Cat Clickbait

Cat clickbait is a title to an article which attracts people to investigate it because it sounds interesting. The title might not properly reflect the true facts of the matter and the article may be short or the title may be heading a forum item. The clickbait title might be accidental or deliberate.

Pumpkin

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Clickbait gets the juices going. It is like bees to the honeypot or fish to the bait. Of course ‘clickbait’ does not have to only apply to cat articles.

A good example is on Reddit. The headline for one long thread of comments (488 comments) was: “Dumped at a shelter after 18 years because his family “didn’t want cat hair anymore,’ now he lives in a sanctuary. Welcome, Pumpkin!

The alternative story: “Meet the newest member of our sanctuary, 17 year old Pumpkin!” got 24 comments.

The clickbait title is self-explanatory. It implies that a person decided that after 18 years of looking after the family cat they’d get rid of him because they were sick and tired of cat hair all over the home. But, it is also true if you read it to mean something else. It is a question of interpretation. It could mean that the cat’s owner died and the family then decided to take the cat to a shelter because they don’t like cat hair.

Both titles were written by the same author, NTX_cat_rescue.

As one comment states:

“No the title is pure truth. He WAS dumped at a kill shelter for the reasons listed. His owner died, remaining family didn’t want cat hair.”

And another:

“It doesn’t make me a liar or a deceitful person because I didn’t include every damn detail in the title.”

The full story, although unclear is different to what one envisaged. The sanctuary concerned, NTX_cat_recue, explains it thus:

“We don’t really know his backstory, only bits and pieces. We know that his elderly owner died, and that the surviving family didn’t want the responsibility or cat hair, as they stated. They did not leave a name when dropping him off at a kill shelter, so Pumpkin is the name the staff gave him. It fits. He is in poor health, he is depressed, but that’s one of those things we deal with every single day, so we hope for the best and love them for the time they have left.”

As the shelter goes on to explain, it is not a good idea to drop an animal at a shelter for reasons of cat hair especially if the cat is 17-years-of-age.  Here is the shelter’s comment on Reddit:

“In Texas, it’s not at all reasonable to drop an animal at a shelter. Owner surrenders, such as Pumpkin, are the first to be EU’d, many the same day as they’re dropped off! Seniors almost never make it out alive, dropping it at a kill shelter is basically saying “here, you kill it so I don’t have to.” Even if you inherit an animal you don’t want or can’t care for, it’s still heartless to not even try other options.

Also, it’s unknown whether one member of a household died, and they gave up the cat, or a single person died. They didn’t even give the shelter his name!

Sorry you’re all upset about the title.”

What was happening here is this in my opinion:

The shelter wrote the ‘clickbait’ title to get attention to sell the idea that it is not a good idea to abandon a cat at a shelter for such frivolous reasons because euthanasia might follow. It was not intended to mislead. It just so happened that the title could be interpreted in a different way which was sensationalistic.

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