Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

Why the World Terrifies Me

[WARNING: This entry contains a mention of animal cruelty.]

When I got home yesterday, Oslo the Kitten was sitting in the window that faces our apartment courtyard. I stopped to chat with him when two young girls came over. They were probably around 10 years old.

The girls asked me a lot of questions about Oslo: Where did you get him? How old is he? What does he eat? Does it hurt when he scratches you? I answered them, pleased that they were taking such an interest.

And then this question: “Can you cut his tail off?”

I was shocked. I explained that cats use their tails for balance, that cutting it off would be like cutting off one of our legs. I spoke about the importance of tails at great length. And then I questioned the girls: Why are you asking this question? Where did you get this idea?

The answer? They know someone who cut his cat’s tail off to see if he could make it shorter. The cat died.

At no point during this conversation did the girls look upset, not even when they were giving me this answer. I rushed inside to hug my cats, and to figure out how I could barricade the doors and windows.

About the author

Jenn Reese


  • I mean, yes, one of my dogs has a docked tail. But it was done surgically when he was a few days old, with anesthesia and veterinarian supervision, so he has no memory or residual trauma, and it's done because hunting dogs tend to give away their location to their prey when they wag their tails excitedly. And there's a lot of debate as to whether or not even that should be considered ethical.

    As for the two girls: what?

  • I preferred the girls from the Shining to these two. They didn't look scary in the slightest until they started talking.

    NOT OKAY pretty much sums it up.

  • A comment off on a tangent: in South-east Asia where I live, the majority of cats have short or twisted or broken-looking tails. They are born that way. It is astonishing how many tourists are convinced that people here break or mutilate cat tails to bring good luck or for some other imagined reason!

    I've had a tough time convincing them otherwise, but it is a genetic thing, not a cultural one.

By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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