Father of lip-synching kittens: Miley Cyrus ‘better off with singing cats than twerking’

Miley Cyrus performs "Wrecking Ball" at the 41st American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 24, 2013.   REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED ...
Miley Cyrus performs "Wrecking Ball" at the 41st American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 24, 2013. LUCY NICHOLSON

It's been four months since Miley Cyrus twerked all over Robin Thicke at the MTV Music Awards, and pearl-clutching parents are still fretting over the influence the former Disney star has on their innocent children. Yet, following her "Wrecking Ball" duet with a very large, very young kitten at the American Music Awards Sunday night, only one man is thinking of the kittens. That man is Joel Veitch, U.K. animator and musician, guy behind the cult website, and Internet-infamous father of the animated singing kitten. 

"I hope that little cat will be OK," Veitch said ... after NBC News sent him a link to a video of Cyrus sharing the AMA stage with a rather shell-shocked towering tiger kitten. Veitch, an award-winning composer and animator, lives in England, so it was the first he heard of the act. 

Fair enough, since that kitty looming behind Cyrus failed to trigger our universal consciousness to recall Veitch's breakthrough kitty video, "Punk Kittens," a frenetic performance of two young, white felines covering "Fell In Love With a Girl," by the White Stripes. 

Veitch dropped what is likely the first animated video of lip-syncing kittens on the Internet in 2001, a sextet of four white kittens, a calico and what appears to be a sax-playing shrew, in a seaside performance of "We Like the Music" by John B. But it was the 2002 "Punk Kittens," that put lip-syncing cats on the Internet map.

More videos followed, including "Viking Kittens," whose performance of "Immigrant Song" attracted a very nasty take down notice from Led Zeppelin's music label, Warner Bros. The helmeted, ax-wielding helmeted Varigan cuties returned to perform "Gay Bar" by Electric Six. There are originals, too. Just one listen of "We Like the Moon" by the Spongmonkeys and, and you'll be tormenting friends with your own a cappella version for decades to come.

Regarding the mainstream appropriation of lip-syncing kitties, Veitch has no hard feelings. He does, however, have some pertinent tips and hilariously couched concerns for the kitten's career, which he shared with NBC News (some of the spelling has been changed to American.):


Crikey, OK Miley has discovered singing cats.

I wasn't really expecting that, I have to say. And she's wearing cats on her swimming costume thingy as well.

He looks very much like the cat I have singing my song "Bullion." I had that little chap in 2009 though, so I guess Miley's must be his son? Or possibly even grandson I guess, as cat generations can move faster than people generations do.

Having said that, I expect Billy Ray Cyrus feels like the generations are moving rather faster than he'd like.

Anyway yeah if that is the son or grandson of a cat of mine then I have to say he has done well for himself. However I didn't really believe his performance. He seemed a bit struck with stage fright, possibly.

Miley should give him more encouragement to bring out his performance a bit more.

Maybe he was disconcerted by the way she has chucked him in to some kind of flying-through-space alternate dimensional hell with a camera to record his reaction. Frankly she would have done better to put him in her living room.

I hope that little cat will be OK.

Here's what really worries me about it. That little cat looks very young to me. Just a kitten really. Now, I would hate to cast aspersions about anyone specific, but I am aware that when very young stars are subjected to intense limelight like this, they can sometimes go a bit off the rails when they reach adolescence.

Not talking about anyone specific here you understand.

But yeah, I hope Miley has got some kind of support structure in place to make sure that little guy doesn't turn in to a crazed fiend rampaging across the world in a cloud of underwear and booze when he gets older.

By the way I was at a 7th birthday party yesterday and a 6-year-old boy was twerking. It was horrific yet hilarious. Miley is almost certainly to blame for that incident which I feel genuinely uncomfortable about. The worst bit was the cheeky grin on his face.

None of us had a clue what to do about it. What do you say to a 6-year-old boy who is twerking in complete innocence? His Mum wasn't around at the time. I wonder what she would have said? None of us mentioned it to her when she came to pick him up as we were too embarrassed. Maybe we should have stopped him but we genuinely had no idea how to explain what was wrong with it.

Anyway so yes in summary:

Miley is better off with singing cats than twerking. I prefer the kittens.

I do not feel aggrieved that she has done this as kittens are a truly wonderful resource that should be mobilized for world peace.

That cat looks like he may be the grandson of my bullion cat and I hope she is looking after him after throwing him in to the limelight like this.

Hope that helps. Please do let me know if you'd like anything else from me.



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Helen A.S. Popkin goes blah blah blah about the Internet. You can find her on Twitter and/or Facebook.