Viral FB Post Claims Cats Have One Emotion: Contempt

You have to feel sorry for the people still stuck in the Zuckerbergian cesspit that is Facebook, spending their days wading through tedious political arguments and “SHARE IF U AGREE” shitposts written for the paste-eating crowd.

Unfortunately, the platform’s rampant misinformation is not limited to politics. Here’s one of the latest viral posts:

Facebook Derp
Derp derp derp! A derp a derp derp derp!

And this is what it looks like now, to protect people like your aunt who keeps sending you email forwards about Pizzagate:

Facebook: Derp!
Despite the flagged warning, people are still sharing the post. “Big Tech doesn’t want us to know the truth ’bout cats!”

Whenever I encounter stuff like this, my first instinct is to dismiss it as nonsense no one would actually believe. Then I remember our dubious track record when it comes to critical thinking: a third of millennials are flat-Earthers, one in four Americans thinks the sun orbits the Earth, and more than 16 million Americans believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

Some futurists and ethicists thought the world wide web would bring an end to conspiracy theories and outlandish beliefs, with the sum of human knowledge at our fingertips and the disinfectant power of the truth. But falsehoods have remarkable staying power, and the internet is happy to oblige any conspiracy theory no matter how far removed from reality, with sites like this one that says it offers “no-bullshit truth”:

Screenshot_2021-02-25 Why do cats purr

Screenshot_2021-02-25 Why do cats only feel contempt

So at the risk of stating the obvious, purring has nothing to do with a cat’s heartbeat, and cats experience all the same primary emotions we do (happiness, sadness, fear, excitement, nervousness) as well as quite a few secondary emotions, like jealousy, disappointment, contentment and confidence.

The idea that animals like cats and dogs are emotionless automatons went out of favor more than half a century ago, and modern technology has made it possible for scientists to peer into the minds of our domesticated friends and witness brain activity that mirrors our own when we process emotions. There is no debate: Cats have very real emotions, which is another compelling reason to treat them well.

16 thoughts on “Viral FB Post Claims Cats Have One Emotion: Contempt”

  1. The more I know about people the better I like cats. Flat Earthers, Big Lie believers, anti-vaxxers … when and why did people get so stupid??

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the death of newspapers and the rise of online news outlets with no standards or commitment to honest reporting has a lot to do with it. Social media as well. Political polarization. A modern education system that doesn’t equip people with critical thinking skills.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Isn’t it sad it’s come to this? I think you are 100% right. And the worst thing is, this situation will probably get worse.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. lol I couldn’t believe the brown cows thing either. But there are surveys and polls showing a lot of Americans are “agriculturally illiterate” and don’t know where their food comes from. I remember reading about a false advertising case from the 70s, if memory serves, in which McDonald’s was sued for running ads showing its burgers in a garden, growing like plants.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read the article in the meme and thought it had to be satire, so I checked out the source, a site called whythiswhythat.com. It seems to have run out of steam in 2012, but not before publishing an article that explained how the world would end in December 2012 as a result of being be sideswiped by the planet Niburu. I really recommend reading it – it’s spit-out-your-coffee funny.
    http://www.whythiswhythat.com/nature/why-is-the-world-going-to-end-in-2012/
    So I don’t think the scientific community has too much to worry about.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yeah, I’m just worried that people will take it at face value, which seems to be what people are doing on Facebook. I don’t use FB and didn’t realize that they’re appending warnings to non-political misinformation. With the volume of user generated content, I can’t imagine how they begin to prioritize that stuff.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. If this rag publishes “no-bullshit truth,” it should name its sources. It refers to “many scientists” but it doesn’t say who they are or give any references to their work. The only scientist who they mention by name is the one who refutes the assumption which is their premise.
    Attributing human motives to animals is, I believe – correct me if I’m wrong – called “anthromorphizing.”
    And, to refute their argument further, if cats can’t feel the human emotion of pleasure, then they can’t feel the human emotion of contempt, either.
    But I can.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Facebook is idiotic. I stay away from it. Obviously, the writer has not met Buddy or Tux! He is at the vet today. Hopefully the premedication will prevent arm shredding!

    Liked by 3 people

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