Television image of cat after undergoing eye surgery (Image: Jiangsu Television)
A Chinese television station showed pictures of the smoky-coated moggie with its eyes appearing swollen and what are said to be lines of stitches. Social media followers reacted angrily to the reports and animal welfare organisations are questioning the need to subject pets to non-essential surgery. Cosmetic-style operations for pets are gaining international popularity, with owners spending millions of pounds around the world on tummy tucks, eye-lifts and nose operations to make their animals’ lives more glamorous.
Nanjing-based Jiangsu Television today reported how vets operated on the cat’s eyelids because the anonymous owner deemed them ugly. According to the TV report, the woman paid £1,123 ( 10,000 yuan) for the operation.
Some people born with “monolids” believe having double eyelids, through a procedure known as Asian blepharoplasty where an extra crease is added, will make them more attractive.
And now similar demand is now surfacing among pet owners.
In the broadcast, an official from one veterinary hospital in Nanjing told reporters how it carries out double eyelid surgery on both cats and dogs, explaining how the operation is popular among owners who want to show their pets.
Cosmetic eye surgery cat in collar after procedure (Image: Jiangsu Television)
The Jiangsu Television feature created a storm on China’s Weibo microblogging website, with critics questioning the need to subject a cat to “torture”.
One commentator stormed: “I would go as far to say this is animal abuse. Complete disregard of the poor cat's feelings.”
Another added: “The procedure, if just to make it look prettier, is completely unnecessary and causes the animal pain.”
While a third commented: “It doesn't even look like the same cat anymore. This is plain torture.”
For humans, Asian blepharoplasty is said to be becoming an increasingly popular procedure, with the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS) reporting that 1,379,263 people globally had the operation in 2013, the third most popular form of cosmetic surgery.
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Jiangsu Television emblem (Image: Jiangsu Television)
Yet Wendy Higgins, director of international media at Humane Society International, questions any form of unnecessary surgery for animals.
She said: “Subjecting a cat to that risk as well as all the associated discomfort and fear, in the name of non-essential surgery for human vanity is certainly irresponsible and not in the best welfare interests of the cat.
“All animals are beautiful, in whatever shape or size they come in, and their visual imperfections only give them more character. Surgically altering our pets for purely cosmetic reasons is not kind or wise.
“Unless there is some health need for the animal, as there can be for example with some breeds, we should love them just the way they are.”