I get that you think I’m adorable. I’m fluffy and yellow and you want to cuddle me like a swaddled infant. I know the Internet is HUGE right now, and you believe there’s a huge market in viral videos. But look: cats are my natural predators, and you have got to stop setting up photo shoots with me and cats. I don’t care how young they are. Just stop.
Maybe you think it’s easy to be a duckling. Did you know that on Tuesday I had twelve brothers and sisters? Twelve. We were all very close. Literally: duck families sleep in a giant duck ball, like a rat king, but with ducks. For a few hours of my life, things were blissful.
Then on Tuesday afternoon my closest sibling — in age and proximity — was eaten by a crow. Once the predator world got wind, it was a bloodbath. Badgers, raccoons, bullfrogs, large fish, you name it — we were a popular family for all the wrong reasons. Do you know what it’s like to be happily gobbling slime from bottom of a canal, chatting innocently with your brother/ roommate/ best friend about something fun and banal, only to watch in horror as he is swallowed alive by a green-mouthed bass lurking just a few feet away? DO YOU?
Now there are just two of us left, and neither of us can sleep at night because the PTSD is so bad. I close my eyes for a second and it’s just visions upon visions of merciless slaughter. My life is like “The Red Wedding” episode of “Game of Thrones”, every day, over and over again, and I’m only six days old.
And then, just when I think the horror and gore is going to slow down for a second so I can catch my breath, you come along with your iPhone camera and your bloodthirsty maniac kitten, and you scoop me up and put me in a field with the beast for an “adorable photo shoot.” Are you kidding me with this? That kitten takes one look at me and thinks, “Delicious.” It looks at me and wishes it had the claws of a lion so it could maim me and eat me. And then YOU look at this interaction and you say, “Awwww.”
You know the part in the video where the kitten starts batting me on the head with its underdeveloped paw, and you say out loud, “Oh that’s cute! She’s trying to say hello!” FUCK YOU. The kitten is not trying to say “hello.” The kitten is trying to say, “Claws: GROW FASTER. Grow faster so I can kill this duckling and turn him into a feathery snack. Why won’t you GROW?” You know the part in the video where the kitten starts to mew, and you giggle and say, “Cute! She thinks she can talk to the duckling!” Did you not study food chains AT ALL? The kitten is not mewing to communicate with me. The kitten is trying to get the attention of a larger cat with fully developed claws, because all her efforts have been futile, and she is panicking and growing hungrier.
After this barbaric exploitation is finished and you are satisfied with your video, you try to return me to my mother. Guess what? She’s not interested in me anymore because I smell like a goddamned kitten. And I don’t blame her! I’m not interested in me anymore, either.
It’s too late for me. I’m broken now, so congratulations. I’m moving to Monroe, Louisiana to try to get a cameo on “Duck Dynasty”. Frankly, I’d rather die a heroes’ death on television, witnessed by millions, than sit out the rest of my miserable existence here, in exile and fear. But I ask you this: was it worth it? I want you to ask yourself that question the next time you have the brilliant insight of making an interspecies video with your monster of a pet. Was it worth it? Was it really worth it?
Sophie Lucido Johnson is the editor-in-chief of Neutrons Protons.