Netizens were appalled to find out a man in Ipoh was adopting kittens in order to feed them to his pet snake and it triggered a debate about the moral ethics surrounding it.
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Recently, a man in Ipoh, allegedly known as Syazuan, made a lot of pet owners, especially cat lovers, uneasy when it was suggested that the man was adopting kittens in order to feed his pet Albino snake named Helga.
What truly disturbed netizens was when the man admitted he liked hearing the bones of the kittens crunching when the pet snake begins its feast.
Some Twitter users caught wind of his post and decided to warn others not to give away their kittens to the man.
The revelation also made food influencer Ceddy Ang uneasy as a pet owner. Ceddy posted a screenshot of Syazuan’s tweet in which Syazuan claimed he liked hearing the meows of dying kittens fade away.
Maybe you’re not informed of his subsequent replies but as a pet owner, this chills down my spine. pic.twitter.com/zo0RRTZjro— Ceddy (@CeddyOrNot) February 7, 2023
Is it true or an attention-seeking post?
Most, if not all, pet owners are proud to show off their furkids to anyone who would listen. This means it’s not a surprise to see pet owners posting tons of pictures of their pets on their social media platforms.
Journalist Tashny Sukumaran dived through Syazuan’s social media platforms and found no pictures of snakes.
Insta profile which is now private. Didn’t see any snakes on the profile. pic.twitter.com/e0pqUukZ9J— Tashny Sukumaran (@tashny) February 7, 2023
It’s quite likely he doesn’t have a snake and just does this for the attention. If he likes attention so much then let him enjoy the spotlight.— Tashny Sukumaran (@tashny) February 7, 2023
Due to the results of her find, she believes Syazuan never had a pet snake and could be making a controversial post just for clout and attention.
This answer might bring a bit of comfort to some who were disturbed by the tweets demonstrating the possible level of animal cruelty in the country.
Due to the backlash, Syazuan seems to have retreated into the dark corner of the internet and has deleted or made his social media accounts private.
Is it ethical to feed kittens to pet snakes?
The topic of keeping a carnivorous pet alive such as a snake has always been a topic of contention among pet lovers across the globe.
Often, the difficult feeling is centred on the level of morality involved to feed the carnivorous pet because it may involve pet owners killing another animal themselves.
A research paper by Harold A. Herzog Jr pointed out that feeding pets, whether they are cats or snakes, is actually littered with ethical ambiguities.
Cats are natural predators and when left on their own, they could kill a lot of animals too.
In a study of the feeding ecology of cats in England, it’s estimated that 5 million domestic cats kill at least 70 million small animals per year, 20 million of which are birds.
This is on top of cat owners feeding their felines with cat food that is also made out of chopped animal meat.
On the other hand, snakes such as boa constrictors have a low metabolism which means they do not eat very much. They can even go for months without food and suffer no adverse health effects from it.
When compared to cats, snakes seem to be killing a lot fewer animals.
So why is there an uproar and the zeal to protect kittens? It may probably be due to psychology.
Based on several studies, our likes and dislikes for animals depend on the animal’s aesthetics to us.
In this case, cats and kittens definitely rank favourably higher than snakes to most of the population.
In Syazuan’s case, it feels morally wrong of him to ‘trick’ other pet owners into giving up their pets for adoption only to become snake food.
However, there’s no law saying feeding cats to snakes is illegal. After all, not feeding a pet snake its proper diet is also “morally” wrong.
As always when it comes to topics like these, the argument can go in circles with no true right or true wrong answers. At best, it’s a grey area even if some of us don’t like it.
Herzog’s research paper ‘Conflicts of interests: Kittens and boa constrictors, pets and research’ can be read in full here.