Elena Ivanickaya is bodybuilder and fitness expert from Ukraine. The model is well known for her style and enthusiasm for fitness. However, it’s her role as a cat owner which is bringing some surprising attention these days. The controversy began with a simple desire to include her cat in Ivanickaya’s own hobbies. The model wanted to make her sphynx cat as stylish as herself.

Ivanickaya decided that the best way to make her cat more fashionable was to get it tattooed. The cat in question is a hairless breed called a sphynx. The lack of hair on the cat’s body makes a tattoo more easily visible when compared to a standard breed. Lack of hair also makes the process of receiving a tattoo considerably easier.

The controversy stems from the fact that easier isn’t always the same thing as easy. When Ivanickaya began showing off pictures of her cat’s new tattoo the reactions weren’t as positive as she’d expected. Many animal activists outright stated that the model had subjected the cat to what amounts to the worst hours in his entire life. The question of whether or not this is the case has proven surprisingly difficult to answer. Ivanickaya herself claims that the procedure was performed only after consulting with a veterinarian. The veterinarian concluded that it was fine to give the tatoo and was even present during the procedure. Ivanickaya also points out that her cat had been rendered unconscious through use of general anesthesia in order to prevent any pain or stress. The model has also pointed out that her cat went right back to its usual behavior after it woke up. Pictures which seemingly prove this statement have also come to public attention. Of course there’s many other aspects which need to be considered before one draws any firm conclusions.

One of the most important points is that the tattoo was limited to a depth of 1 to 2 millimeters. By sticking to that depth the tattoo artist was able to ensure that only the cat’s top layer of skin was impacted by the process. Elena Ivanickaya continues to remain adamant that nothing about the process was cruel or harmful. The model has even stated that her cat has a happier life than the people accusing her of animal cruelty. There’s still quite a few questions which need to be answered before a firm conclusion can be drawn.

Both sides of the debate seem to have solid concerns. Enough that law enforcement hasn’t been able to offer a firm initial conclusion. Instead, this situation needs to work its way through the legal system. Many animal activists want Ivanickaya to be officially charged. The model is equally adamant that she’s simply acting as a loving pet owner. The claims are further complicated by the fact that Ivanickaya’s cat is itself something of a model. The sphynx cat even has an instagram account. Ivanickaya runs her cat’s instagram account to give people a look into her cat’s various activities in life.

In the end it’s clear that there aren’t any easy answers to be found. Each side of the debate has legitimate concerns. As such the only real option for people is to wait and see how the legal system rules in this particular case. Is Ivanickaya simply a loving pet owner who wanted to do something fun with her cat? Or is it, as many animal activists believe, an example of abuse. The only way to know is to keep an eye on the situation and see what the law has to say.