by Patch O'Furr
CONTENT WARNING for animal abuse – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog
He had to be stopped. Someone was killing cats and posting the videos online. Internet sleuths were hunting a killer who reveled in taunting them. In December 2019, their story came out on Netflix as Don’t F*ck With Cats. It was one of the year’s most-watched documentaries.
As hard as they tried, identifying the killer wasn’t enough. They felt helpless until he escalated to killing a human victim and mailing the body parts to terror targets. Finally the authorities noticed, and Canadian man Luka Magnotta was caught and convicted. The story suggests that taking animal cruelty seriously could have saved a person, and it showed a trend for attention: “Murderers have become online broadcasters. And their audience is us.”
Months after the show, the same trend terrorized the furry fandom and made a new case for the FBI.
More than a copycat
In May 2020, the new Covid-19 situation was turning the world upside down. Stuck in quarantine, furry fans found a way to lift their spirits. They joined a regular event on the Omegle video chat service, using hashtags to meet fellow fans by random connection.
They weren’t expecting to connect to a woman in an animal-skin mask, gripping a bloody skull a little bigger than an egg. It almost looked fake, until she used a finger to pop out an eyeball like a grape.
Whoever was doing this wasn’t just shocking random targets. She knew about the event and targeted them with hashtags like #furries, #fursuit and #furryfandom. It made a trail with sightings of gory animal parts and links to Instagram and Tiktok. It was hard to document live incidents, but alarm spread and reached millions of viewers on Youtube. She got attention she wanted, but where did she come from?
The hype never told the full story. It passed like a blip and Youtubers and blogs quickly forgot. We’ll get to what happened in 2021 — but first, she didn’t just start in 2020 without warning. A path was laid much earlier.