This makes slightly uncomfortable viewing if you are genuinely concerned about animal AND infant welfare. Tammy Hembrow has received a lot of negative publicity through mainstream online news media such as the Daily Mail because she allowed her nine-month-old daughter Posy to crawl over, in an uncomfortable way, the family’s Ragdoll cat, Bubbles.
The criticism of Tammy is because she seems to have willingly videoed her daughter’s rough interaction with Bubbles while making no attempt to protect Bubbles or Posy, or correct her. She could have had the camera on a tripod which would have freed up her hands and arms to correct and protect.
Although, there is a constant demand on social media influencers to turn out videos to entertain the millions of followers. Hembrow is an Australian fitness model, Instagram Influencer, and entrepreneur.
As mentioned, the video makes uncomfortable viewing for a cat lover and this is not just about Bubbles’ welfare. This is about the child’s welfare as well. It is perhaps fortunate that the claim that Ragdoll cats are very laid back appears to be true in this instance.
Bubbles accepted the rough handling as if it was all normal. Perhaps it was ‘normal’ as it might have happened before. A different cat breed or a different individual cat might have responded differently. This was a mini-disaster waiting to happen because the cat could have reacted aggressively and scratched and/or bitten Posy.
And when that happens anything can happen afterwards, even relinquishing the cat to a shelter or giving the cat away to somebody else. I don’t think that there are many Ragdoll cats in shelters though!
The strong reaction by some of Tammy’s 16.2 million followers resulted in her removing the video which I believe was on one of her Instagram pages. It is still available for viewing on Twitter and other media outlets because you can download Twitter videos and upload them to your TikTok page.
Some of the criticism was quite strong. For example, one follower said: “This is disgusting someone please report to RSPCA”.
And another said: “OMG!!! This was so hard to watch.”
And Peta Young said: “The cat is going to scratch the baby’s eyes out and then she will blame the cat.”
Here’s one more for the record!
“This made me teary. Those poor kitties, that should have been stopped instantly. Also, this may need a trigger warning. It was really horrific to see (absolutely fine if you think not but as an animal lover, that was so hard to view). [I have gently edited the comment to make it a little more grammatically accurate!]
At one stage Posy pushes down on Bubbles quite hard (see picture) and you wonder if there will be a reaction. I have a feeling that Bubbles really likes Posy and that they get on very well. There are some really nice relationships between infants and cats. This may have tempered her reaction to the mild, inadvertent abuse.
Video could have been improved if it was educational
Is it possible to train a child of this age to handle the family cat properly? I think it probably is. My personal thought is that Tammy’s video might have been a lot better and popular if she had taken the opportunity to gently explain to Posy how to interact with Bubbles in a nice way. She would have garnered praise rather than a stream of criticisms.
Tammy could respond to the criticism by making a video on how a child should handle a cat. But I don’t think she minds the negative PR that much because as I said she gets publicity.
She might have been genuinely concerned about somebody telephoning the RSPCA but it isn’t that bad. The biggest problem was Bubbles’ reaction and harm to her child.
It might not be worth saying it but parents need to prepare their infants before they interact with the family cat to ensure that they handle the cat appropriately.
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