Why I Love Sea Kittens

The other day my local paper carried a story on PETA’s offer to the state of California to pay to keep a San Mateo county beach open  if the state would rename the beach “Sea Kitten Beach.”  The beach was on a list of state parks suggested for closing due to the never ending state budget crisis.  The state declined the offer.  State Parks Information Officer Sheryl Watson said “State park names are not for sale.”

PETA, in a delightful act of provocateurship, has suggested that fish be called “sea kittens.”  The only problem I see with the re-branding of fish is that the PETA term is too exclusive.  What about the fresh water members of the family including river, lake, pond, and stream kittens?  Another problem that’s more of a quibble is the catfish.  If we rename the Piscidae as a whole, will we have to call the catfish the “cat sea kitten?”  It also raises the fresh water question since catfish are found mostly in fresh and brackish water.

Below is a picture of a sea kitten whose ear has been damaged by brutal commercial sea kitten harvest techniques. Note the dual whiskers.


Stephen Colbert suggested a while back that other animals ought to be renamed as well.  He offered “sky nacho” for owl and “field potato” for cow among others.  I found his “land fish” for cat troubling, especially since the existence of of the lung sea kitten is well documented.  Their ability to get by, barely, on land is an established fact.

I don’t believe that PETA’s rebranding strategy will affect my diet.  I can’t afford to buy fish or a fishing license.  There are no free range cats in my neighborhood.  I’d love to spend a day at Sea Kitten Beach though.  Nothing like a whimsical outdoor experience.

It might be a good idea to give landmarks and public places more whimsical names regardless of whether or not there’s money involved.  The Sears Tower just got a new name.  Wouldn’t it have been better as the Titanic Tower of Tumescence than Willis Tower?  Come to think of it, “What You Talkin’ ’bout, Willis  Tower” has a nice ring too.

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Optimist who doesn't believe in progress. Class clown manque.

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