Attack of the Housecat? Seriously?

By Heather Kilby


Photo courtesy of Flickr via Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy of Flickr via Creative Commons.

I cannot help but shake my head at the recent headlines about a housecat who supposedly held it’s owners hostage in their home in Oregon. Apparently the cat just went crazy and began to charge at the couple and their child. When the parents felt that it was life-threatening, they locked themselves in their bedroom alongside their pet dog. When the cat did not calm down, they called 911.

Did I mention this cat weighs 22 pounds? Headlines across the nation read “Housecat Attacks Baby, Traps Family in Bedroom.”

Get this. The couple wants to keep the dangerous feline, but get him some psychological help for his anger management issues.

Every news medium you can think of covered this story from NBC to Fox News Radio to The Guardian. Twitter blew up too and many were mocking the couple for their dramatization of the poor cat.

Was this necessary to report on across the nation? Are we running out of things to talk about? I sure hope not.

Now, I don’t know if I am more disturbed that these people are actually claiming this poor cat threatened their lives, or that the media is making this front page news? I think that the couple making these claims are frankly full of it and they exaggerated the situation and look absurd. Better yet, we have a lack of representation of The Paralympics, yet we are talking about an apparent people-killing house pet.

I am appalled.

Fox news radio described the 911 call and indeed you can hear the cat hissing and meowing and it does seem upset, but come on, I am not buying the extreme danger they portrayed (the couple and the media). I can understand if a mountain lion is on the loose in a residential neighborhood as being an important story to cover, but this has just completely blown my mind.

I am not a cat lover, in fact, I prefer dogs and have not owned a cat since I was a small child. I just see the reality of what people will do for their 15 minutes of fame and most importantly what the media will do to get a few Twitter posts, and it is pathetic.

We need to start covering topics that truly matter.


5 responses to “Attack of the Housecat? Seriously?

  1. You’re absolutely right. It seems that recently, serious news, and more importantly, news that should be in the spotlight, are being overshadowed by mere tabloid trivialities. As time goes on, major network news broadcasts are seeming more and more like an episode of Inside Edition or E! News Daily. When did entertainment news and viral fluff take the place of global issues, major political action, and major disasters? Does this speak loud and clear of the turn that our society has taken?

  2. Brian, I really think you’re right! It does seem to speak of a turn society has taken. It pointedly poses the question of what “real” news is, anymore. It seems to be harder and harder to determine what is newsworthy and what is useless trivia that should be relegated to tabloids and trashy TV shows. Journalism has always said that news should follow certain criteria, but as of late, it seems as though the lines between “novel” and “newsworthy” have become increasingly blurred.

  3. I think it does speak loud and clear of the turn our society has taken. As a journalism student, it depresses me that our media’s priorities are so obviously backwards at times (most of the time). I understand that this story was random and an attacking cat is something people will be interested in reading (sad) but the point is, it got way too much publicity – especially on front page news pages.

  4. I think we also have to keep in mind how much society likes a human interest story. I think it can be exhausting to only ever hear hard news, which is usually bad news. Could it not be argued that perhaps featuring a profile of a Paralympian would be considered human interest? And surely that would make the front page of the news.
    As a magazines major, I see value in stories that may seem goofy or a bit out there. If people were only interested in hard-hitting news stories, I wouldn’t have a job in the future! I agree that this story should have been reduced to a tweet by a soft-news source, but if people are talking about it and the media’s primary responsibility is to the reader, we are going to cater to what they want to read about and cover that story the way we would anything else.

  5. I know what you are saying. However, a human interest story that pulls at your heart, alerts you to a problem or issue, prompts cause for charity or reform, or makes you think is one thing. A human interest story that makes you roll your eyes and groan is quite another. That’s when it starts turning from news into tabloid fluff.

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