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.
Adam W.: BUT HE HAS FUR. HE MEETS THE CRITERIA.
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)]