Home > News > Cats on a Box

More News

Studying slavery

Studying slavery

Students present research conducted on Delaware College history
 
In Memoriam: Robert A. Day

In Memoriam: Robert A. Day

Professor emeritus helped create UD’s concentration in technical writing
 
english faculty awards 2021

Outstanding faculty

Four faculty members in the Department of English have received awards from the College of Arts and Sciences for excellence in service, scholarship, teaching and advising.
 
CONNECT
EMailTwitterInstagramFacebook

Cats on a Box

Image Picker for Section 0
Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

The story behind the viral story

woman holding a grey cat

​​UD Prof. Dawn Fallik and camera-ready Daisy, who insists on joining all Zoom calls.​

The editor of InStyle has called it the GOAT of cat stories. Author Neil Gaiman liked it. And if you’re among the 800,000 to have already viewed the top-read Washington Post story, you’ve likely already met Max, George and Lando ​​Calrissian, the three Vancouver cats who have held a Vitamix box hostage.

Perhaps lesser known is that this viral piece was written by UD journalism Prof. Dawn Fallik, who specializes in medical stories, with a particular focus on data analysis.

A freelance journalist, Fallik’s previous record was a Wall Street Journal article on the "Iron Chef" battle with Michelle Obama, which received 300 comments (compared to the cats’ 4,000-plus).

Clearly, her latest story resonated. UD’s very own cat woman shared her thoughts on why that happened, how the story came to be and the dorky love of strangers that has been a source of pure 2022 joy.

Q: Why did the story click with so many?

Fallik: Cat people read that story and were like, “YES, these are my people.” Those with cats know they are the boss of us. Dogs are generally happy beings. Cat default is displeased disdain. Our mission is to try and make them happy. It's like making a baby laugh, people will make fools of themselves to make that happen. Worth it, right? With cats, sometimes it's a simple thing like tuna or a piece of string, or having dinner elsewhere because the cat is sleeping on a kitchen chair. And sometimes it's a huge inconvenience or expense, like leaving a $500 blender in a box in the middle of your kitchen for a month because it's your cats’ new favorite place. If you know, you know.

Q: What does a story like this say about the viral nature of news?

Fallik: The stories that go viral tend to fall into two categories: quirky/funny or deeply vulnerable. Look at Humans of New York. These are short stories about everyday people and their joys and challenges. They are short, simple and in the person’s own words. Millions connect to these strangers. We don’t know them, but we relate, we see ourselves or people we know. If a story makes us laugh or cry, or feel a connection, we’re likely to send it to others. Because then they laugh or cry, and you get to enjoy it through them.

Q: How did you find this story?

Fallik: I found it while procrastinating on Facebook instead of writing a controversial medical story [about people not wanting to get weighed at the doctor’s office — an important topic which can be especially sensitive to readers. The article should come out in the Post next week]. I saw the couple's public post to Vitamix asking for extra boxes and it made me laugh, and I immediately wanted to tell all my cat friends. As a reporter, that's usually the sign of a good story.

Q: What do you love most about this story?

Fallik: The comments. There are more than 4,500 of them, and overwhelmingly they are joyous. (There are some haters without a soul or sense of whimsy.) People wrote about getting king-size beds so there was room for their dogs, or moving furniture so cats could sit in the sunbeam. The comments on stories can be vicious and personal. And yet, this time, it was thousands and thousands of people shamelessly sharing their dorky love. I'm here for that.

Q: Are there any comments that have surprised you?

Fallik: I've gotten a lot of comments from people not in the journalism industry saying something like, “This story is going everywhere, you are going to rake it in!” That is not how professional journalists get paid. I got a flat fee that’s agreed upon when you set the length and deadline. Clicks and page views are meaningless when it comes to payment — and that's true for my stories for NPR or The Wall Street Journal or anywhere I've ever written. That's a huge misconception when people talk about “the media.”

Q: Any takeaway from this experience, either personally or professionally?

Fallik: Writing funny is difficult although I've been told I'm fabulous at yelling in email. Tone in print doesn't always come through.. as anyone who has ever misinterpreted a text will know. Medicine, crime, politics — those stories are usually straight-forward, although the material itself can be complicated. The trick is to let the story tell itself. There was just one line that was purely my snark, and I got quite a few comments from students and friends saying "I could SO hear you saying this." That was, "People frequently ask why the couple doesn’t just take the cats off the box. These are clearly dog owners. This is not how cats work."

Q: Have you always been a cat lover?

Fallik: I've had cats in my life since I was very little (and one sheepdog). Little did I know that they were just training me so I'd have the skills to write this story. Now I've got to go because I have one elderly cat with no teeth who only eats baby food (Gerber turkey in the glass jar), and I'm almost out.​

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

​ Article by Artika Casini; photo courtesy of Dawn Fallik 

Originally published January 11, 2022​

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

News Story Supporting Images and Text
Used in the Home Page News Listing and for the News Rollup Page
The story behind the viral story
1/13/2022
No
Page Settings and MetaData:
(Not Shown on the Page)
Page Settings
Cats on a Box
No
MetaData for Search Engine Optimization
Cats on a Box