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I visited an animal shelter for my community service. I saw and learned things there that relate to our class discussion of inequality and social norms. Specifically, I want to talk about puppies and kittens being adopted more, and animals with “defects” being adopted less.
I’ll tell you about a beautiful, fluffy, young cat. This cat was young and short legged. She was beautiful with her soft fluffy gray fur and big blue eyes. When I saw her, I knew she would not have any trouble being adopted. There was a problem though, she had gotten outside and gotten muddy and clotted with dirt. A girl my age and her mother came in and decided to adopt the beautiful cat. They asked the woman at the front desk if they would clean the cat before they took her home. She agreed and sent me off to do the task.
The cat was very sweet and she was surprisingly patient with me washing, scrubbing, and clipping her. I dried her off and took her back to the front. The girl and her mother were very excited. They signed the papers and left. It did not take too long for them to realize there was something wrong with the cat. It turns out, the cat’s tail was broken and that’s why she had big clots of feces on her back side. When they brought the cat back, they were no longer ooh-ing and aah-ing at the beautiful little cat. They seemed disgusted with the cat and its deformity. Outraged that they adopted a defective cat, they wanted their money back.
Because the cat had a broken tail, it was deemed defective and put to sleep because the animal shelter would not pay to have its tail removed. Even though those people adopted the cat and took legal responsibility for its well-being, they sent it back because it was broken and they did not want to have to deal with it.
This cat was a minority of sorts. Originally, I thought it had a much higher likelihood of being adopted. In actuality, its physical condition made it “un-adoptable,” so it was put to sleep. Whether the cat had a say in it or not, the cat was not following the norm that was expected of it. It was a beautiful fluffy cat and it was expected to be perfect and flawless. When the adopters discovered the cat was injured and would require more care than they previously thought, they brought it back.
This cat was not treated equally to the other cats because it was not following the norm to be perfect when it was adopted. When a person adopts a cat, they have the expectation of it being sweet, already fixed, house trained, pretty, and healthy. This beautiful, sweet cat was put to sleep because it did not meet the expectations of the people who adopted it.
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