Kim Kardashian West is many things—a reality TV icon, multimillionaire entrepreneur, prison reform activist, aspiring lawyer—but animal lover is nowhere on the list. A recent episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians showed the mother of four dealing with the inconvenience of the death of her daughter North’s beloved hamster. The hamster, complete with a pink castle cage, was a gift from Aunt Khloé, who’d failed to impress her niece with the special day of limousine rides and ice cream she planned. The only thing that would make North happy was a tiny rodent, much to her mother’s chagrin.
Disaster soon struck when one of Kim’s assistants delivered the grim news that the hamster, named Blacktail, hadn’t moved in a while. “It’s, like, stiff,” the assistant said monotonously, urging his boss to check on Blacktail. With the swish of a sleek black ponytail, Kim stood up from the kitchen table, sighing, “I don’t have time for a dead hamster.” She spent the rest of the episode fluctuating between anger toward her sister for getting North a pet without permission and emotional distress over how to teach her daughter about the circle of life.
Kim decided instead to take the classic lie-to-your-children-to-protect-them route and find an identical replacement. North’s pet was a fancy bear hamster (which I learned today is the actual name of a hamster breed and not something made up by a child), dubbed the “unicorn of hamsters” by Khloé because of its rare pedigree. They found a match, successfully hoodwinked a 6-year-old, and learned they’ve been spelling “hamster” wrong their whole lives. (Hint: there is no ‘p’.)
Given the family’s track record with pets, it is not all that surprising that poor Blacktail met an early end. There have been numerous articles over the years outlining the lengthy list of Kardashian-Jenner pets, including several who mysteriously disappeared after a few Instagram posts or cameos on the show.
Back in 2016, Kim herself even made a post on her now-nonexistent app, a sort of “where are they now” piece detailing the fates of all of the family’s pets—or at least the ones she could remember. She was careful to clarify that she remembered “almost” all of them, meaning there have been so many that some have been forgotten. Perhaps she was going for transparency, but she mostly just succeeded at raising eyebrows over just how many pets they have seemingly abandoned. (The Kardashian team did not respond to requests for comment.)
Based on Kim’s list, Keeping Up with the Kardashians clips, and years of Snapchat stories and Instagram posts, I was able to determine that since Kardashian clan hurtled into the spotlight just over a decade ago, they have owned approximately 40 pets. The extensive menagerie has included nearly two dozen dogs, a couple of cats, chickens, a peacock, and maybe a pig. According to a KUWTK deleted scene, Wilbur the teacup pig was a gift from Kris to her favorite and youngest daughter, Kylie. It is unclear if she kept Wilbur, but he did go on to be a Vine star when the hilarious clip of the makeup mogul mistaking him for a chicken went viral.
The Wilbur anecdote is one of the more harmless of the unsolved pet mysteries, since it was never officially confirmed whether or not he became a permanent part of the family. In addition to Blacktail, at least three other family pets have died. Kim’s white Persian kitten Mercy, a gift from Kanye West, died unexpectedly in 2012 of something Kim vaguely described as a “cancer-like virus.” Dolce the Chihuahua, one of the OG Kar-Jenner pets, was killed by a coyote. He is now immortalized in the form of a beige Kylie Cosmetics lip kit bearing his name.
Some of the dogs that are still alive became casualties of break-ups, lost in “custody” disputes or given away after the relationships went south. And then there are the ones who vanished with no explanation: bunnies who haven’t been featured on Instagram in years, a dog who seemed to exist solely as a prop in sponsored ads for the Wag dog-walking app.
It should be noted that Kylie Jenner seems to be the only devoted pet parent of the bunch, recently confirming on Twitter that she still owns all of her pets and sharing videos of them playing with her 1-year-old daughter Stormi.
Disposing of pets as if they are material goods, like Kourtney giving away her pricey Bengal kitten when she gave birth to Reign or Kendall presumably parting with her Great Dane puppy because it pooped too much, is not entirely off-brand for a family as wealthy as the Kardashians. It should not have come as a surprise to Kris that Kendall, the world’s highest-paid supermodel, did not want to pick up giant dog turds. And the KUWTK producers were really underestimating their viewers when they expected us to believe that Kris, all-powerful momager that she may be, donned rubber cleaning gloves and scrubbed the black-and-white tile floor of her laundry room when Kendall wouldn’t do it.
Not everyone has to be a pet person. So, given their pristine houses full of expensive white furniture and their jet-setting schedules of modelling gigs, meetings with the president, and vacations with baby daddies, why do the Kardashian-Jenners keep trying to convince the world that they are?