Kitten Found with Purple Paws Likely Marked as 'Bait' for Dogfights May 21 2017, 2 Comments
A small, gray kitten wandering the streets of Naples, Florida, was rescued last week; unfortunately, not an uncommon story. Hardly newsworthy, some would say.
But this kitten wasn't "just another stray" looking for a home or a free meal. He looked to be in good condition and health. That isn't what caught the local animal control's eye, though. The kitten's paws and face were smudged with bright purple ink.
The kitten was taken to the Naples Cat Alliance, where he quickly earned the moniker Mr. Purple Paws.
While Mr. Purple Paws' case may have just been careless owners neglecting their pet, the kitten's rescuers say that there is likely a much more sinister reason for his purple marks. He was likely going to be used as live 'bait' in dogfights, a cruel "sport" called dog-baiting.
“Dogfighters use markers to color the white parts of cats and kittens so they can bet on which color will die first,” Writes Megan Sorbara, the founder of the Naples Cat Alliance. "I consider myself pretty hardened to a lot of stuff. I have dealt with a lot of injured, emaciated, neglected and abused animals but this one really got to me."
It is still unknown who the perpetrators are or how they even acquired Mr. Purple Paws in the first place. Sorbara told the Dodo that she wouldn't be surprised if they had picked up someone's outdoor cat. Some dogfighters might take advantage of people adopting out kittens or cats online to get a free cat.
It's an unsettling and alarming trend, as more and more kittens are found with colored fur.
Two kittens were rescued in the UK last year after they had been found colored with blue and green marker. They nearly died from respiratory issues linked to the toxic ink used to color their fur.
Another kitten, named Smurf, was found dyed bright purple and covered in lacerations and bite wounds in California early last year, indicating that the cat might have been used as "bait" in a dogfight.
Pictured on the right is Smurf nearly 2 months after making a full recovery. He's even made best friends with a blind kitten he'd bonded with at the shelter, named Wanda, and helps guide Wanda around their forever home. (Pictured below)
While Mr. Purple Paws and the other kittens like him made a lucky escape, who knows how many cats are out there being used in this heinous "blood sport."
If you're interested in adopting Mr. Purple Paws, please contact the Naples Cat Alliance.
[h/t The Dodo]