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Pet plastic surgery sparks debate online

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Seven-year-old male German shepherd "Kinjiro" (C), flanked by veterinarian and aid worker, lies on a operating table as he gives blood at Japan Animal Referral Medical Center (JARMeC) in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo June 16, 2009. REUTERS/Issei Kato

NANJING (Xinhua) – Double eyelid surgeries are not uncommon these days, but what if they were for pet cats?

A cat owner in Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, caused a stir online after posing pictures of his pet cat, the British Shorthair, recovering from a double eyelid surgery. The owner claimed to have spent 10,000 yuan (about 1,497 US dollars) on the cosmetic surgery to make the cat “look prettier”.

In the pictures, the cat appears to have larger eyes but looks listless, its eyes still swollen due to stitches.

The story has gone viral on microblog Sina Weibo, and a post about it has drawn more than 7,500 comments.

While some supported the owner for having the right to make their pet look more beautiful, many netizens chastised the owner for being selfish and ignoring the feelings of pets.

“Being natural is the best,” read a comment on Weibo. “The operation is absolutely damaging to the cat physically and emotionally.”

Pet plastic surgery operations, available in some pet hospitals in China, includes double eyelids, ear cutting and face-lifting, among others, according to an animal doctor with a pet shop in Nanjing.

“Some pet dogs that attend beauty pageants come here to have plastic surgery,” the doctor said, adding that risks did exist in the operations, such as stressful reactions to anaesthesia.

“But some pets go through such operations due to health problems,” the doctor added.

Many animal doctors say if not for health problems, they boycott all surgeries that go against animal welfare.

China’s pet industry is booming. According to a report published by Goumin, an online pet forum, there were 73.6 million Chinese pet owners last year, raising a total of 91.5 million dogs and cats, the majority of the pets.

The country’s dog and cat owners spent over 5,000 yuan per pet in 2018, an increase of 15 percent from the previous year, the report said.

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