Cat (Small Animal) Mills: The Awful Truth

Any animal can be milled!

That is a truth that not everyone realizes. Sugar Gliders, Rats, Chinchillas, rabbits,  foxes, Ferrets and kittens. Any animal that you see in a pet store has (more than likely) been milled. 

Thankfully, there has been some (not enough) media attention surrounding puppy  mills. Most everyone has at least heard the term or seen a picture and realizes that it isn’t a good thing. But sadly, any animal that is sold in pet stores is usually milled. Just think about it- pet stores are always able to have more than enough of the animals listed  to sell to anyone that walks in their door. And why is that?  Since there is a demand, there will be an industry.

There will always be  “farmers” that make sure there are more than enough rats, hamsters and chinchillas to keep the cages in the pet stores full. But because no rodentmillone is speaking out against these types of mills, breeders are able to switch which species they are breeding rather easily. Many former puppy mill breeders have switched, and now breed a multitude of cats to public (and private) organizations. Much like the puppy mill industry, the breeder has absolutely no concern for the health of the animals, the conditions they live in, or the fate of the animals leaving the property.

Kitty mills are just another example of humanity’s “supreme reign” over the animal kingdom. We have the power to torture for profit, so we do. Most people don’t even think that kitty mills are that prevalent in this day and age because of the high number of cats in shelters. However, it is a huge problem.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, most cats are adopted “casually”. About 48% of human owned cats are taken in as strays, or found by someone who gives the kitten or cat to a friend, or is adopted directly from a rescue league. A much smaller percentage, 14%, adopts their cats from shelters, especially kill shelters. The remaining percentage goes directly to either breeders or pet stores. However, with all this kitty purchasing going on, 71% of all cats or kittens that find themselves in the unfortunate position of being in a shelter are euthanized before forever homes can be found. Only one out of every five kittens and cats are destined to live in one home for their lifetime. Most cats find themselves abandoned or left on the shelter doorstep when they are either too much responsibility or lose their cute little kitten appeal.

But it’s not just dogs and cats…. Again, every animal can (and is) milled. There are thousands of small animal mills in the United States, with millions of rats, mice, chinchillas and rabbits who are suffering for their short lives. These pets are not only sold to pet stores, but they are sold to testing facilities and bred at colleges for “scientific purposes”. Where do we draw the line? 

According to the HSUS:
There are Shocking Conditions in Small Animal Mills

Commercial pet dealers who breed or sell most warm-blooded animals to pet stores are required to be licensed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But The HSUS’ review of USDA inspection reports reveals that many of these breeders are guilty of repeated violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act for crowded and dirty conditions.

Inspection reports from 2004-2006 reveal Animal Welfare Act violations that include:

  • a cattery full of expired medications, which could leave the kittens exposed to deadly diseases
  • a small-animal dealer with over 2,000 hamsters and other small pets inside cages that had reportedly not been cleaned in weeks; sick hamsters being treated without a veterinary consult; holes in the facility walls, and accumulation of dust, cobwebs, and rodent droppings throughout the facility
  • a small-animal breeder with “dead hamsters found in different enclosures housing other hamsters,” as well as “green algae” growing in some of the animals’ water bottles
  • 11 guinea pigs housed inside a small tub only large enough for four
  • a ferret and chinchillas without enough room in their cages to stand up
  • rabbits in overcrowded enclosures less than 9 inches tall

But what can we do? As a group that is actively fighting puppy mills, we have a hard enough time getting people to care about dogs living their entire lives in cages… Letalone  getting people to care about rats. But education is so important. Getting the word out about ALL types of animal mills and raising awareness about the conditions in which these beating hearts are forced to live. 

So, we already know that pet overpopulation is a big problem in this country, and many other countries. But are there  really small animals in shelters waiting to be adopted? YES! There are! Please check or . Any animal that can be purchased, is usually dumped on local shelters, rescues or craigslist. So please, the next time you are looking to add ANY pet to your family, consider adoption first! 


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“Don’t Shop, Adopt!”

Sorry Brandi– Kitties get it too…

Many of my readers (my sister included) hate animal abuse, but they are more “cat people”… Just because all of my posts have been about dog abuse or puppy mills, doesn’t mean that cats don’t get a lot of the same treatment…  Those are just the cases that get televised. Sorry, Bran, but cats are just as tortured as dogs in this state. This post is going to be about our feline friends who have made some very evil enemies. All of these cases are TRUE and they occurred in IOWA.

Sioux City, Iowa… Woodbury County… October 6, 2010…

A fun-loving kitty named Charlie was found with an arrow coming out of his head. THANKFULLY he is alive! He only had to spend one night at the vet clinic. The arrow wasn’t very sharp, so it ricocheted against the skull… Still, his owner, Chelsie Campbell will never forget the day she saw her loved family member… It is a shame, although Charlie is okay, no one has been able to find out who did it 😦

Sioux City, Iowa… Woodbury County… May 21, 2010…

Stray kitty, Grace, was found by Office Jake Appel with a thee and a half-inch NAIL through her skull… MIRACULOUSLY, she lived! She was purring, happy, and walked right up to the officer. The nail was placed right between the cat’s eyes (which proves how purposeful this whole crime was), and was later safely removed by a vet…. No leads on who committed this terrible, terrible crime.


A cat had to be euthanized after he was found in his own driveway, paralyzed. This poor kitty suffered from severe spinal cord injury after being spun around carelessly by the tail. The kitty crawled all the way home, where he finally collapsed. His family had to put him to sleep because he was in too much pain… There are still no leads on this case.

Marshalltown, Iowa… Marshall County… April 30, 2008…

A stray cat was found shot to death by a BB gun. No arrests have been made and the case is STILL OPEN!

Little Sioux, Iowa… Harrison County… March 23, 2008…

A man was charged with animal torture after he murdered his roommate’s cat because he stepped in her fecal matter. The charges were later dropped.

Warren County, Iowa… Sept/Oct 2011

Three teens admitted to taking out their rifle and shooting what they “thought” was a feral cat. This cat turned out to belong to the family that lived next door and these boys had been in the house over 100 times. Upon realizing it was the neighbors cat, they freaked and dumped it on a dirt road (while it was still alive and fighting for its life). How did they get caught? They were bragging the next day at school and the cat belonged to a classmate. Needless to say charges were filed. If there can be any happy ending to this, I would say it is that the cat, Chester, found his way home a week later. Meowing at the back door and still suffering from the 3 gunshot wounds, the family rushed the cat to the vet and he should make it! The charges are still pending, but that poor kitty will never be the same 😦

These cases are all so sad to read about… My heart literally hurts for these animals. No one deserves to go through life thinking that they aren’t loved. The point of this post is to show everyone that we are all in this fight together. Dogs or cats… Men or women… We need to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Those animals that make our lives better, more whole.

Just remember, Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter!


Bailing out Benji