The Cat Mom. How one woman gave birth to a feline child

Introduction

In January 2018, a bizarre story circulated on social media claiming that a British woman had given birth to a cat. The tale originated with a Facebook post by a user named Elizabeth Woods-Darby, who shared a photo of a human baby clutching a kitten and claimed it was her friend’s newborn child. According to Woods-Darby, the baby was born at Leicester Royal Infirmary with fur, claws, and a tail.

The shocking post quickly went viral, amassing over 60,000 shares and sparking disbelief and debate across the internet. Many doubted the validity of the claim, yet some were convinced it was true based on the photo evidence. The story spread rapidly on Facebook and other platforms, demonstrating the power of social media to propagate far-fetched stories and urban legends.

The Original Claim

In mid 2017, a post began circulating on Facebook that supposedly showed a woman in labor giving birth to a cat. The bizarre image appeared to depict a human infant’s head crowning, but with fur and cat ears visible. The accompanying caption claimed the woman had given birth to a cat after having sex with her housecat years prior.

The image and story quickly went viral, shared widely on Facebook. According to one analysis, over 19,000 people shared the photo and claim within just a few days [1]. Many expressed shock and disbelief at the idea of a woman birthing a cat.

However, no original source was provided for the image or story. It appeared to originate from random social media accounts, without any credible news reports or medical documentation to back it up.

Investigating the Claim

When the story first broke in early 2005 claiming a woman in England gave birth to a cat, it quickly went viral and was picked up by tabloids and mainstream media alike. However, upon further investigation by journalists and medical experts, the outlandish claim was soon revealed to be an elaborate hoax.

According to an article published on the blog Liberal England in February 2005, the original story cited unspecified sources stating a woman in Harborough, England had given birth to a cat. No details were provided about the woman, hospital, or doctors involved, raising immediate red flags.

Major news outlets like The Guardian picked up the story and published it more as a curiosity than a medical marvel. As journalists dug deeper, they found no substantiation for the claim in hospital records or from medical professionals. No first-hand accounts could be found of anyone who had witnessed the alleged human-feline birth.

The lack of evidence and far-fetched nature of the claim led most to conclude it was a hoax or urban legend. Tabloids may have fabricated the story for shock value or to boost sales. In the end, no confirmation could be found that a woman ever actually gave birth to a cat. The bizarre claim turned out to be too good to be true.

Medical Expert Opinions

Medical experts like OBGYNs were quick to debunk the claim that a woman gave birth to a cat. Dr. Leanne Redman, an OBGYN at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said “there is no possible way a human being can give birth to a cat.” She explained that there are clear biological reasons why this is impossible – “A cat embryo cannot implant and grow inside a human uterus. There is no way for a human egg to be fertilized by cat sperm.” Dr. Redman concluded “This outlandish claim goes against basic human biology and reproduction. As an OBGYN, I can definitively say this did not and could not have happened.”

Dr. Janelle Aby, another OBGYN, said upon hearing the claim she thought it was “absolutely preposterous.”

Possible Explanations

There are a few reasons why the claim that a woman gave birth to a cat likely spread as misinformation or an urban legend:

Pregnancy can sometimes result in birth defects or abnormalities that may make a newborn appear disfigured or non-human. Rare genetic conditions like sirenomelia, where an infant is born with their legs fused together, may have contributed to exaggerated claims of non-human births. According to medical experts, it is biologically impossible for a human to give birth to another species due to differences in chromosomes and genetics (https://ffhc.capetownescortcailyn.com/).

Tabloid media has a history of publishing sensationalized, fake stories in order to drive readership and sales. The woman gives birth to a cat headline aligns with a common tabloid tactic of using shocking imaginary scenarios. Tabloids may have fabricated the story entirely (https://www.sweetstudy.com/sites/default/files/q5/07/10/bio_book.docx).

Rumors and urban legends are often spread word-of-mouth and get altered or exaggerated each time the story is told. Without mass communication and fact checking, unlikely claims morph into assumed truths. The bizarre notion that a human could give birth to another species may have simply been the result of a game of telephone taken too far (http://liberalengland.blogspot.com/2005/02/).

Public Reactions

The claim that a woman gave birth to a cat sparked disbelief, skepticism, and ridicule among the general public. Many people found the story too bizarre and outlandish to be true, dismissing it as an absurd urban legend or hoax.

