Stray cats are forced to endure countless hardships. As if having to search every day for their next meal wasn’t bad enough, some people target strays to inflict violence on them for their own sick purposes. It’s amazing what people will do to harmless animals all in the name of “enjoyment.”
It isn’t just stray animals who are at risk, either. In fact, sometimes domesticated cats—the ones we keep as pets—could be in danger, too. That’s exactly what happened to one cat whose entire life changed in the blink of an eye…
In 2013, Florida resident Megan Sorbara founded the non-profit charity Naples Cat Alliance. Since its inception, the NCA has worked to find homes for injured and neglected cats. Needless to say, Megan was used to seeing cats in pretty rough shape.
That’s why she was so confused when animal control officers presented her with a seemingly healthy and happy cat in 2017. Megan looked a little closer and felt her stomach drop: the cat’s paws were all painted purple.
Animal control officers picked up the stray male cat more than 200 miles away from Megan’s organization. However, they knew she had a history of treating even wild cats and she would be the best person to take care of him.
Megan’s was a no-kill shelter, so the officers knew the stray was in good hands. What they didn’t know was that the color on this cat’s paws (and also running down his head) held a sinister significance…
“Being in animal rescue, you hear and read about a lot of terrible things being done to poor innocent animals and then one day, the victim of one of these terrible things shows up at your door,” said Megan as she recalled the moment she saw the cat for the first time. She understood what the purple marks meant.
“I consider myself pretty hardened to a lot of stuff,” Megan wrote in a Facebook post. “I have dealt with a lot of injured, emaciated, neglected and abused animals, but this one really got to me. By all accounts he looks good,” but his purple paws, Megan said, told a different story.
The purple markings on this cat meant that it was going to be used in dog fighting. This vicious “sport,” wherein two dogs are forced to fight each other, is illegal in every state. But that doesn’t stop some cruel characters from running underground games for fun and profit…
In a dog fight, the two dogs go at each other until one of them flees the ring for safety, or worse still: until one of the dogs inside of the ring is dead. Sometimes, even if a dog survives but is considered the “loser,” his owner might decide to kill him anyway.
It’s not just dogs who are tortured in these so-called games—smaller animals suffer, too. Dog owners will often throw smaller animals, like rabbits, rodents, and even cats and kittens, at dogs to test their bloodlust, sacrificing the smaller animal in the process.
The saddest thing about these animals used as bait is that they are very often adopted out of shelters or given away by owners who think they are sending their pet off to a happy new life, when in fact they will most likely be tossed into an early grave.
The reason that this particular cat was marked in purple was for something sickening. Cats and kittens used as bait animals will often have parts of their coats colored so that those betting on the fight can easily identify the animal they’ve bet will be the first to die.
“They are ‘color-coded’ and then thrown to packs of dogs, while these sick barbarians place their bets,” said Megan in her post. She firmly believed that was what happened to the poor cat. What was more, she suspected the cat was stolen from his home and forced into his new and awful life.
“He could have been a cat who was owned, but they were just letting him free-roam,” Megan said. “I can’t imagine he was handled too nicely by these people when they were marking him. But I don’t really know what he was subjected to prior.”
As for how this cat, whom Megan called Mr. Purple Paws, managed to escape, she had a few ideas: “Somebody must have left a door open. Or maybe he got away during transport while they’re going wherever they go to have these fights in the middle of the night, or when they are picking up a new litter of fighting puppies.”
Whatever this cat went through certainly didn’t hurt his spirits. He was the brightest light at the NCA, and the entire staff adored him. “He’s just so sweet, rolling over on his back and giving head butts—just adorable,” said Megan.
“He doesn’t have a care in the world, he’s Mr. Happy,” Megan added. “He was playing with toys in his cage last night. You can just pick him up, carry him around on your shoulder—he likes to be held.”
With a personality like that, it wasn’t surprising that Mr. Purple Paws didn’t stay at the shelter for very long. Just one week after being admitted to NCA, the plucky kitty met his new adoptive dad!
While Mr. Purple Paws’s story had a happy ending, not every cat out there is so lucky. If you ever spot a stray cat colored the way Mr. Purple Paws was, make sure to contact your local animal rescue team immediately.
It might look like the animals in question have just had a child go at them with a magic marker, but the truth is much more upsetting than the antics of a very naughty toddler.
Dog fighting is dangerous, deadly, and totally illegal. But remember: it isn’t just dogs who are hurt by this practice either. Bait animals like this poor cat are also put in danger by this cruel practice!
Did you know that seeing a stray with markings like this one could have such a terrible meaning? This cat is lucky that things turned out the way that they did!
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