Social media users in China obsessing over Russian cats being banned from international competitions

Business Insider US
A male Russian Blue cat seen at the GCCF 100 Year Celebration Show in Kenilworth, England, on August 14, 2021.
  • Amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, users of China's Twitter-like Weibo platform have been fixated on Russian cats.
  • On Wednesday, the hashtag "Russian cats are banned" went viral on Weibo.
  • The trending topic concerns the banning of Russian cats from international cat shows.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

As the world bears witness to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, social media users in China have been fixated on an unlikely topic — Russian cats.

The search term "Russian cats are banned" went viral on China's Twitter-like Weibo on Wednesday, receiving more than 118 million views in 24 hours. The trending topic also spawned close to 170,000 topic threads overnight.

At the heart of all the buzz was the Fédération Internationale Féline's (FiFe) move to ban Russian cats from participating in international cat shows. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the FiFe board said it was "shocked and horrified" by the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine and highlighted the "destruction and chaos caused by this unprecedented act of aggression."

Fife — a federation of cat fancier organizations and member of the World Cat Congress — also banned any cat bred in Russia from being registered in any FiFe pedigree book outside of the country. The group also banned all cats belonging to Russian exhibitors from being entered in any cat fancier competitions.

"The Board of FIFe feels it cannot just witness these atrocities and do nothing," wrote the organization in its statement. 

In response, Chinese web users on Weibo expressed their disapproval of the ban.

"Even cats, dogs, chickens, pigs, and geese, have nationalities? Even cockroaches and bugs have national allegiances? This is thought of by the West!" wrote another Weibo commenter. 

"This organization is using a ban on cats as a demonstration of its integrity when it's doing evil!" read another comment in the topic thread. 

According to reporting from Newsweek, some Russian cat breeds rank among the world's most expensive. Siberian cats, for instance, can cost around $1,000 to $2,000, while Russian Blues and Peterbald cats can fetch up to $3,000. 

China has walked a fine line after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, refusing to condemn Russia for its military assault. However, Chinese tech companies have been divided in their response to the invasion.

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