Secrets of Facebook Groups For Cat Lovers and You Know Your Cat Loves You Because…
Marketing cat books is harder than ever. I have a sweet spot for cat writers and have reviewed hundreds of cat books over the years but have cut back. Authors, bloggers and regular cat lovers frequent Facebook groups for various reasons. I’ve long wanted to write a tell all about cat groups but didn’t want to dish the dirt on how catty they can be.
When a new cat book writer, Jeff Parks pitched me about writing a guest post about cat groups on Facebook, I couldn’t resist. It turns out his funny, illustrated book (co-written with Nina Brissey) is clever, and wound up being Clyde’s last quasi book review. The black and white illustrations by Mark Sean Wilson are a delight. No one mentioned it, but I think they are purrfect for coloring.
Welcome to the crazy world of cats on Facebook. Take it away, Jeff. FTC disclaimer: This guest post is not sponsored but there are Amazon affiliate links.
I co-wrote a fun illustrated book recently. It’s called, “You Know Your Cat Loves You Because… The Sweet, Silly, and Scientific Ways Our Cats Show Us How Much They Love Us.” In writing the book, I decided to join several Facebook groups devoted to cats. I thought it would be a good way to immerse myself in the subject of my book. I also thought it would be fun to hang out with people who adored cats as much as I did.
My experience with these groups was not exactly what I expected, and if you’ve ever thought about joining a Facebook group devoted to cats, I want to give you some pros and cons about them. For while there is a lot to recommend these groups, there are also plenty of reasons to stay away.
You’re Part Of A Positive Community
I love cats. You love cats. Well unsurprisingly, Facebook cat groups love cats too and are filled with terrific people who want to share their love of cats with other like minded folks. And that’s great, because it isn’t always easy for us to share our fondness for cats without people judging us.
Unfortunately there are all kinds of dumb, commonly accepted stereotypes of cats and their owners. We’ve heard them all before. Cats are aloof and not affectionate, or they don’t care about their owners. (I wrote my book partly as a response to this myth) There is also the ugly trope of the “single cat lady” and more. I can promise you, no one in these groups will be judging you. Well, they might judge you, but they’ll judge you to be awesome!
When you join a Facebook group devoted to cats, you get all the adorable pictures of cats you can handle. If you’re like me, you can spend a lot of time just looking at pictures of cats doing cat stuff. Plus, there are always funny memes and funny videos featuring our furry friends. Nearly every group has a surplus of all the cute cat media you can ever want. Just be careful, because before you know it, you’ve spent five hours in a group delighting in all manner of cat media while day turned into night.
You Get To Ask and Answer Fun Questions About Cats
One of the great things about these groups is how involved they are. You can ask a question like, “What is your cat’s favorite toy?” or “Where is your cat’s favorite place to hide?” and get a ton of responses. If you like watching your Facebook alerts blow up, then post a fun question and watch them go off like never before. I once asked a group “What human words does your cat respond to so you know they understand what they mean?” and got well over a thousand responses.
You Can Give Or Get Great Advice
You can get great advice on all things cat related. If you want to find out what people think about the newest cat foods or best flea remedies, you’ll get plenty of answers from Facebook cat groups. You can also share advice, and it’s almost always warmly received. And if you have a non medical, but serious question about cats, you’ll usually find great advice. Common questions I usually see are “what is the best way to introduce new cats to each other” or “how do I adopt a cat properly.”
You’ll Learn a Lot
You’ll find a lot of news articles and information pertaining to cats that you may have not known. This could be information about cat behavior, different breeds, best practices for litter training, or really anything. I learned new things every day, and many of them were personally useful.
Grisly Images of Abused Cats.
I don’t know why, but a lot of people in these groups post pictures or videos of animal abuse. Nobody likes animal abuse, and in these groups, members can only watch in horror as a cat gets hurt or is shown hurt. It’s not like anyone can get involved, so unless they just like making people upset, I’m not sure why anyone would post videos or pictures of abused cats.
Sometimes, group members will ask other members what they should do if their cat is displaying symptoms of illness. Most people do the right thing and urge the original poster to call a vet, but others will attempt to give well meaning, but not always verifiable advice. In my opinion, you should never ask for advice on what to do if your cat is displaying symptoms of an illness. You should always call or go to the vet.
This problem with getting bad advice also pertains to seemingly innocuous questions people will ask about how to best stop their cat from scratching furniture or biting them. In groups like this, you have novice and experienced cat people, so it’s not surprising to see contradictions or wide gaps in advice, however, some advice I’ve seen is actively harmful to cats.
For anyone who has gone through the pain of losing their cat, you know how hard it is. Many of us never really stop grieving. Seeing announcements of a cat passing on in a Facebook cat group can trigger our own grief and pain. Most people, along with the announcement, will also post pictures of their lost babies in happier times and sometimes also, after they’re gone.
These announcements are part and parcel of almost all groups I was a part of, (17 in all) and I do understand that for members, this is a way to share their pain with a community they know cares about cats like they do. Still, if hearing the announcement of a cat moving on to the rainbow bridge hits you hard, stay away from Facebook cat groups.
Trolls Stirring Things Up
Yep, trolls exist in Facebook cat groups too. I’ve seen people cursing each other out for having differing opinions on a subject. Also, sometimes a member will post a picture of their cat, then proudly say their cat’s name, and it ends up being a racist term or an expletive. Then the group goes back and forth arguing on something that should never be debated. Sometimes members will even threaten each other. It’s ugly stuff, and fortunately rare, but it does happen.
Posts About Disfigured Cats
This one really frustrates me. The most common type of this post is one where a cat is disfigured and there’s a caption on top of the photo saying something like, “People say I’m ugly. Do you think I’m ugly?” First of all, no cat lover is going to call or think of any cat as ugly. The posters know this. The comments are always the same underneath these posts, too. Cat lovers commenting on how the cat is not ugly and that they find the cat beautiful. It reeks of attention seeking and I see nothing positive about it. To be clear, I don’t find these pictures unsettling, but find the reason they are posted on these groups to be tasteless and insincere.
Have a similar or different view about Facebook groups? Tell us in a comment below.
Author Bio: Jeff Parks is a freelance writer and editor. He shares a home in Temecula, California with his spirited and wonderful cat, Mac. You can get his new book, “You Know Your Cat Loves You Because… The Sweet, Silly, and Scientific Ways Our Cats Show Us How Much They Love Us,” on Amazon.