Wednesday afternoon’s test of the new presidential-alert system seemed to go as planned, at least for its intended recipients: humans. House pets, however, were another story. The government’s push notification landed at 2:18 p.m., leading to the kind of collective social media moment of awe we haven’t seen since last summer’s eclipse. On Twitter, at least, one side effect quickly became clear: The test had thoroughly freaked out cats.
When phones around the country buzzed and EEEENP EEEENP EEEENP’d, many felines apparently responded to the interruption by leaping several feet into the air and otherwise expressing angst and fright. Though humans could perhaps find comfort in the text of the alert—“THIS IS A TEST … No action is needed,” it went—cats, who both don’t own smartphones and can’t read, were cruelly given no such relief.
(Not all cats had this reaction, though. Cats: Not a solid voting bloc! Either that or your cat is an alien.)
The thing about pissing off cats is that when you do it, you also tend to anger the crucial constituency of human cat owners, who tend not to like when their fur babies get scared. There is no way to opt out of the alerts, although there’s reason to believe they’re actually a good thing, but that isn’t going to make your cat feel any better. When doomsday comes, it will be bad for lots of reasons, but surely one of them will be dealing with residual cat-owner wrath.