The True Story Behind the Most Disturbing Cat Photo in the History of the Internet!

The photo highlighted in this article is one that has been the cause of heated debates over the years on the internet.

There are also several various theories and ideas and stories about where the photograph originated.

As disturbing as the photo is, there is a true story behind it.

Two men in Hoi An were walking around following a major flood, one of the worst Vietnam had ever seen, which happened several years ago.

The two men were snapping photos of the devastation when the small white kitten in this photo approached one of the men and begged for help.

And so the famous photo, as well as the other images which appear below, were taken.

So, what happened to the kitty? Here comes the hard truth.


The name of the main who snapped the photographs is Graham Lavery,

In Mr. Lavery’s own words:

“In Vietnam, the phenomenon of “pet” ownership is a very new development, prior to the American War this was a practically unheard of concept in many areas. Dogs, as a prime example, are a food source much like cattle, sheep, or pigs are here. Since the development of the “pet” concept, there has been an explosion in numbers with a great many feral and stray dogs and cats roaming the country in various states of health, which is becoming a large problem in and of itself.

3-min‘Given the general cultural attitude toward animals like cats, the massive property damage during the floods, and the great deal of human hardship that was experienced at the time this photo was captured, it can be seen how a kitten such as this one would pass well under the radar and slip pretty far down the priority lists of most people who were literally striving to survive.

‘When my very good friend and I came upon this kitten, it was pretty obvious what its fate would be given the described circumstances, a situation that brings with it several ethical questions that have no really simple answer, mainly: “What to do?”

‘As tourists in the area who were in Vietnam temporarily (barely two weeks in Charles’s case), the practicalities of helping an animal such as this become a little more cloudy. If you take it in, how do you care for it? Where do you care for it? What do you do when you leave? Does rescuing it jive with the ethics and practices of the local people (it is their country after all)?

‘These are tough questions to answer, and I would submit they become exponentially more difficult when you are in combat zones or disaster areas and instead of a kitten the faces staring at you are those of children or women, either in extreme poverty or wounded… It can rip one’s guts out, I assure you, and there are no easy answers. Given the ability, I’m sure I’d have adopted half of Afghanistan by now. Charles is a Paramedic who has traveled the world through his career, so between us, we tend to see things similarly in this regard.

‘After a brief discussion, it was decided to let nature take its course and leave the kitten to its own devices, whatever the outcome. Some will agree, some will not, but that was our decision based on our collective experiences of this planet over the years. What became of it ultimately? I can’t answer that with certainty, but I can guess.

‘In the end, we are all faced with choices, some more difficult than others. In photography – particularly in war, or in other difficult circumstances – there are some major ethical implications of even taking a photo: Questions of dignity, intent, and moral imperative. If you do take the shot, do you “put it out there?” I have hard drives full of photos that will never see the light of day because of this, and countless more that I never took at all given the circumstances.”

As we cat people know, cats seem to be able to tell just who will help them in their hour of need and who will now and they usually end up choosing the correct human, in most circumstances.

Whether or not anyone came along afterward to help the cat is also unclear.


The moral of the story is this. The desperate cat you see in this photograph every now and then here online truly needed help.

Whether or not the kitty ever got the help it needed, will probably remain a mystery for all eternity.

We can all only hope that the poor kitten was rescued by someone else.

– Daniel Torres, The Best Cat Page

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