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.