Wednesday, 9 September 2015
Goths are known for their love of pets, exotic ones like lizards and snakes, and the more common such as dogs and cats. Here I will address a few issues of pet ownership for the alternative set.
Outfits: A lot of pets do not mind dressing up on occasion. For the everyday they could have a spiked collar, and occasionally dress up in a hat or coat if they are the kind of animal that does not mind. Be aware that others may judge or hurt your pet for looking different. On roaming animals such as cats I would not recommend symbols such as pentagrams that might lead others to hurt it, especially if it is a black cat. Remember not to put anything on your pet that can get caught, scare or hurt it. Sometimes animals are scared by flapping things like fake wings, or could be stabbed by anything with wire in it.
Hair: Dyeing your pets hair is fine as long as you are careful not to injure them. I don't think you should ever bleach a pet, think about how much bleach burns your own scalp! I would only use semi-permanent dyes with no bleach such as Manic Panic, Directions or Fudge, and be careful not to get in your pet's eyes. Some pet salons now offer hair dyeing treatments, but remember to make sure they are being careful with your pet and not just in it for the money! You can spike up your pet's hair with sugar water apparently, which is much safer for them than gel. Never use hairspray on them as you do not want them to inhale the fumes.
Nails: You can paint your dog's nails if you take care it does not lick them and do it in a well ventilated space. I would not recommend painting a cats nails, if it retracts them while still wet it could harm your pet. I have been told that the claw tips you can put onto your cats claws to stop it scratching furniture come in many colours and can be a good alternative.
Piercings: I have never heard of any alternative people who pierced their pets although there was that psycho lady who tried to sell pierced "Goth Cats" but she appears to be a whacko who did it for profit. Obviously there are hygiene issues, the issues of animals getting stuck on things and the fact it will be painful and confusing for them.
Tattoos: Yet again, I have never heard of any Goth tattooing their animal, although tattoos are sometimes used on stock animals such as racehorses. I do not believe any animal should be tattooed due to pain and danger of infection.
Makeup: While pet makeup does exist it is only used in grooming and show circles as far as I know. I have never heard of an alternative person who put makeup on their pets face. I think we all know the pain of eyeliner in our eyes too well to inflict it on our beloved pets! Goths may sometimes choose a pet whose markings naturally resemble makeup, however.
Poetry, writing and music: A lot of animals love their owner's voices so enjoy being read poetry. My bird loves Keats, Eliot, Byron, Coleridge and Blake. she also has her own particular music tastes, her favourite musician is claws down Agnes Obel. She has never seemed to mind loud or Gothic music, but if you play your pet music please remember they have more sensitive ears than us and keep the volume down.
Art: Does your pet show an interest in art? It might like to paint with you. Some people believe that animals enjoy a creative output. Put down a big piece of paper, give it some paint to dip its paws in. Who knows, you might have an artist on your hands. Remember to use non-toxic primary school paint, clean your dog after, and not get angry if you end up with painty footsteps all over the house and couch!
Religion: Some Pagan authors have said they have pets that seem to be naturally spiritual, but please remember that your pet may not understand any rituals you are carrying out and do not get mad if it interferes. I am told a cat or dog can walk in and out of a magical circle without breaking the circle as their energy is different to that of humans. Remember they may not understand altars (whether Pagan, Christian or otherwise) and if they knock things over they do not mean to do it. As with any pet, beware of leaving lit candles around lest your pet or house be set on fire.
Accessories and bedding: There are many Gothic accessories, beds and such available for Goth pets these days. Just remember to make sure that any parts such as studs, chains, etc are not likely to fall off and be swallowed by your pet!
A final note: Remember to make sure your pet does not take being a Goth too seriously and has other interests as well. Never let it become one of those UberGoth pets that no one can stand to be around. Part of being Goth is being able to see the lighter side of the dark side of life.