Today, I am not going to name the cat I am referring to but it is not Grumpy Cat. It is a cat celebrity that I had not heard of before until today. She has no forelegs, just stumps. She was born this way due to a congenital abnormality. As is normal for disabled cats, she gets around just fine. She’ll bump along the ground on her chest and use her stumps to assist while the hind legs do most of the work when walking.
“She’s inspirational to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.”
I am not naming the cat because (a) I don’t want people to criticise me if I am wrong and (b) I genuinely am not sure about the ethics and morality of this matter and (c) I am sensitive to the feelings of the cat’s followers and owners. At this stage I am not saying anyone has done anything wrong.
The cat has 400,000 Instagram followers: a super, adorable feline who was adopted from a rescue center in America. With the owner’s permission and in collaboration with them, a businesss has decided to manufacture a plush toy replica using high quality materials.
“This adorale stuffed cat is 10″ tall, the perfect size for holding and squeezing.”
In addition, based on the adventures of this sweet disabled cat, comic strips, T-shirts and art books are being manufactured.
I genuinely want visitors to adise me on this. Is it in bad taste to manufacture these items? They are for commercial profit obviously. Yes, they celebrate a sweet cat who manages well despite a major disability but it seems like exploitation to me. Would we do the same thing for a human being?
Would we do the same thing if this cat was a child or young person? That would never happen. It would seem to be in bad taste. Cat we make such a comparison? Set against this argument, this cat can inspire people to overcome their disabilities. I am sure that is one of the motivations for marketing the cat through products.
You see, I don’t think the commercialisation of this cat would have happened ten years ago. Grumpy cat changed everything. She has made her owner a multimillionaire. We see the commercial strength of cat celebrities. High profile, genuine cat celebrities can make far more money than most human celebrities.
Many would say that you can’t blame owners of cat celebrities for making money from their cats in a highly competitive world. I guess it is modern life.
Personally, I feel that making a plush toy replica of a disabled cat is in bad taste. We can celebrate a cat and let her inspire others in all kinds of alternative ways. For instance, a television programme about the cat showing how she copes so brilliantly would be nice and tasteful.
I’ll probably will write about this cat again and name her but when I do I will celebrate her.
A final point. I hate to say this but I think Jackson Galaxy (who is genuinely respected) has jumped on the badwagon in visiting the home of the cat in question as a means to self-promote. Forgive me for my cynical attitude.