Pet Accessories Gone Wrong: The Tale of the Gothic Kittens

You know how you like to dress your dogs and cats up in cute little sweaters and hats? And put antlers on them and pretend they’re reindeer? Or put them in a stroller and pretend they’re your baby?

Or pierce their ears with barbells and pretend they’re that punk kid who egged your house the other night?

Whoops! Guess that last one went too far. Who really knows what Holly Crawford was thinking when she decided to pierce kittens and sell her “gothic” cats online. Crawfod, a dog breeder, says she wasn’t trying to hurt the animals, and used sterilized needles and made sure they healed properly.

I guess by “heal properly”, she means she watched the piercing site for pus. Because the emotional scars on these animals, which a vet says were “maimed and disfigured”, will likely never go away. Some cats were pierced on the backs of their necks, a piercing fashion popping up more frequently among (consenting) humans. But for cats, the nape of the neck is an especially sensitive area the mother cat will take in her teeth to get her kitten to submit to her — not an area you’d want to puncture with a 14-gauge bar.

Even if Crawford didn’t intend to hurt the animals, she obviously didn’t consider their well-being before going through with these procedures, or know much about a cat’s nerves. Any piercer will tell you that correct placement of piercings in humans is essential — same would go for any animal. And it’s highly unlikely these kittens were begging for the needle, or even sat quietly while Crawford was driving a bar through their ears. Me-owch.

People are up in arms over Crawford and her gothic kittens. Her home was raided in 2008, and her trial begins today. Was this a case of criminal animal abuse? Or just a misguided woman with a questionable sense of “cool”? How harshly should she be punished? After all, this is an unusual case that was exposed as pet mutilation — but mutilating animals happens all the time in “normal” settings. Did you know cocker spaniels actually have long tails, but they get docked when they’re a few days old? And dobermans’ and pit bulls’ ears are routinely clipped. Cows are branded with scorching hot metal, chickens’ beaks are seared off with a hot blade, piglets have their teeth clipped…most of these are done without anesthesia, by the way.

Yes, it was wrong for Crawford to needlessly mutilate her kittens in the name of…what? fashion? And it is another incidence of humans objectifying sentient animals. Maybe it will take an extreme case to shine a light on all the other cases of animals being treated like accessories. But if Paris Hilton’s chihuahua could read this, I bet she’d be thankful she’s only forced to wear a tutu, and not a nose ring.


Colleen W.
Colleen W4 years ago

Tail docking is now illegal here as well. Humans still use animals as "accessories"

Renata B.
Renata B4 years ago

She should be punished for what she did as harshly as possible. There is no excuse and stupidity is never an excuse in front of the law. If she did this to a human, like a child, creating the same amount of suffering she would be punished. To be stupid would never be a justification if humans were involved, especially children. So be it.
I already find offensive dressing up animals: they are not caricatures of humans and they deserve respect, not be treated like dolls. Our dog has a coat and a mac, for when it is very cold outside. Also a tee-shirt to keep his anxiety down during fireworks. These things have a practical use that benefit the dog. All the rest is superfluous and inappropriate.

Jennifer LeBorgne

I don't know if anyone will read or even end up seeing this comment, but I have to ask: Was there another story about this this posted? I didn't even hear about this until recently. I know she was brought to court, but I don't know what happened. If anyone has anymore information, I will be grateful. I don't care if you just add a comment with nothing more than a link. Any information is better than none

Tammy Smith
T Zabel9 years ago

Cats are animals NOT dolls!

Elizabeth Mary S.

People should appreciate animals as they are and treat them accordingly. Dressing them up for their own protection, such as coats etc is okay but dressing them as little humans is not. Mutilating them by piecing their ears to to make money and selling them is barbaric.

Carmina R.
Carmina R.9 years ago

what the hell is wrong with people who put piercings in a animal?
when the animal said 'em that want a piercing?

Nina V.
Nina V.9 years ago

sick! how could someone stand to watch an animal get hurt?

Judeth B.
judeth B9 years ago


S R S.
Re S9 years ago

Incidentally, I wonder if those who purchased the mutilated kittens were identified. They certainly should be held legally responsible as well!

S R S.
Re S9 years ago

The author of this article cites legal cases of animal cruelty - but the fact that they're legal does not make them any less cruel! Rather than taking a leaf from the book of these behind-the-times legal allowances of violence, lawmakers should punish this senseless mutilation of kittens to the full extent.