Copyright, James Richards

"Promiscuous cats will think nothing of staying out all night and raising one-parent families"

A newspaper cutting from several years ago where journalist James Richards considers the threat posed by a new video to the morals of the nation’s pets.

PROTECTING Britain from moral corruption is a thankless task, and morale among the guardians of national purity must have sunk to an all-time low when It became clear that the pornographers had opened up a new front. Not content with destroying the innocence of our youth, they are now attempting to do the same to our pets - the News of the World has revealed that an erotic video aimed at cats is to go on sale shortly.

"Cool for Cats" claims to be a voyage into the murky waters of feline sexuality. A third of Britain’s ten million cats never go outdoors and the video will provide ‘vital therapy."

Details are sparse, but it is known that the film includes shots of "a randy tom grooming and petting his purring partner’ and, more disturbingly, footage of mice and voles rustling through the undergrowth. It is a sad comment on our age that the first film of this type makes an implicit link between sex and violence.

The film’s defenders will, no doubt, trot out the tired liberal clichés that all the characters are portrayed by actors and that there are no shots of real killing. Though there are no deaths in Cool for Cats, the film portrays mice and voles as victims. From here it is but a short step to slasher movies like "Tales from the Riverbank - the Nightmare Begins"; sexploitation films such as "Puss in Leather Boots", and then on to the ultimate obscenity of rodent snuff movies.

As usual there will be those who will claim that Cool for Cats Is a one-off, a gimmick that won’t catch on. The same was said about The Jazz Singer. We cannot afford to be complacent, if the major film companies think they can make a profit by pandering to the worst instincts of cats, they will.

Of course, the "freedom at any price" lobby will claim that you can’t legislate to stop adults watching what they want. Perhaps so, but are we not forgetting the kittens? The short-sightedness of our legislators means that there is nothing to stop a three-month-old kitten, barely weaned, going into a video shop and hiring this "educational" video with its explicit scenes of sex arid violence. At an age when the thoughts of prepubescent pussies should be focused on house training, their young minds wilt be exposed to scenes which can only inflict deep and lasting scars.

There will be those who will say this is alarmism and that the video is just a bit of harmless fun, but try telling that to the grieving relatives of small rodents who have been torn apart by cats inflamed with blood lust and sexual frustration after watching the video.

The many years of good work in building up positive images for mice - exemplified by the success of "Tom and Jerry" and the sympathetic portrayal of non-violent cats such as Garfield, will have gone for naught. Sadly, it is not only trendy liberal owners who will pay the price in the form of shredded newspapers and damage to furniture; the culture of casual sex and street violence will affect even those who have tried to instil traditional values in their cats! It seems only common sense that this will lead to increased drug use - and it won’t stop at catnip.

It is possibly too late to enforce a complete ban on this sort of material, but we will be failing in our duty as owners if we do not demand stringent controls on what can be shown. Films should be classified as U (suitable for cats of all ages), OG (Owner Guidance) and N (suitable only for cats that have been neutered). As for television, the sleeping habits of the average cat make it all but impossible to decid on a watershed time. It would therefore be simpler to ban such films altogether. We do not pay our licence fee so that irresponsible broadcasters can turn our cats into purring perverts.

Yet perhaps regulation may not be enough. Sterner measures may be needed. Just as the unfortunate decision to allow "Lady Chatterley’s Lover" to be sold openly led to the current "anything, goes" morality, so "Cool for Cats" signals the start of a new assault on decency. Where this video leads, the commercialisers and the exploiters will follow. It will not be long before provocative images of unclothed cats are used to sell Kattomeat, and 0898 numbers with titles like "I Want To Lick Your Fur" and "Let Me Touch Your Whiskers" cater for and encourage depraved feline fantasies.

It is time to say no to the apostles of sexual licence. Let us tell them that it is for us, the owners, to decide when and how much our cats learn about sexuality. We have had enough of their facile arguments that without sex education, they will find out about it behind dustbins or on top of garages. Without action now, we will create a generation of promiscuous cats who think nothing of staying out all night and raising one-parent families.

Let the libertarians howl. I say ban this filth now before it does irreparable harm to the moral fibre of the nation’s cats. And, by the way, if anyone’s got a copy, I haven’t seen it yet.