This is Double Trouble, possibly one of the most famous cats from the science field, for all the wrong reasons.
Double Trouble was a friendly ginger tabby cat, but her loving and docile personality resulted in her being abused and exploited, subjected to brutal torture for months and months.
She was subjected to invasive surgeries on her head and ears, including her skull and brain.
The first operation she was subjected to was to drill a steel frame into her skull, to keep her head completely still while the scientists worked on her.
The second operation involved cutting into her skull and applying a toxic substance into her inner ears, to deafen her. They implanted electrical devices in her ears too, deep inside the canals.
What is perhaps most horrifying about this torturous procedure, is that Double Trouble was recorded actually waking up during the surgery, because her anaesthesia wore off. Vets say she would have woken and been in absolute agony and fear, while the scientists drilled into her skull and brain. Held by the metal frame and groggy from the anaesthesia, she would not have been able to move away or defend herself.
This wasn’t a lone example of negligence - another cat was documented waking up during a similar surgery.
After these gruesome procedures, Double Trouble was zipped up tight in a nylon bag to keep her still, and her head was bolted still, using the frame still attached to her skull. Completely immobile, scientists played a series of noises to her from different directions, sounds which likely hurt her fragile ears which were still sore from the procedures, and if she were able to hear at all, she would have been very frightened and in a lot of discomfort.
Before each session, the scientists starved Double Trouble, completely depriving her of food. This was because they could then use little pieces of food as a ‘reward’, to coerce her into cooperating during the procedures.
Her health deteriorated rapidly, caused by the cruelty and nature of these surgeries, and no doubt from lack of food and severe stress. She was documented to shiver and twitch, and clinical notes on her file say this was a ‘neurological sign’. Her face became partially paralysed, and the head wounds inflicted on her never healed. More than three months after scientists first noticed this, they finally made a note on her file: “open, moist, w/bloody purulent discharge, moderate swelling."
Double Trouble suffered an antibiotic-resistant infection as a result from her wounds, but rather than giving her proper veterinary treatment, scientists continued to use her for further experiments. Almost two months of misery, of fear, and of pain followed. One of the last entries on her file stated that she ‘appeared depressed’.
Eventually, the scientists concluded that she was too sick to be of any use to them, and that the experiments would stop. Rather than taking her to a vet so she could finally begin recovery, they opted to kill her, decapitating her head and removing her brain so they could dissect it.
These painful, horrifying experiments - on 30 cats per year - were not even to ‘improve human health’, as one might expect. They were actually carried out by the University of Winconsin-Madison to “keep up a productive publication record that ensures our constant funding.”
In other words, these trusting and helpless animals were tortured for profit. Double Trouble, and many cats like her, suffered abuse and terror at the hands of people she trusted because the establishment wanted to look as though they were doing useful and benficial things with their fund money.
No publication has even used this experiment. No peer-reviewed papers have mentioned the abuse Double Trouble suffered at the hands of this prestigious university. Their experiment had failed. She’d died for nothing.
Other experiments conducted at this university have caused abject suffering and abuse for animals. All cats profiled and checked out by undercover activists showed that they were suffering from chronic infection. The USDA has noted that some cats have died as a result of these infections, and one cat named NJ had to have an eye removed after an implanted metal coil caused severe infection in her face. The USDA fined the university after one cat named Broc was burned so badly by a heating pad that she required surgery.
Yet, the experiments continue. They have run up a total of more than $3 million in tax money, and the number climbs. The experimenter who is leading the groups has admitted: “our goal is not to produce a clinical treatment or a cure.”
Other researchers around the world are using non-animal methods to create results for similar procedures, with great success. Yet the University of Winconsin-Madison continue to perform these deadly, painful and useless experiments on dozens of cats per year.