One thing we can be sure of is that there’s always plenty of stupid to go around. This is particularly true when a sensation-seeking news media meets people with an agenda and an ability to spit out sound bites without missing a beat. Here are the five stories that had me doing some serious “eye aerobics.”
Charley Gee stopped at the grocery store on the way home from work and bought his wife a bouquet of beautiful lilies. Unfortunately, their cat, Boogaloo, ate the lilies, resulting in a trip to the emergency vet and several days of treatment, including dialysis.
Gee and his wife decided to sue the retailer and the flower distributor for the costs of Boogaloo’s treatment, because the warning label on the lilies didn’t include information about feline toxicity. How were they possibly to know? No major animal organizations have listings of toxic plants on their websites! Oh, wait …
Every summer, the media clock seems to tick around to "EVERYBODY FREAK OUT ABOUT CATS BECAUSE OMG TOXOPLASMOSIS!" month, and this summer was no different. In July, scientists released a breathless report concluding that toxoplasmosis is a huge public health threat and that cats are the No. 1 culprit in this epidemic of horrific doom. And as usual, the so-called science correspondents reporting on this study drank the Kool-Aid and the story went worldwide.
In an April 2013 Science Daily article, University of Iowa animal sciences researcher Kelly Swanson, in cooperation with scientists at The Nutro Co., raised "a number of important questions on the sustainability of pet ownership." Some of those questions included, "Why feed cats meat when we can give them cheap GMO-laced vegetable proteins like soy instead?" Geez, I dunno … maybe because cats are obligate carnivores?
Once upon a time, PETA was a useful advocacy organization that prompted huge strides in the fight against animal cruelty and served as a resource for people who wanted to become vegan or vegetarian. But that organization jumped the shark a long time ago and is now doing things like killing about 97 percent of the animals that come into its Virginia "shelter" and making ad campaigns focused on fat shaming and exploitation of women. Nice work, guys. Keep it classy!
New Zealand zillionaire Gareth Morgan started a campaign to ban cats in his home country of New Zealand because, he alleges, cats are responsible for the destruction of native birds. Unfortunately, that didn’t go over too well with his fellow Kiwis because New Zealand is the cat loving-est country in the developed world, with almost half of households owning at least one cat. When people all around the world began criticizing Morgan and the shoddy science he used to justify his cat ban movement, Morgan issued a classic non-apology in the form of a 1,200-word tantrum — er, I mean op-ed — in the New Zealand Herald.
Did I miss your favorite eye roll-worthy cat news story? Tell me in the comments.
About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.