animal is first and foremost.
When you have animals, removed from their environment, their families and taken out of the country to be put into a box then yeah, be pissed. But these cats are promoting animal care as well as adoption from shelters. And just because they have a few selfies with fans, it’s not all that bad. It doesn’t last long and it’s like you’re not even there. Grumpy only gave a crap about one thing and that was the treats Tabatha was shaking at her!