Is this video cat abuse or educational and fun? Please tell me.

Cat abuse or educational entertainment?

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

Smart, likeable Destin makes great videos on his Smarter Every Day Channel. He makes lots of money and entertains millions. The money he earns via YouTube advertising pays for his children’s education. It is all swell and dandy.

He makes a clever video which explains the complex physics behind the domestic cat’s self-righting process. Technically it is an excellent video. But, did he abuse his unflappable and phlegmatic cat who he held upside down and let go from about five and a half feet above the ground on an alleged 100 occasions to make the video?

Destin lets slip at the end of the video that it took a lot of time and effort to make it and that he dropped his cat 100 times. He immediately corrects himself and says 5 times but let’s be honest, it was around 100 times.

He took a great deal of trouble to make sure the landing area for his cat was soft and at the end of the video he is seen feeding and playing with his lovely cat. The other cat he handles is less unflappable and dislikes being handled and makes it known to Destin.

But – another but – no matter how hard to I try, I cannot escape the fact that this is an example of cat exploitation and mild cat abuse for the sole purpose of making money. The cat is a tool in the process. Yes, Destin has taken care to make it look less onerous for his cat. However, the process in inherently abusive of the cat.

Obviously the cat was unharmed. Cats self-right beautifully and there’s no problem there. Although the way he handles his cat before the drop looks a little disturbing. Most cats would not accept that. Cats can’t be asked for their consent so it is beholden on cat owners to be extra sensitive when they want to use their cats to make money from them.

Commenters have mentioned the possibility that the video is abusing the cat but there’s no huge outcry about cat abuse and cat welfare which is a recognition of the way Destin has handled the film making carefully in telling his audience through deeds and words that his cat was unharmed and that he was concerned about cat welfare.

To recap: this is cat abuse but it is a mild version of it. Destin is a smart guy and a great presenter. I just wish though he had resisted the temptation to use a cat in the video. Perhaps the subject matter is too intriguing to let go because this magical cat skill is “a major point of study in physics, robotics, space satellite control etc..And money nearly always wins over animal welfare.

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8 thoughts on “Is this video cat abuse or educational and fun? Please tell me.”

    • Yes, he could have done that. But he probably and correctly decided that he makes better videos! The trouble is he gently abused his cat in the process.

  1. I purposely watched it with audio off, partly because I was too lazy to stand up to turn my amplifier on, but it lent me a way to observe without being swayed by his vocal presentation. I understand the curiosity about the physics. The cat animal is amazing especially in this way. However I agree that it’s a little abusive, and it’s not like this hasn’t been studied before, and yes in slow motion. I remember seeing films of this when I was a kid. And just before I saw him point to it, I thought about the tail as counter-inertia; it’s very interesting, even fascinating. I didn’t understand the box… I’ll have to turn the sound on to hear if he explained that, but if he dropped this cat 100 times, maybe the cat got used to it, but that’s abusive and I bet the cat didn’t like it. Actually (thanks to slow motion) you can see it on the cat’s face immediately after he lets go, but you have to be able to discern a cat’s expressions which many people can’t do. Thanks to Michael for another great article.

    • I agree completely with your assessment. The video is very instructive and he explains using physics how the cat twists only enough to land upright. But it is impossible to escape the abuse element if one upholds high standards of cat care.


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