Keyboard Cat makers rubbish animal cruelty claims

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Melbourne, July 8 (ANI): The makers of Keyboard Cat, one of the most popular videos on the internet, have rubbished claims that it's cruel to make a pet play the piano.

Last week an Aussie animal lover reportedly registered an official complaint over a TV advert showing the popular clip.

In the video, which has had millions of hits on YouTube, Fatso the cat appears to play an electronic keyboard.

According to Fatso's owner Charlie Schmidt, who made the video in 1984, his pet enjoyed the experience.

"The first time Fatso laid his paws on the keyboard, it was the happiest I'd ever seen him!" News.com.au quoted him, as saying in an email.

Schmidt added: "I'd come in the room and catch him playing the hits from there on out. He was just one of those cats that were born to play!"

Brad O'Farrell, who unveiled Fatso's on YouTube more than two decades later, agreed with Mr Schmidt and said this wasn't the first complaint about the clip.

He said: "When the video first came out, a lot of people were saying it was animal abuse.

"People tend to think any appearance of an animal interacting with humans in an unusual way is animal abuse. At least on the internet.

"He was just holding the cat's 'shoulders' and manipulating them to make it look like the cat was playing a keyboard. The cat was neither in pain nor resisting."

Telstra used the Keyboard Cat video in an advert for its T-Hub phone earlier this year, prompting a complaint to the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau.

The complainant said: "The cat is clearly being forced to play this piano does not appear to be comfortable and quite frankly I think it's cruel to depict a living animal being treated like a puppet."

Telstra rejected the claims, saying Fatso did not seem to resist his owner.

The company said: "It is very difficult to make a cat do anything it does not like without an obvious struggle."

Schmidt uploaded Fatso's footage to YouTube in 2007, years after the cat's death.

In 2009, O'Farrell turned it into a popular internet meme to "play off" people in other videos who had done something embarrassing. (ANI)

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