Grumpy cat has a reason to be grumpy

There are 600 people in a queue that snakes around the corner of a street in Austin, Texas at the South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals. They are all waiting in line for that magical moment when they get to hold, be close to and, yes OMG, to be photographed with Grumpy Cat. Here are some results:

Grumpy cat with customers photo shoot

Grumpy cat with customers photo shoot

I wrote about what I consider to be the exploitation of Grumpy Cat (Tardar Sauce) in a previous post. The post received lots of comments. Some agreed with me and some were totally opposed. I suppose this is normal. However people do seem particularly polarised in their views. It may be the case that being British I have a different attitude to cat welfare than many Americans.

I accept that Tardar Sauce’s owners do care about their cat’s welfare. This is what they say, anyway.  Their concern seems to be overcome by a desire for fame and fortune achieved vicariously through their cute and unique cat. Can you compromise cat welfare for the sake of money and fame? This seems to be what the Grumpy Cat story is about.

The photo shoots were limited in duration but there are still 600 people to satisfy and anyone who knows cats realises that it is not ideal, with respect to cat welfare, to hawk your cat around the country and plonk her down in a strange place with strange people for a couple of hours while a photographer captures the moment.

It doesn’t look dignified to me. Would I let hundreds of complete strangers handle my cat for a couple of hours like this? I can’t believe that I would. It feels wrong to me because I know my cat would dislike it and be anxious.

I still maintain that no one knows how Tardar Sauce feels on a day-to-day basis. The owners say she has been checked out and everything is fine etc. Vets are not perfect. They don’t have all the answers and this cat has congenital dwarfism and bone deformities that give her that unique expression. How do we know for sure she is not feeling some discomfort that accompanies these deformities?

I won’t go on and on. It is boring. I just feel that my initial post was justified when I see the video and photos on this page. I understand the fun aspect of the whole thing and Tardar is adorable. For me, however, the spectacle hints at the flaws in the relationship between animals and people.

Update: there is a free Grumpy cat campaign of some sort. The idea is to free her from forced labour as someone has said. I wouldn’t use that phrase but…

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Grumpy cat has a reason to be grumpy — 15 Comments

  1. Yeah, this makes me mad too. I found a pix of her playing and posted it so people could see she was a real cat. She is being exploited. Look how tired she looks in that bottom right picture. I heard about this on the news (maybe online) and I just shook my head. The cat owner was surely a paid attraction. The question is, when does it become a danger to the cats health and well being. You had this one pegged. No doubt about it.

    Boy, what more can do?

  2. It is absolutely disgraceful the way that poor cat is being exploited, what is wrong with all those people queueing up to wear stupid expressions on their faces and posing for photos while holding a deformed unhappy cat.
    Look at the way some are hoding her, no support for her body.
    No cat in the world would enjoy all that molesting by strangers, her body must be aching and she must feel very weary of it all.
    Yet she has no choice but to accept what is done to her!
    Don’t tell me that anyone who loves their cat would put her though that!
    If this was happening in England I think the RSPCA would have been called in long ago, our pet welfare law says animals must be treated as fitting to their species.

  3. I love Grumpy Cat.. She is a Beautiful Cat.. And some of the captions they use for Grumpy is so funny. And some not so funny… But all in all.She is a Beautiful cat.

  4. Grumpy Cat does not look well to me. She looks very passive, almost static and disinterested. Passivity is not a good sign. Maybe I have this wrong but it just looks like that to me.

    • Yes she looks too passive to me too Micheal almost as if she’s given up the ghost and just enduring her unnatural life because she has no say in it herself.
      I’m sure she’d far rather be cosy in her home doing what cats like to do.
      My heart breaks for the poor little soul.
      Shame on those exploiting her and those who think it’s OK to do so.

      • I have this gut feel (it could be wrong, of course) that she is in discomfort. I know about cats being in discomfort and they tend to go passive and are very quiet. I believe this is because they become a bit depressed due to the pain or discomfort which naturally leads to a lack of interest and thence passivity.

  5. I can’t believe it’s even legal to do that. First tiger cub photo ops and now this. Hopefully enough people will complain and put an end to this.

  6. When I first heard about her and saw her photo I’m sure I read that her owners were using her photos to raise money for charity, fair enough, but this is far beyond that it’s exploiting the poor cat, and I agree she does look tired in those photos,she looks as if she can hardly hold her head up in the 4th one, plus what cat wants to be mauled by 600 posturing strangers, it makes me wonder if she is so depressed that it doesn’t occur to her to fight back, and please don’t let her be declawed!!!! This makes me so sad, it’s one thing to take a disabled cat and give her the best possible life but I think Tardar is giving an awful lot more than she is receiving. I hope she isn’t in pain or discomfort all the time.

  7. Pingback: Something about me and my cats..

  8. I completely agree – and found this post by accident while doing a general search for ‘Grumpy Cat’ and ‘animal welfare’. Good on you!

    I saw a documentary about Grumpy Cat the other week and was appalled by her long (photo and handling intense) appearance. Flashing lights, on a cushion on a pedestal for well over two hours (I mean, what if she needs to pee??).

    Grumpy cat and photo shoots is one thing – fine. But these lengthy appearances are NOT. IMHO.

    • Thanks for the support Emily. I wrote the original page (see here) almost 2 years ago and we now know that Grumpy is a random bred cat with certain purebred traits (if we are to believe the owner). Anyway not everyone agrees with me as you may have spotted in the comments. When I wrote it she was far less exploited than today. Even then things looks wrong to me.

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