Letter: Cruel to be `kind' to cats

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The Independent Online
Letter: Cruel to be `kind' to cats

Sir: Your juxtaposition of cat-related photographs by Richard Billingham depicting dysfunctional family life in Britain ("Son's stark portrait of a family at war", 25 August) vividly shows how this nation of alleged "animal lovers" often treats its pets.

One photo shows a cat in midair, presumably having been thrown across a room, while another shows the intimidating figure of Billingham's mother tenderly feeding a tiny kitten with a pipette.

Your article states: "the remaining impression is one of horror, squalor, but also occasional compassion". I assume this choice of photos was selected to portray this perception when, in fact, it illustrates exactly the opposite.

Last year the Cats Protection League rescued more than 67,000 homeless and abused cats and kittens - and it is certain that the vast majority of those started life like that kitten but ended up like that cat.

It is fortunate that these impressive photographs will go on public display at The Royal Academy on 18 September, right in the middle of our fifth National Cat Week (15-21 September). This unexpected but vivid portrayal of feline abuse is both timely and, unhappily, deadly accurate.

MIKE McCAWLEY

Chief Executive

The Cats Protection League

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