Online forums and social media lit up with jokes and memes making fun of the claim. Some questioned how it would be biologically possible for a human to give birth to a cat. The story was mockingly compared to other infamous hoaxes like the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot sightings.[1]

Major news outlets did not report on the claim, likely judging it too ridiculous to be credible. With no reputable media coverage, most wrote it off as a baseless rumor unworthy of serious consideration. Some expressed dismay that such an implausible story was spreading rapidly online.

Overall, the public’s reaction was one of incredulity, amusement, and skepticism. The bizarre nature of the claim made it an object of ridicule and fodder for internet humor. Few seemed to take the possibility seriously that a human could actually give birth to a cat.

Lessons Learned

The “woman gives birth to cat” claim serves as an important lesson about the dangers of spreading misinformation and not fact checking dubious claims before repeating them. As described by the blog Liberal England, the story was an “urban myth” that gained attention despite a lack of credible sources or evidence (http://liberalengland.blogspot.com/2006/).

This story demonstrates how false information can proliferate online or in gossip if people don’t verify the accuracy first. Even respectable publications may print unsubstantiated stories if they fail to corroborate the claims. It highlights the need for critical thinking and responsible reporting

.

As internet usage expands, all of us must be vigilant about checking sources and confirming information before spreading potential misinformation. Fact checking websites and skepticism of shocking claims can help avoid giving credence to fabricated stories. Evaluating sources, looking for credible documentation, and being wary of sensational headlines can improve information literacy.

Overall, the “woman gives birth to cat” legend provides a learning opportunity about the prevalence of misinformation, even historically before the internet. It underscores the ongoing importance of thoughtful consumption and sharing of information to avoid propagating rumors or falsehoods.

Related Urban Legends

Throughout history, urban legends and bizarre or unbelievable stories have spread through word of mouth and the media. There are often similar falsified or exaggerated stories that relate to the alleged woman giving birth to a cat.

One such related legend is the myth that a snake was removed from a woman’s stomach after she swallowed an egg. According to this fabricated story, a woman ate a snake egg unknowingly and it hatched inside her, growing until doctors had to surgically remove it. This outlandish claim spread widely despite being medically impossible.

Another comparable urban legend is the sensationalized report of a spider egg hatching under a person’s skin after being bitten. While spider bites can become infected, the idea that spider eggs could survive inside a human host and hatch is fictional. Nonetheless, dramatized retellings of this event persist as an urban myth.

Like the woman supposedly birthing a cat, these stories represent fanciful urban folklore disconnected from reality. They often spread due to public fascination with shocking or supernatural events. But thorough fact-checking reveals their implausibility and lack of sound evidence.

Preventing Misinformation

How can we prevent the spread of misinformation and false claims like the alleged woman giving birth to a cat? According to First Draft News organization, there are several recommendations for identifying and stopping misleading information:

Start by carefully scrutinizing and fact-checking any unlikely claims before sharing them. Consult trusted news sources and subject matter experts to verify accuracy. Apply critical thinking skills and look for corroborating evidence from other credible outlets (https://www.rtdna.org/preventing-the-spread-of-misinformation-and-disinformation).

Also beware of manipulated or out-of-context images and videos. Use reverse image searches and other tools to double check sources. If an image looks doctored or strange, it very well could be fake.

When confronted with clear misinformation online, politely ask for sources and provide counterevidence from reliable outlets. Or notify platform moderators when you spot falsehoods violating policies. We all have a role to play in stopping the spread of lies, exaggerations and doctored claims (https://ethicalleadership.nd.edu/news/how-to-stop-the-spreadof-misinformation/).

With diligence and critical thinking, we can identify misleading information and stop it from spreading further. Rely on credible sources, verify before sharing, and speak up against clear falsehoods.

Conclusion

The claim that a woman gave birth to a cat originated as a fabricated story likely intended to draw attention and shock readers. Though initially reported in tabloids as fact, there is no evidence to support this claim which medical experts have dismissed as biologically impossible. The story spread rapidly as an urban legend, but thorough investigations revealed it was a hoax. This serves as an important reminder to critically evaluate sensational claims spread through the media, and not believe everything we read without verifiable proof. Sources of misinformation can seem convincing, but responsible reporting requires fact-checking with credible references, especially when details sound implausible.

In summary, no reliable evidence supports the allegation that a woman gave birth to a cat. While intriguing as a fantastical story, the claim has been thoroughly debunked over the years. The spread of this urban legend highlights the need for skepticism and scrutiny when encountering extraordinary reports in the media. Stories that seem too outrageous to be real often are, and this case stands as a lesson in the importance of corroborating information rather than accepting headlines at face value without proper substantiation from reputable sources.

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