Here’s an Idea: Don’t Use TikTok To Brag About Caring More About an Unhoused Man’s Cat Than About Him
A TikToker has come under fire after she bragged about caring for a houseless man’s cat more than him. Kirby Johnson is a TikToker with nearly 3 million followers who goes by the handle @kirby_J. While she usually posts Get Ready With Mes, makeup tutorials, and lip-syncing videos, she went viral for an entirely different kind of post. In the now-deleted video, Johnson detailed her actions after spotting a houseless man with a pet cat.
She expressed being concerned about the cat because it was cold and rainy outside. As a result, she offered the man a blanket for his cat (“You can use it for yourself, too, that’s fine,” she said flippantly, “but please use it for your cat”) and also gave him cat food. However, many questioned why she was so concerned about the safety of the cat, but not of the houseless man. It was also initially believed she stole the man’s cat, as viewers mistook the cat in her video as the houseless man’s cat. The cat in question, though, is her own cat who has appeared in prior videos.
Even if she didn’t steal the houseless person’s cat, there was still a lot wrong with her video. The video as a whole was just distasteful as she was seeking praise and attention for giving a houseless person cat food. It was certainly kind of her to buy the man cat food, but there is also a lot more she could’ve done, and it’s odd to have to immediately take to social media to broadcast her minimal effort. Additionally, the way she spoke about the houseless individual and claimed that he couldn’t properly take care of his cat showed much ignorance. As creators are apt to do when criticism arises, she soon dug herself into a deeper hole with her follow-up video.
TikToker victimizes herself after viral video sparks backlash
After receiving backlash, Johnson posted an explanation video in which she tried to defend her actions and claimed that there was nothing else she could possibly do besides give the man cat food. She also played the victim card, expressing shock at how she could be attacked for doing such a kind act.
OMG! I’ll never underestimate a White woman’s ability to victimize themselves!!! She has absolutely no idea what led to him to be homeless, but immediately went to shame him. “It’s 1000s of homeless ppl” ok but you see this one regularly yet care more about his cat than him??? pic.twitter.com/zBgk42Lj9v— RKG. ?? (@_ahseit) March 2, 2023
In the video, she instantly begins to shame the man for being houseless, claiming that he was an addict and “so far gone” that she couldn’t do anything to help him. She also claimed it was “borderline unsafe” for her to give him cat food, again implying that she deserves praise for inserting herself based on nothing but her baseless assumption that the man cannot care for his own cat.
Johnson also went on a rant about how there are resources all over the city, but that the man (and a general “these people”) just didn’t want to use them or stay clean, suggesting his situation was his own fault.
Of course, she completely failed to show any understanding or compassion for the seriousness of addiction and the fact that many resources for houseless individuals are limited, and finding a placement is exceedingly difficult. Plus, no one was telling her to single-handedly end houselessness or invite the man into her home or even give him money. She simply could’ve given him a hot meal, groceries, or any basic necessity. Alternatively, she could have just not posted about him in the first place.
In the comments, many users pointed out that houseless people take very good care of their pets. However, having random people steal their pets is, unfortunately, very common because people like Johnson are so insistent that they can’t possibly care for their pets.
I raised $16k to make care packages to hand out to people & one guy I know wouldn’t take an apartment he was offered because they didn’t allow cats. He said he cared about them too much to just abandon them. pic.twitter.com/ZrdxbLxSG4— ?Golden Girls & Golden Palace Podcast! ? (@SoGoodWeNamedlt) March 2, 2023
this exact thing happened to a man outside my work who i became friends with years ago. he had his (well cared for) cat with him 24/7 and one day a woman stole her. he was devastated beyond words. its incomprehensible how someone could think they’re the good guy in that situation— Savvy ☭ (@sleepisocialist) March 2, 2023
it’s the way she thinks of cat food before like… human food??— Sarah?? (@drunkersocks) March 2, 2023
“there are so many resources for homeless people in this city”— mads ? (@mxddxev) March 3, 2023
*only names 2*
Johnson’s video has sadly raised awareness for the ignorant way that many people view houselessness. Her giving a houseless man cat food was not the problem. It was how she believed that the man couldn’t take care of his own cat, that he himself was beyond help, and that she had no duty or ability to help him in any other way that was abhorrent. Her very public declaration of prioritizing the cat over him is a dehumanizing perspective on houseless individuals and those living with addiction.
No one was asking her to end houselessness, just to have a tiny bit of compassion for a houseless man, instead of blaming him for his situation and following him around because she didn’t trust him to care for his cat. Lastly, it’s just not a good look to do the absolute minimum you can possibly do for someone else just to have content for a TikTok video.
(featured image: kirby_J)
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