According to these transcripts of internal chats, Gawker staff can't agree.

There is, apparently, a science to determining whether cats are adorable or meh. It is a science that eludes us here at this media organization. We don't have the dedicated, chipper, nattily threaded expert crew to discern such things. As a result, what I assumed was a simple call on the aesthetics of stupid cute viral awwww was anything but.

The internal debate, lightly edited for relevance, with a few extra pics added:

Adam W.: you guys, fish & wildlife just rescued a florida panther kitten

Rich J.: That thing is ugly

Rich J.: But I like his paw

Lacey D.: I love that thing. I want it.

Adam W.: "why do you hate me, rich?"

Rich J.: Because your eyes aren't big enough

Rich J.: Face too humanlike

Rich J.: Uncanny valley

Rich J.: Maybe I'd enjoy spending time with him, but I'd enjoy it more if he were cuter.


Rich J.: Eh

Lacey D.: Yep, still want it.

Rich J.: I've seen better. He needs an eye enlargement.

Lacey D.: a simple surgical fix.

Rich J.: Exactly

Adam W.: ok so the post is

Adam W.: Is This Recently Rescued Florida Panther Kitten Cute or Not?

Adam W.: "Gawker staff can't agree."

Rich J.: Paste in one of those explosive Campfire excerpts

Sam B.: how many calories are in that kitten

Adam W.: anyone else want to weigh in on rich's callowness

Lacey D.: no, the post is This Adorable Rescued Panther Kitten Will One Day Eat You

Taylor B.: that cat is cute

Sarah H.: Look at him adorably munching off that finger!

Adam W.: he's got spots, i don't know if that goes for or against him here

Taylor B.: it's insane this is even up for debate

Lacey D.: poor little baby, with his shaved IV poodle legs. he's getting cuter by the second.

Rich J.: I don't accept just any baby animal that is thrown my way

Rich J.: I have a cultivated sense of taste in the matter, SORRY

Rich J.: Probably the worst baby animal I've ever seen, honestly.

Taylor B.: rich only likes white cats

Adam W.: he really hates cats who instagram

Rich J.: Because they instagram well

Adam W.: florida panther kittens are a serious minority. like, endangered.

Adam W.: does that threaten you, rich

Rich J.: No, I hope they live, I just don't want to look at them.

Rich J.: I think they are worthy beings, just maybe shouldn't attempt to model.

Adam W.: we're still talking about this kitten, right

Rich J.: I mean, I'm not mad about having to look at him. But he's nothing I would, like, make an effort to move my eyes for.

Adam W.: anyone want to jump in here on rich's side? i'm curious as to people's criteria on animal cute

Rich J.: I just think we have enough cute animals that we can start to cultivate a taste in them.

Rich J.: Maybe you are the type of person who thinks that all baby animals are cute.

Tom S.: Jesus Christ, weirdos, that's a cute kitten.

Taylor B.: that's true but i think rescued baby panthers qualify as cute

Rich J.: That's ok. Save the baby animals.

Rich J.: Needs bigger eyes.

Rich J.: I'm the only weirdo, Tom. (Or am I?) ;)

Adam W.: i mean, fuck, if tom thinks it's cute

For its part, the rare kitten was rescued from the wilds of Collier County, Florida, in January about a week after birth. He weighed one pound and was nonresponsive when found. "We want to give any panther kitten the best opportunity to survive in the wild," said FWC veterinarian Dr. Mark Cunningham. "But clearly this kitten was in poor condition and almost certainly would have died without intervention."

We're glad you're alive, panther kitten. Rich Juzwiak thinks you're ugly.

This post was produced under the auspices of the Gawker Media Group Journalism Transparency Project.

[All photos courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)]