Weird Pet Fads
People are always attracted to weird and new things, even when it comes to pets. Here are some of the more unusual pet fads. Not just which animals people get... but what they do with them. There is nothing wrong with keeping an unusual pet if you do your research and look after them properly, but some people cross a line and seem to not care so much about the well-being of the animal, just some passing fashion.
Not satisfied with the usual cat or dog. Never mind, there are plenty of other options! But are they all good ethical choices? Domesticated animals have developed over hundreds or thousands of generations to become adapted to living in human households. Other animals, while more novel, may not fare so well.....
Small Exotic Cats and Hybrids
Domesticated cats are not enough for some people. Instead they have to have small exotic (that is to say wild) species like the fishing cat and servals (pictured).
For those with a small budget and/or greater fear of being eaten in your sleep, there are several grades of cross breed between several exotic species and domestic cats.
In some jurisdictions first generation hybrids are regulated as wild animals and may require special permits. But letter generation cats that are more than 50% domestic in heritage are generally treated the same as domestic cats.
Jellyfish are rather delicate pets that require special aquariums. They seem to be treated as a combination pet and living art installation.
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
This is the perfect pet for people who like to shock and disgust. Not only is is an enormous roach that living in rotting wood, it growls at people when unhappy.
The roaches were probably first kept to be used as food for reptiles and other exotic pets, then they became pets in their own right.
Pet Fad Hoaxes
Mistaken by some for really genetically modified pet, Genpets are actually a fine art project and can be considered a 'hoax of exposure'.
The petite lap giraffe
Despite hoax websites and rumors the petite lap giraffe does not exist. Sorry.
You can also take you normal pet and jazz them up a bit. Although I think some of these options really cross a line in terms of animal welfare.
Not enough just to have a cat with no fur. It seems the Russians started the notion of adding tattoos. Or do we just like to think it is other countries that come up with this stuff? Either way, poor pussy cats! The less invasive option (painted cats) exists only as a photo shopped hoax/novelty book.
Apparently, however, painted dogs are quite real--especially poodles and other white curly types of pooch. The most extreme examples are entries in 'creative grooming' contests like the pamel or--is that coodle?--shown right
In most countries there are human limits to the modification you are allowed to carry out on animals. For example in Australia ear cropping and tail docking of dogs is not permitted. And in the United States a woman who gave kittens heavy piercing to sell them as "gothic kittens" was charged with animal cruelty. And you could argue that a non-toxic clip or dye job is far better than extreme breeding practices than can cause horrible deformities.
What crosses a line is treating an animal like it is just an object, for example by gluing jewels on a beetle and wearing it like living jewelry. An animal deserve responsible care, an appropriate habitat and some measure of respect. Animals may be chosen with an eye to style or fashion, but they can never be treated merely as convenient accessories and mistreated, discarded or allowed to die on a whim.