What is it?
The feline welfare charity has compiled a gallery of cat photos on Facebook to entertain cat lovers. The Cheshire Cat Gallery features pictures of cats that appear to be smiling. They have been submitted by the charity’s supporters and Cats Protection branches and centres, which responded a request posted on the charity’s Facebook page.
The photographs of contented felines have been uploaded to celebrate National Smile Month, organised by the British Dental Health Foundation, which runs from 18 May to 18 June.
As well as being cute, the gallery is being used to share tips on cat behaviour, promote good oral health in cats and aims to get people to consider adopting cats.
Incidentally, the moggies might look jolly but cats can’t actually smile. According to Nicky Trevorrow, behaviour manager at Cats Protection, the animals have not developed sophisticated facial expressions and have evolved not to show their emotions in order to survive.
What has been the impact so far?
The original post that asked for photos of smiling cats has attracted more than 1,900 comments, almost all of which were entries for the gallery. It also attracted more than 3,600 likes. The actual gallery has reached more than 100,000 people in only four days – an excellent result for just one post – and generated more than 6,700 likes. It has been shared more than 500 times and attracted 476 comments from other people sharing photos of their happy cats with the charity.
What the charity says
Gemma Smith, digital communications officer at Cats Protection, says: "As the UK’s leading feline welfare charity, we promote the benefits of owning a cat wherever possible, so National Smile Month offered us another great chance to remind people of the joy cats bring to our lives.
"Cats are a really popular subject on the internet and on social media sites, especially if they are doing fun or interesting things, so we thought asking for pictures of smiling cats would really appeal to our digital audiences. Cats Protection is currently looking after between 5,000 and 6,000 unwanted cats in need of new homes, so we hope the campaign prompts more people to adopt one of them."
Third Sector verdict
Cats rule on the internet and cat-related content is known to gain a lot of traction online. The charity’s galley is a purr-fect and easy way to capitalise on the cat hype without having to dig into its marketing budget.
Cats Protection has also been savvy in using an otherwise unrelated national campaign as a peg to promote its cause in a light-hearted manner. No wonder the fluffy felines are looking smug.