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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pair of Homeless Kittens Rescued from Condemned Veterans Stadium Win Back-to-Back Best Household Pet Awards

Hagrid-of-Hogwarts (See photo on the right) rebounded from a sixth place finish in 2005 to win this year's Best Household Pet award from the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA). His sister, Hermione-of-Hogwarts (See photo below) took home the award last year.

The brown and white polydactyl male, who beat out eight-hundred-twenty-one contestants from thirty-nine states and four Canadian provinces, was honored last week in Lexington, Kentucky with a ribbon and the Betty Haralampus Trophy. He will also receive a listing in ACFA's yearbook.

Unlike purebreds, household cats are judged on overall physical appearance, cleanliness, and their friendliness toward the judges. In Hagrid's case, show judge Joan Apel-Klarner of Rockford, Illinois was impressed by his glossy coat, playfulness and, especially, the six toes that he has on his front paws.

"His feet make him comical," she told the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 30th. (See "Cat Saved from Stadium Implosion Named Top Pet.") "He sticks out like a sore thumb with all those toes. He almost looks as if he has hands, instead of feet."

Hagrid originally had seven toes on each back paw but his guardian, West Chester University professor Linda Hanna (See photo above) of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, had three of them surgically removed because they were allegedly in the way. This is a debatable point. Since she started exhibiting him and Hermione when they were only four-months-old it is conceivable that the desire to win cat shows was the primary motivation behind her decision to mutilate him.

Hanna does admit to preparing Hagrid and Hermione for competition by wiping them down with a warm washcloth and then applying a conditioner to their coats. Hopefully, she uses a nontoxic product and removes it immediately after the shows so as to prevent them from ingesting any harmful substances while grooming themselves.

Even more remarkable than their winning back-to-back cat shows is the fact that they were two of seven homeless kittens that Hanna rescued from Veterans Stadium (See photo below) in south Philadelphia shortly before it has demolished on March 21, 2004. She bottle-fed the two-week-old kittens and decided to keep Hagrid and Hermione. One of their littermates died and the fate of the other four is unknown.

Being show cats is certainly a big improvement over being dead cats, but it is not any bowl of cherries. Cats are territorial and do not like to travel. By constantly entering them in cat shows, Hanna is forcing them to spend a disproportionate amount of their existence cooped up in pet carriers while they are being transported from one city to another. This is no doubt both frightening and stressful for them.

Plus, there is the de rigueur of all the incessant training and grooming that they are force to endure as well as the unnecessary surgical procedures designed to improve their appearance. Both Hagrid and Hermione have also been sterilized.

Cats' lives should be their own. They should not be exploited just so that humans can win awards, fame and, in some instances, money. Besides, what use does a cat have for money or ribbons?

Hanna is also guilty of perpetuating that disgusting trend of naming cats after characters out of Joanne Rowling's Harry Potter series. For example, Assistant Brooklyn District Attorney Carol Moran named her cats Fred and George after the Weasley twins. (See Cat Defender post of August 17, 2006 entitled "Brave Little Fred the Undercover Cat Has His Short, Tragic Life Snuffed Out by a Hit-and-Run Driver in Queens.")

There are no doubt advantages in this ploy, but naming cats after popular culture figures and then entering them in an endless parade of cat shows is nothing less than naked exploitation that borders on animal cruelty.

Photos: American Cat Fanciers Association (Hagrid with Linda Hanna, and Hermione) and www.about.philadelphia.com (Veterans Stadium).