TikTok #catslapchallenge and other TikTok animal abuse videos

TikTok is gathering a reputation for animal abuse. The administrators of TikTok don’t consider slapping your cat a form of animal abuse. If you want to report animal abuse the videos will have to be very cruel and nasty. Anything less and they accept it.

I’m referring to a report on The Sun newspaper’s website about a sickening rise in animal abuse videos as cats are strangled, snapped and scared. These are nearly always acceptable to TikTok administrators. The call it ‘SickTok’ which I think is clever.

Woman slaps her cat for a video on TikTok

Woman slaps her cat for a video on TikTok. Viewers find it amusing and TikTok won’t take it down. Screenshot.

The Sun newspaper has some screenshots of these videos. In the first one a woman aggressively slapped her cat on the face and body. The cat cowered in pain according to the newspaper. They did not name the individual presumably to protect them. Why?

I went in search of these videos and quickly bumped into a group on TikTok called “#catslapchallenge”. There is a series of videos under that heading of domestic cats being provoked into defending themselves or running when slapped by their owners.

In the one that I show on this page the owner slaps their cat who runs away. And she continues to snap him. Frankly it’s quite disgusting.

Note: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

All of the others are along similar lines. The woman or man provokes a response from the cat by slapping them or hitting them or knocking them about the face. In the videos that I have seen the cat runs away ultimately. They might strike back with a feline slap.

It seems that the name of this group is about humans slapping cats and enjoying their reaction and not cats slapping humans or other cats. It is frankly bizarre. It cannot be beneficial to the relationship between cat and human for the ‘caregiver’ to slap their cat for a video camera with the objective of entertaining viewers on TikTok. But this is what is happening.

I thought about reporting the group to TikTok administrators but then decided it was quite pointless because, as mentioned, for cat abuse to qualify as being against TikTok policies it has to be brutally cruel such as mutilation. They set the bar so high it is all but impossible to be in violation of their animal abuse policies.

Clearly, The Sun journalist agreed with me. They mention, for example, two commenters whose response to viewing these sorts of abusive videos said: “l laughed so much” and “LMFAO snot flew, help!”. Clearly many people find them amusing. It depends on your attitude to animal welfare clearly and for some animal welfare is not on their agenda in any shape or form.

Animal charities don’t find them amusing. They say that they are normalising violence. The Sun found countless clips including one in which a distressed animal yelped after losing stability because slices of cheese were put onto its paws. I’ve seen Sellotape placed onto cat’s paws which they hate. It drives them nuts. This is seen as highly amusing to TikTok viewers.

The Sun approached TikTok for comments about the videos. Their spokesperson said that there was no place for this kind of behaviour on their platform. They did respond by taking down 2 out of 11 videos which The Sun had highlighted.

As I said, the TikTok administrators are not very sensitive to animal welfare. They’re more concerned about expanding their platform to compete against Facebook which they are, incidentally, doing successfully. They are eating into Facebook’s dominance and they will pursue that while disregarding videos which are morally and ethically unacceptable.

These videos would be in violation of Californias proposed law protecting cat and dog rights if and when it is passed – click this link to read about it.

This is a link to the cats slap challenge group to see for yourself.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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