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First rule of the internet: ‘Do not mess with cat people.’


Image of a cat looking over a fence

Sebastián-Dario / Flickr

Chris Pratt, of Parks and Recreation and Moneyball fame, is in some trouble:

Anna Faris’ husband, fellow actor (and Parks and Rec costar) Chris Pratt, is getting a lot of heat on Twitter because he used the social networking [sic] Penny Saver to give away the couple’s 15-year-old cat away [sic]. [Gawker]

“A lot of heat” being death threats.

Lashing out: never good

I can’t recall ever having received a legitimate death threat so I can’t argue with the visceral nature of how Chris reacted (see below), but I have dealt with my fair share of angry comments and I know that lashing out is never a good idea.

…here is his explanation to all the haters out there:

Bottom line, and not that this is any of your fucking business weirdos, but my wife and I want to start a family and we ABSOLUTELY CANNOT have an animal that shits all over the house. Sorry. If you are a parent you will understand. And if not, that probably explains why you have such a hard on for cats. Just sayin’.

(Gawker again, because Chris has since deleted that blog post.)

Lashing out and fighting back against negative comments never does any good — especially online — because it’s a medium that requires you to conceive of something, create it and publish it. That process, however short it may be (I can imagine Chris banging on his keyboard, indignant of the crazy cat people’s death threats), is what turns off people who may otherwise be on your side. Wow, I can’t believe Chris took the time to write something so harsh, one might think. Also:

Oh, Chris. This is such a bad idea! While I’m totally on your side, you are not handling this thing well at all. Yes, you’re just making this whole thing worse.

(More Gawker.)

Don’t get angry; do say ‘sorry’

Indeed, the best thing you can do in situations like this is apologize and hope for the best. I’ve always forwarded negative comments through my work/branded accounts to a manager, and I’ve learned to respond directly with something like, “Thanks for taking the time to contact us. I’ll make sure management sees your comments.” Chris is in a different position here because it’s his Twitter account and he’s the management. But if he would’ve cooled off before publishing, he may have been able to respond better. Something like:

Hey, everyone. Anna and I really love our cat, but we’re both very busy and we’re getting to a point in our lives where we can’t take care of it anymore. We wanted to find a good home for it, and you guys were the first people we thought of. We checked out the person who adopted our cat and made sure it went to a good home. I know some of you are still really mad, but death threats…not cool.

Borrowing from Gawker, one more time:

Do not mess with cat people. […] The only recourse you have is to apologize and try to move on. Just let the cat people have their outrage.

If you can learn to stick to that, most of your other internet communication efforts will come pretty easy.

UPDATE (4:20 p.m.): See this related post from The Bloggess, which I thought was too good not to share.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Brian Calvert

    Hey Paul, just found your blog.  Love your style, man.  Very good writing.


  • Thanks very much, Brian. Thanks for reading.

  • Some of us are one eyed about cats…that’s all.

  •  I’ve never heard that expression, but I share your enthusiasm (I’m assuming it’s enthusiasm) about cats.