A cat found with purple painted paws wasn’t, unfortunately, painted that way to make some kind of fashion statement. Nor had he walked through a freshly painted area and gotten it on his fur. Megan Sorbara, founder of Naples Cat Alliance, said that cats with these markings actually have been through quite a heartbreaking situation and the colored paws are a clue to their past.
Cats with painted paws are likely to have been used as bait in a dogfighting ring, with their paws “color-coded” so that people could place bets on the color of cat that would be killed first.
This cat, who was rescued by Clewiston Animal Control and became known as Mr. Purple Paws, escaped a dogfighting scenario. The Naples Cat Alliance was sent photos of the cat and Sorbara agreed to take him in.
Sorbara shared his story on Facebook, writing: “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. 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.”
She added: “By all accounts he looks good, good weight, nice coat but the purple paws tell the story. Dog fighters use markers to color the white parts of cats and kittens so they can bet on which color will die first. They are ‘color-coded’ and then thrown to packs of dogs, while these sick barbarians place their bets. This is cruelty at its worst. It seems as Mr. Purple Paws was able to escape before he entered the ring. He was picked up as a stray by Clewiston Animal Control and transferred to us last night.”
Sorbara further noted: “I can only hope more were able to get away but my real hope is that the perpetrators of this heinous ‘sport’ be found and prosecuted… For all he has been through, he is very sweet, gentle and social. He will be ready for adoption this weekend.”
Mr. Purple Paws was friendly and playful with shelter workers, as Sorbara told I Heart Cats: “He let us pick him up and he is playing with toys. He is so sweet.”
He was given a bath and while the color faded from his paws, it didn’t completely wash off. He was put up for adoption and a week after his arrival, found a forever home.
Many commenters on social media were understandably infuriated about this animal’s treatment, with one person noting: “Anyone involved with any kind of animal fighting needs to be locked up for the rest of their lives. They enjoy the blood-sport of watching animals in pain and suffering and being absolutely terrified and struggling for their lives. How dare they hurt these poor innocent animals! This is sick, barbaric, and brutal. The fact that people enjoy this kind of murder for entertainment and amusement is absolutely horrifying. I feel so bad for these poor innocent animals.”