There’s a group of artists working in the American media today whose genius is vastly under-appreciated, and by this I mean whoever does the chyrons for local news stories about cats.
Cats have always been fodder for local network affiliates—think of all those Veronica Corningstones sent to cover kitty fashion shows—and now that they’re such a perennial popular topic on the internet, cat content is catnip to thirsty news teams.
And so, the world receives a great gift.
For instance, appreciate “Cat Attacks Town,” which balances on a knife’s edge between businesslike unconcern and borderline hysteria.
An important element of the pleasure in these chyrons comes from that juxtaposition of “just another day’s news!”/“what the FUCK am I seeing.” This one comes as part of an investigatory series on “Pet Dangers.” Are your pets killing you? Tune in next week to find out. (Probably.)
As the classic cat 911 call story out of Portland illustrates, there is a delirious pleasure to be found in cat news being depicted as news-news. Behold, a familiar local news trope (the desperate emergency call) redeployed to be about, again, a damn cat.
This cat isn’t even the only cat to find himself on the news for trapping a family in their own home, as this other cat shows below.
The chyrons frequently skew uncanny:
Or deathly serious, when it’s crimes against cats:
Of course, it’s just as often crimes involving cats:
And there are plenty of straightforward human interest stories in the mix as well. Like this heart-warming tale of a kitten found nearly frozen, saved by the tireless efforts of a Denver animal rescue (DUMB FRIENDS LEAGUE), and dubbed Elsa:
And also this really adventurous cat, just a local citizen who found herself on a plane to Hawaii accidentally. Whoops!
Sometimes, though, you get a graphics artist who really goes above an beyond the call of duty. This one’s got it all—the perfectly droll chyron, the cat depicted as just another dude on the news, the stock 911 background image. All in the service of a story that is literally about a cat who wouldn’t stop dialing 911.
Cats aren’t known for their civic engagement, but a few have made their name in that arena, of course:
Sometimes, though, the chyrons are unnecessary. You don’t even want the fancy graphics. You just want some goddamn cat. Like here, in the library:
Or when you’ve got footage of a long-lost cat reuniting with his owners, the local news art really becomes about restraint:
And you definitely don’t interfere with a horrified-looking swimming cat in a life jacket. That’s pretty much rule number one.
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