Shockingly, Cats (2019) was not the most egregious feline-related content the world has seen in the past few months. Netflix’s Don’t F*ck With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer, a three episode documentary, follows a group of adults who dedicate themselves to finding and bringing a cat killer to justice.
Using only basic information available on the internet, a Facebook group comprised of normal adults from across the world pinpoints the exact name, age, and location of their target, Luka Magnotta. The group suspects Magnotta is the man featured in an anonymously posted YouTube video, and worry he will escalate beyond harming cats if he is not brought to justice. Don’t F*ck With Cats is by definition a true crime documentary, but there is no hero in this story. Instead of leaving you with feelings of gratification seeing a killer be brought to justice, it will leave you on edge and wanting to take a break from technology.
It cannot be overstated that Don’t F*ck With Cats is incredibly upsetting. Even for those who aren’t very squeamish, proceed with caution. Although it is not necessarily more violent or twisted than many current shows, what that makes Don’t F*ck With Cats so much more upsetting is that it is true. Proceed with caution and take it slowly, but proceed nonetheless. It is a story unlike any other.
Rather than following the police’s investigation, the filmmakers follow the Facebook group of individuals who dedicate an incomprehensible number of hours to finding their killer. Brought together by their outrage over someone harming a cat, this Facebook group uses all of their brain power to identify a faceless, nameless man in an unspecified location from just a few small details in a YouTube video. As Deanna Thompson, the leader of the Facebook group says, “Rule Zero” of the internet is “don’t fuck with cats” or you’ll get the claws.
The original cat video that sparks the investigation has nearly no identifiable characteristics. After more videos of a similar theme are posted, seemingly taunting the group of amateur detectives, they buckle down and search every corner of the world for their cat killer. Through countless deep dives into the boundless void that is the internet, the Facebook group identifies a suspect. However, they originally identify the wrong man and attack him on the internet, eventually driving him to suicide. Whereas most people would recognize their major mistake and disengage, this group sticks with their mission and continues to search.
Perhaps the most startling thing about the Don’t F*ck With Cats vigilante Facebook group is that they actually succeeded. Using only a screenshot of a yellow vacuum in the background and a gas station seen outside the window, the group figures out the exact home address of their suspected cat killer. It is rare for a true crime documentary to instill more worry about the investigators than the murderer. As Don’t F*ck With Cats shows, only a handful of people are likely to be murderers, but anybody could be in the Facebook group.
Don’t F*ck With Cats will leave you with more questions about your online footprint and fears of internet stalkers than it will with the emotions and suspense surrounding the actual murders it discusses. If you can, give it a watch. Then, escape to the woods without any technology.