Contributing editor Steve
Dale is a certified animal
behavior consultant. He
is heard on WGN Radio,
Chicago; host of the
Steve Dale’s Pet World; and author of
the e-book Good Cat, among others. He’s
a founder of the CATalyst Council and
serves on the boards of the Winn Feline
Foundation and Tree House Humane
Society, Chicago. Check out his blog/
website at stevedale.tv.
said Will Braden, creator of Henri
Le Chat Noir. “Henri happened
organically. When people plan for
their cats to be stars, they nearly
Why did Henri appeal? “He’s
kind of larger than life,” Will said.
“And everyone with a cat, I think,
gives their cat a larger-than-life
persona. Or maybe cats give
themselves a larger-than-life per-
sona.” He also pointed out that
for every one cat video that gets
lots of hits there are 100 or more
that do not.
It’s amazing how cat videos
have made an impact. “Cat videos have played a significant
role for animal welfare,” said
Jenny Schlueter, development
director at Tree House Humane
Society in Chicago.
“The overwhelming majority of
cat videos offer people previously
unaware of the variety of feline
personalities of all the possibilities
and how wonderfully unique cats
are,” Bill said.
The videos fly in the face of
old stereotypes of fat, finicky, and
generally blasé cats, which thrills
Jenny. “I think there are many
reasons why cat adoptions are up
in many places. People watch a
video and say, ‘Boy, I want a cat
Not all cat videos are clearly a
PR vehicle for cats, however. Like
many other topics, cats do have
their “haters.” And the detrac-
tors create videos, too.
There are also random
and unpredictable cat crazes
that pop up, like filming cats
jumping out of their skin when
introduced to cucumbers.
Many videos of cats jumping
toward the sky when a cucumber
was introduced have gone viral.
“As concerned as I am about
animal welfare, sometimes you
just have to smile and roll with
it,” Jenny said. “I’m not sure any
permanent damage was done to
these cats. And besides — I don’t
even believe this is a real thing. Or
maybe it’s a fluke that happened
with some cats.”
When I tried the cucumber bit
with our cat, Roxy, she certainly
noticed the novel item; her tail
twitched twice. That’s it. Any anx-
iety ended awfully fast. She went
on eating, then walked right past
the cucumber as if it weren’t there.
Cats don’t currently receive
medical care equal to their canine
cousins (as cats are far less likely
to visit the veterinarian compared
to dogs), they are more often
given up to shelters than dogs, and
less often adopted from shelters
than dogs. By the numbers, cats
are actually more popular than
dogs, but cats have often been
Maybe the cat videos — a craze
that doesn’t seem to be fading
anytime soon — will continue to
garner more positive attention for
cats, and ultimately they will benefit in ways that really matter.
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