Feline charity International Cat Care (iCatCare) has created a YouTube campaign exposing the hidden distress behind the behaviour seen in ’funny’ online cat videos.
We all know that cats, as well as being beloved companions all over the world, make up some of the most popular content on the internet. On YouTube alone, funny cat videos have reached over 25 billion views – from cats being “lazy” and falling over, to being “grumpy” or aggressive, our perception of the behaviour of our feline friends gets a lot of laughs.
But the reality of what the cat is experiencing can be far from funny. Because part of a cat’s nature includes hiding vulnerability, the behaviour in these videos is often being misunderstood, and could actually be a sign of emotional distress or pain.
iCatCare want to help people better understand their cat’s behaviour, encourage respect for cats, and recognise when care is needed – something that’s more important than ever with the surge in cat adoption rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To coincide with their successful International Cat Day campaign, #BeCatCurious, International Cat Care has collaborated with FCB Health Europe to create a month-long awareness campaign this August. The core of the campaign is a series of YouTube pre-roll ads, targeted to keyword searches for cat videos. Each pre-roll initially appears to be a typical ‘funny’ cat video, but ends in a surprising, serious message that explains how the behaviour is actually a sign of a cat in distress. This twist challenges viewers to re-evaluate what they’ve just seen, and instead of laughing, try to get a better understanding of cats, and when they need care.
The campaign aims to encourage people to learn more about their cat’s behaviour, meet cats’ needs, and visit icatcare.org – a rich resource of expert knowledge and advice for cat owners, and veterinary and cat professionals. To support this goal, iCatCare has created illustrated infographic pages, focusing on ‘Emotional distress’ and ‘Handling and interactions‘. By giving clear, easy-to-follow guidance on how to recognise fear, anxiety and frustration in cats, and #BeCatFriendly when handling and interacting with them, iCatCare is helping more cats live happy, healthy lives in harmony with humans.
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I am the feline behaviour specialist at feline charity ‘International Cat Care’. We are about engaging, educating and empowering people throughout the world to improve the health and welfare of cats by sharing advice, training and passion.