Cats. They’ve had a disdain for dogs since the dawn of, well, domesticated pets. But if there’s one thing that’s going to get a cat’s back up more than a dog, it’s dirty rotten internet censorship. For the cat has become the undisputed king of the net. The star of a million memes and virals. And without this endless supply of cat pictures, videos and looping GIFs the internet would be a far worse place indeed.
But a cat-less internet is the sad reality in some countries.
The places where power-hungry regimes seek to stifle their citizens’ freedom of expression, and access to cat content, by censoring the one thing that should be for everyone. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no Youtube. It’s a world where the words ‘keyboard cat’ are sadly meaningless to millions.
But now, the cats are fighting back. And in force. Thanks to The Pussycat Riot campaign, which we’ve created for our VPN client Hidemyass.com.
Led by a brave band of celebrity cats – including Nala, Princess Monster Truck, Jarvis P. Weasley, Henri Le Chat Noir and Stitch – The Pussycat Riot exists to name and shame those rulers and governments that restrict the internet, all the while creating a groundswell of cat support from across the world and raising money for the charity Index on Censorship.
This week, to announce the intentions of The Pussycat Riot in no uncertain terms, we launched the world’s first ‘cat protest products’, which include eerily lifelike scratching posts of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, as well as litter trays bearing the faces of infamous internet censors.
Now, it’s fair to say that in the days since we launched the cat protest products to the world, it’s gone a little bit crazy. Not only have we been featured on these shores in the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph (here, here and here), Daily Mirror, The Sun, Daily Star, Evening Standard, MSN and Channel 4′s The Last Leg (Which resulted in Carrie Fisher / Princess Leia’s dog showing a knock-off Putin post what he thought of internet censorship), but our satirical products have sent a cat-fronted anti-censorship message around the world and back again, with wonderful coverage in USA Today, Bild, Buzzfeed USA, So Bad So Good, Anorak, AOL, Herald Sun, Huffington Post Germany and France, Zeitjung, Handelsblatt, The Frisky and more than 100 other articles in Korea, Russia, Turkey, China, Canada, USA, Eastern Europe and South America. All in all we’ve been talked about in 22 countries and translated into 15 languages.
Meanwhile, on Twitter we’ve seen tens of thousands of tweets flying in from all the planet, with users retweeting and posting links to coverage and showing their support with the hashtag #thepussycatriot. And that’s without mentioning the website (www.thepussycatriot.org), which has seen traffic exceeding 25,000 unique users and orders of protest litter trays go through the roof, the Instagram page, which has rapidly become a substantial visual archive of cats showing their support for #thepussycatriot (the pic of Nala below wearing The Pussycat Riot beret generated over 54,000 likes in a couple of hours), or the YouTube video, which has amassed around 14,000 organic views.
And that’s all without mentioning the dictator scratching posts proving so popular among the Reddit community that they rocketed up the rankings to sit atop of Reddit’s front page, sparking a Reddit Photoshop battle and leaving us in doubt that this had truly ‘gone viral’.
All in all a rather terrific start to the campaign, but the cats have a long way to go yet if we’re to bring down internet censorship. Watch this space…