Fat cats are depreciating rapidly, it would seem. That is, if we’re to believe that anything beyond a publicity stunt is to blame for the price slashing we’ve just witnessed on cats up for adoption in a central Ohio animal shelter.

Yes, now that a shelter has taken it upon itself to go where no politically correct feline adoption advocate has ever dared to go, we’ll all now have to wonder: Just how much is a fat cat worth?

According to the Miami Herald Wire Service:

The Capital Area Humane Society says the fat cats are on sale this summer for $15 each or two for $20, instead of the usual $70 adoption price.

Here’s the story: The shelter decided it had too many overweight cats. Of its 55 cats, 9 tipped the scales — seriously so. And because everyone knows fat felines have more health problems than others, the shelter figured it would offer a discount for prospective adopters with a willingness to take on the fatties.

The good news is that the shelter is reportedly trying to trim the excess poundage on cats like Zebe, a 23-pound, 6-year-old shorthair. They’ve got volunteers trying to get the cats moving in an area with extra space to run.

Nonetheless, the question remains: How cool can it be to discount a cat (fat or not)? And do price cuts even work to influence adoption behavior?

Sure, it’s bringing attention to Zebe’s plight at the moment, but only because of the "I-can’t-believe-they-went-there" factor. But under less PR-intensive conditions, the price-cutting on a fat cat’s adoption fee would almost certainly recommend him/her not at all.

I mean, why would fifty dollars make a difference? And do they really think the fatties — who generally require more expensive veterinary care — are better off getting snapped up by owners with discount shopping mentalities? Or maybe the fifty bucks is an incentive designed to defray the cost of the first office visit fee (that’s about all the vet care $50 will buy you these days).

Now, before you chastise me for taking this subject too seriously, I do get that this is a PR stunt, a scheme cooked up to get cats into forever homes as fast as possible to help make room for so many others behind them. But can I help it if the commercialization of catdom — tongue-in-cheek thought it might be — still somehow manages to rub me the wrong way?

After musing on my uncharitable attitude towards a well-meaning shelter’s legitimate attempt to find homes for its wards, it finally came to me: I guess what bugs me most about the deep discounts on the plump ones is the whole commoditization angle. After all, treating cats like overstock inventory is just too close to how so many people really feel about them. Otherwise, why would they be in a shelter to begin with?

Dr. Patty Khuly

Pic of the day: The Fat Cat Sat by Becky E

 fat cat, cat adoption, shelter cats, calico cat