Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves: Duncan Birmingham Discusses the Suicidality of Cats and Dogs
Duncan Birmingham is the author of the blog turned book Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves. He lives in Los Angeles, where it's happy and sunshiny every single day and yet cats and dogs and guinea pigs live in silent agony.
"When I die of embarrassment, please don't bury me in this."
What is the leading cause of suicide among pets?
Without opposable thumbs to use a gun or tie a hangman's knot, pets don't have an easy time offing themselves. The lucky ones have owners into hard drugs or senile enough to not see them dart under their wheels. Research shows more and more suicidal pets are choosing obesity as a slow--but not completely joyless--way to end it all. I'm not saying that if your dog or cat loves to pig-out that means they hate your guts and are miserable... no, actually I am saying that.
Of all the pets you've seen, which was the most tortured or suicidal?
There's a fluffy white cat in a rainbow vest that sits forlornly on a windowsill somewhere in the West Village. I've posted various photos of "Rainbow Kitty" emailed to me from passersby on the street. This cat haunts my dreams. To stare into that fluffy puss is to see the face of unbearable ennui.
"I can't pick my nose or my owner, at least I can pick my owner's nose." (All photos courtesy of Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves. Captions by Duncan Birmingham.) "Have you been playing with my new bone? Cause it smells just like you"
True or False: Cats get way more upset than dogs when humans put them in funny outfits.
Truer words were never spoken. Dressing dogs is an art form; but dressing cats is an extreme sport.
"Just pull your pants up and leave the milkbones on the night stand"
"Look At This Fucking Hipster Dog"
Have you ever met a pet who LIKES being dressed in a funny outfit? (You know, the pet version of Stockholm Syndrome.)
When I started the site, I thought pet-dressers were worse than movie talkers and airplane farters combined and that I was doing a public service tackling a topic too controversial for PETA. But after a few months, I was ordering costumes online and staging my own 'dogs playing poker' photo shoots. It was a religious conversion. So maybe I'm deluding myself now, but I believe that many pets like it and not just the masochists.
"Shut off the camera and let's go Abu Ghraib on this pussy"