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Your Pet Cat Is a Family Member, Not a Toy


O P I N I O N


Koushin Unber


If you’re a fellow cat owner/lover living in Bangladesh, you or people you know are sure to have come upon Puchi Family on Facebook or YouTube, an extremely popular pet and family vlogging channel with over 140,000 subscribers on Youtube.

Claiming to be a shelter and nursing home to over 20 cats, they have gained popularity amongst thousands of other cat owners, and even inspiration and guidelines to some, including my own extended family. But if you have been around the cat adoption pages on Facebook long enough, you will see posts calling them out on animal abuse and exploitation. 

Videos of the cats being roughly handled, thrown, and made to fight each other are surfacing across these pages.

The Puchi Family has also been accused of excessively breeding their cats, and using detergent soaps to bathe their cats. The built-up traction led to the formation of more Facebook pages dedicated to boycotting their channel. Users have also come together to message grocery delivery and pet shops such as ChalDal, etc. (who have in the past sent gift boxes to the Puchi Family) to let them know that they are losing support.

The popular Cat Society of Bangladesh has also expressed their dissociation with the Puchi Family through a series of posts and videos showing members of the Family abusing their cats. 

Whether or not The Puchi Family is legitimately guilty of animal abuse and exploitation, a vast number of cat owners in Bangladesh are unaware of what is actually considered as abuse. This stems from either ignorance (which is what happens in most of the cases) or a deliberate, malicious intent to harm cats, and sometimes even both. It’s not a wonder that animal cruelty runs rampant in our country, starting from the way farmers treat domesticated cows, goats, etc. to the neglect of kittens in households that utilise kittens as a means of entertainment for their children.

Thousands of kittens are bought and adopted by families/individuals who take cat care for granted. A kitten is brought home, it spends a few weeks at the hands of owners who fail to provide bare necessities, it falls off a balcony or contracts a disease due to inadequate care and dies, your parents buy you another cat for a couple of thousand bucks from Katabon, and the cycle continues. So, in hopes of making the lives of a few more cats better, I’ve compared a list of things you should not be doing whilst having a furry companion in your care:

  • Not cat-proofing your house (frayed electric cables not tied up, closets and cupboards kept open, balconies not netted, windows kept open). This is extremely important for apartments that are on levels 2 or higher.
  • Not taking your pet to the vet for regular check-ups/ Delaying visits to the vet.
  • Using human medication on cats without the prescription of a properly trained veterinarian. 
  • Hiding information from people/the vet regarding past injuries.
  • Not giving your cat a shower once every month (often skipped because giving a cat a bath is an arduous task, but you should be doing it ANYWAY)
  • Not changing your cat’s litter every day.
  • Petting them the wrong way (too many belly rubs, aggressive hugging, suffocating them with unwanted affection)
  • Excessively breeding them to pump out kittens to sell on ‘Persian Cat Society BD’. 
  • Forcibly introducing them to other cats/ Making them fight each other for entertainment.
  • Bathing them too frequently during cold seasons and/or not drying them as it can lead to colds which can be fatal.
  • Having your cat be extremely thin with visible bones.

Contrary to popular belief, taking care of a cat requires preparation and an undying amount of care and attention, and depriving them of any of their needs due to the mindset of ‘better here than on the street’ is extremely problematic for both the owner and the cat. Bangladesh laws on animal cruelty range from Tk 50,000 fines to 2 years of imprisonment, and organisations like Obhoyaronno are making efforts to sanctify the mistreatment of animals in this country. Cat care services have come a long way in this country, so make sure your feline friend is living the best possible life it can.

 


Koushin is a certified bruh girl with the emotional capacity of a brick. Rattle on about schools of philosophy or film theory to her at [email protected] 

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