Cats of Netflix (Part 1) – Don’t F**k With Cats
By now, I think it’s safe to say we’re all sick of this whole virus situation. There’s the queueing for basic things like bread and milk, the toilet paper jokes plastered over Facebook, and to top it all off, the Tik Tok videos. Fortunately, however, there’s an escape for many that never gets old…
Cat videos. In 2015, there were more than 2 million of them on YouTube, with an average of 12,000 views each – higher than any other type of YouTube content. Over 30 million Google searches every month use the term “cat”. The Facebook page, “I Love Cats” has over a million followers. Cats alone drive 15% of all internet traffic.
Yes, they may not quite rule the world the way that dogs do, but you get the idea. And over the past few months, the streaming giant, Netflix, has entered this menagerie with two more.
For those expecting Tiger King, no. I’m talking about the domesticated balls of feel-good fluff that are behind this online obsession. The sort that are little and cute and fascinating, because – although David Attenborough could probably explain it – we never do quite know what’s going on in their heads.
So, are these two shows worth putting your phone down for?
In this first part, we start with a three-episode series that was released in December 2018, called “Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer”. I made the mistake of watching it before bed.
I don’t want to spoil it too much, but to sum it up, it’s a true story about a guy who posts videos of himself on YouTube killing kittens. Obviously, this is met with outrage, such that a group of Facebookers led by “Baudi Moovan” and “John Green” (aliases) set out on a hunt. You can largely get away with anything online, they say, except when it comes to cats. Or to quote Baudi in her true Las Vegas style, “Rule Zero: don’t f**k with cats.”
The group fears that a person like that can only be a serial killer lying in wait, and sure enough, during the second episode, he pounces. And here’s where the implications of Rule Zero really come into focus. Many of the people involved break down while rewatching the resulting video, not so much during the murder of the man, but when he then turned on a puppy.
This is something that comes up in online reviews too. People seem more affected by the animal cruelty than the murder of a fellow human being.
Now I don’t want to get all philosophical during a film review and make more of what is there, so to be fair, the whole reason the group went to the efforts they did was to stop not only more kitten killings, but also it escalating to something like the death of a person.
And I also think it plays into precisely the reason we find cats – and indeed any animal – so fascinating. We don’t know what’s going on in their heads – they’re innocent and helpless.
There’s no doubt it’s a controversial series. It’s even marked as that on Netflix. And not just because of that either. There’s the name itself, which might cause you to cover your children’s eyes while you quickly scroll over it, but it does set the scene for what follows. No part of the story is sugar-coated – it’s left as it happened, raw and hard-hitting.
At the end, the point is also made that serial killers crave attention and arguably the whole world sitting down for three or so hours to watch his antics is the killer’s dream come true. Made worse by the fact this guy acted as though he were the star of his own Hollywood movie.
It’s not like anyone will be congratulating him though.
And besides, the whole thing – from start to finish – is grippingly filmed and put together. It was directed by Mark Lewis, a film-maker famous for his other show featuring the dark side of the internet, Silk Road: Drugs, Death and the Dark Web. You follow Baudi and John every step of the way, from stumbling across “1 boy, 2 kittens”, to when the Canadian and eventually the French police get involved, to the sheer relief when he’s finally caught and put behind bars.
Mercifully, you never actually see any of the deeds, but there is enough to leave you feeling chilled. Sleepless too, in fact, as it turns out.
So, should you watch it? The simple answer is yes.
In the next part, I’ll be looking at another Netflix show starring internet cats, but because this one hasn’t exactly been the feel-good cat wholesomeness you may have been expecting, here’s a little something: