People should be aware that the painted cats in the book Why Paint Cats: The Ethics of Feline Aesthetics by Burton Silver, Heather Busch…are not really painted. People don’t actually put paint on the cats. That needs to be said in plain English because the book will certainly confuse some people, usually honest people who are more easily taken in. Worse, it may encourage some people to actually paint their cat. The book has been around for a long time and people still scratch their heads when they see the pictures.
The book is deliberately written in a very serious way that gives the strong impression that the whole thing is real; that the cats were painted by very skilled artists at great cost and effort.
However this book is a spoof. People who see the book either get that and laugh or don’t get it and find the whole thing disturbing.
There are still many people who believe it is real. That simple fact is disturbing to me. The publishers, Ten Speed Press, are irresponsible in not providing some sort of notification within the book to say it is not real and warning to people to not paint their cat.
The book starts off with “Why did a woman in California pay an artist $5,000 to paint her cat to look like a pig?”. A deadpan serious line which sets the tone for the entire book.
I wonder how many people have at least messed around with the idea of spray painting their cat. That can be very damaging to a cat’s health. A cat will try and lick off the paint and it doesn’t matter if it is vegetable die or ordinary paint.
Here are two comments from Amazon, as examples:
I note that a veterinarian in a previous review of this book said he saw his first “painted cat” recently, and he said that the cat had tried to lick off the paint and had ulcers on its tongue.
As a person who has been painting her cats for years, I was delighted to see that this is widely accepted and practiced! My only complaint is the lack of information on safe dyes and paints for this use. I fear that some people might use toxic paints and dyes on their animals.
As I understand it Heather Busch is a New Zealand “artist” (yeh, well I wouldn’t call her an artist) and Burton Silver is the Photoshop professional. But I could be wrong. I’d be interested to know if there is any reference to photoshopping in the book. There might not be.
The pictures heading the page are copyright protected. I am in breach of copyright in publishing them here but I claim fair use on the grounds that the public still need to be informed about the dangers to cats that this book creates.
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