We hate to be the bearers of bad news. But some bad news really needs to be heard. This is one of those times.
Cats have skyrocketed in popularity over recent years thanks in part to the number of cat videos circulating the internet. Both we and you would love it if all those videos were having a positive effect on the lives of cats. But sadly, we have to report the opposite.
Today we found this little cat in a nearby street left inside a box.
Of course we took the cat in and have given it a loving home. But then we discovered who had owned the cat and why they had taken it in.
For legal reasons we can’t name the person who abandoned this cat. But we can say this: It was an individual who had purchased a cat in the hopes of creating Youtube videos to make money. They had tried to get the cat to do all sorts of dangerous things.
- The cat had been forced to do the following:
- Jump off high places (which could easily lead to injury)
- Perform all sorts of hazardous stunts
- Be introduced to dogs much larger than it in order to scare the cat, which the owner thought would look “Cute”
Being a good cat led to abandonment
The cat had done what the owner wanted. But apparently the owner didn’t get enough Youtube hits to make the cat “Profitable.” In other words: The owner had taken the cat in only as a way to try and make money online, and when it had failed, the owner threw the cat out.
We would love to tell you that this is an isolated incident. But this is far from the truth.
We called a veterinary clinic to ask about this incident. The vet we interviewed wished to remain unnamed, but she did kindly respond to our questions.
“… People have started adopting cats only because they want to make money on youtube…”
“Over the past year we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of people adopting or buying cats” she says. “And at the same, we’ve seen a significant rise in the number of abandoned cats.” Our vet specialist says that there is a direct correlation between the rises in cats being abandoned and the current cat video trend. “The problem is that people have come to look at cats as mere entertainment. In my opinion that’s wrong. Cats, and all animals, need and deserve love and respect. But something very strange has happened over the past few years. It’s become possible for people to make money by endangering cats.”
Youtube makes it easy for scrupulous individuals to upload videos of cats and make money from online advertising. “That creates a situation where you have people who don’t even care about cats at all adopting or buying them as some sort of ‘Get rich quick’ scheme.”
Note that the people who upload the videos rarely do actually get rich, but Youtube creates the illusion that such a thing is possible. “They think they can do it,” our expert says. “And so they get animals only for the purpose of creating these videos. Then they realise that cats don’t naturally jump off of high places that often, and that they don’t naturally fight other animals that often. So the owner goes ahead and puts the cat on a high fence, or puts the cat directly in front of a Rottweiler. It’s torture done for entertainment in the hope of making money.”
What we can do to help cats out
I asked our veterinary expert what we can do to help out in this situation. Here’s the advice she gave:
Step 1) Be aware: “You have to be aware that many of those cat videos people put up are forced. The carts have been forcefully put in dangerous positions just for entertainment.”
Step 2) Watch the cat closely: “There are signs that the cat is unhappy or scared,” says our expert. “A raised and bristle tail shows fear, for instance. So try to watch the cat and ask yourself, is the cat happy? Is it scared? Is this a video we should be supporting?”
Step 3) Question intention: “Try to be mindful of the owner’s intentions. For instance, let’s say that someone is filming a scene in which a cat is confronted by a large and aggressive dog. Clearly, if the owner doesn’t immediately put the camera down and save the cat, they’re not a very good cat owner! Ask yourself: Is the person who is filming this cat doing everything in their power to ensure its safety?”
Step 4) Report bad videos: The major websites like Youtube give you the ability to report abusive videos. If you think a cat is being abused, report it. Don’t even question it. Even if you might be wrong, it is still better to report the video than to ignore it.
“There isn’t anything wrong with enjoying a cat video,” our expert says. “But the priority should always be the cat’s happiness and safety. That’s the most important thing. Love the animals, and do your part to ensure their safety and happiness.”
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