When does celebrating the cat become cat exploitation? It is a difficult subject and believe me I like fun and larking around. The answer is in (a) the purpose behind the person’s creation – is the real purpose financial gain or personal recognition for the person? And (b) what the cat does – is the cat forced or tricked, in some way, to do something unnatural or something he does not want to do or would not do when expressing normal behaviour? If the answer to both questions is “yes” then it is exploitation.
In cat exploitation, we are nearly always referring to a video or a photograph. It is hard to exploit a cat in words alone. This is because in videos and photographs something has to be done to or with the cat to make the imagery. Words use imagination. There are no physical actions.
The first problem is that some people won’t understand what exploiting the cat means because they believe consciously or subconsciously that cats are for the benefit of people and their use. With that mentality it is impossible to exploit a cat.
The exploitation of animals can take many forms some of which are very subtle. It can look perfectly innocent and just fun, but is it? Is the video below celebrating the cat and a just a bit of fun or is it exploiting the cat for financial gain? Perhaps it is somewhere in the middle? Below the video I state why I believe it is exploitation.
This person who runs the YouTube channel (website) where you find this video promises to make a video every Tuesday and Friday. This is what he or she states:
“Watch new video every Tuesday and Friday! To use this video in a commercial player, advertising or in broadcasts, please email Viral Spiral (firstname.lastname@example.org) “
His purpose is commercial because (a) his videos have Google adverts on them to make money and (b) the cats are being teased to “perform” and (c) he makes the videos regularly like a job or business. For these reasons I argue that this person is exploiting his cats.
Another version of exploitation dressed up as fun is putting cats in a woman’s tights (see picture heading article). The person who has started this mini-craze has a “Cats Wearing Tights” Facebook page and states:
“The page went from around 400 likes to 100,000 likes in about 48 hours.”
He goes on to say that he gets the tights on his cats this way:
“My favourite though is giving your cat lots of cuddles and lulling it into a false sense of security……subtly slide some tights onto them then take a picture before they quite realise what is going on.”
If I apply my test of (a) purpose and (b) what the cat has to do, I have to conclude that this is also exploitation.
The purpose is to achieve some sort of celebrity status for the person and the cat has to do something unnatural. I realise it is not a big deal but it is a minor form of cat exploitation.
What is a good example of celebrating the cat? There are thousands of examples on PoC. All are equally good. Marc’s memorial to Red and the pages on Chester and Dylan are classics but as I state there are many equally good examples.
The vast majority of people won’t understand what I am stating. I accept that.