Cat Chit Chat, a proposal

A proposal to


Mr. Tinsley,

This is Mr. Sorrells, consultant at the Center for Writers and lecturer for a section of College Composition at NDSU. We have been conducting rhetorical analysis since the start of the school year. Specifically, we have been looking at nonprofit organizations such as yours and evaluating their use of appeals in order to understand more fully what it means for us to be engaged in our community.

Although we applaud your community engagement, we have concluded that your pathos rhetoric may not be as persuasive as you might think. Moreover, we have observed a number of other, national nonprofits addressing the same social issue as yours that use much more effective rhetorical appeals. We would like to bring those appeals to your attention in the hopes of helping you become more effective at not only fundraising, but encouraging people to get involved, and connecting people to the impacted population.

Please find below our proposal. Please feel free to contact me at 877-636-9649 if you have any further questions or would like to move forward with the next steps implementing our ideas. Have a good day.

Raymond Tinsley

A proposal for Cat Chit Chat

Mr. Tinsley,

We applaud you for your fight against cat juggling in the Fargo-Moorhead area. We are especially impressed with your website, Cat Chit Chat, and its effective use of pathos rhetoric to further your cause. Your descriptions of these underground cat juggling circuses have been very effective at bringing this issue to light here in our area. Despite the fact we find your rhetorical approach effective, there are however some improvements we think you could make.

At Cat Chit Chat, your main appeal is pathos rhetoric in the form of smuggled letters written by captive kittens to their families. We especially liked the story of Blackie McLaserEyes, in which he recounts how relentless the performance schedule is, “we are juggled ten times a night for two or three minutes at a time” he writes piteously. He goes on to write “sometimes the juggler isn’t very good and we are flung up in the air by our legs, or worse, our tails.” Obviously, Cat Chit Chat is trying to engender sympathy in the hearts of their readers so they will donate money to the cause of stopping this horrible practice.

In fact, we find there is not much debate about how horrible cat juggling really is. According to James Herriot, renown veterinarian and author of the best-selling book series All Creatures Great and Small, cat juggling is even more detrimental to little kitties than declawing. He says that “when you declaw a cat, they lose a piece of their toe, but when you juggle a cat for too long, they lose a piece of their soul.” Therefore, there is obviously no question that in order to preserve the dignity of feline life, everyone should be doing their part to stop the practice. However, Dr. Herriot is not the only animal authority on the matter.

According to Jane Goodall, renowned primatologist, “juggling is especially injurious to a cat’s soft underbelly, which is where they are most often caught and tossed.” She goes on to say “there isn’t really anything we can do for a cat with a bruised spleen” except get them out of the ring before the inner organs rupture and the cat dies. Fortunately, Cat Chit Chat is not the only organization committed to stopping cat juggling.

We found another site, Pity the Kitty, operating out of San Diego and targeting the Hollywood elite, that is dedicated to the same cause. They, too, are using pathos rhetoric, but to much greater effect. They have videos of actual cat juggling performances smuggled out of pet store basements in Tijuana. You may think Cat Chit Chat’s testimonials are effective in eliciting an emotional response in your target audience, but nothing beats video.

The effectiveness of these videos is inarguable. There is nothing like actually seeing the poor things flung up into the air and hearing their piteous mews as the reach the top of the ark and fall back down, only to be caught and flung up again. The videos elicit a range of emotion from sympathy to anger about the practice. There is no wonder that Pity the Kitty is a well-supported and well-funded operation. But they are not the only ones doing well in this fight.

A third site, Free the Felines, operating at a national scale, is employing both ethos and logos rhetoric to great effect. They are employing national renowned veterinarians to provide medical reports on juggled kittens who have been rescued out of those dens of iniquity. The reports are an appeal to logos. In clear and clinical language, they describe the toll juggling takes on a cat. The vets write of dislocated tail bones, torn ear lobes, and uprooted whiskers. Free the Feline’s intent is to garner financial support when people understand the physical injuries and the devastating effects of cat juggling. However, the nationals don’t have sole rights to logos rhetoric. Cat Chit Chat could use rhetoric like this as well.

We recommend you enhance your rhetoric with these other sites in mind. We recommend you strengthen your pathos rhetoric with videos of cat juggling in West Fargo, taken at little circuses operating under the cover of exotic pet stores. Moreover, we recommend you acquire local veterinarians to provide similar medical reports as seen on the Free the Felines site. In that way, you leverage medical authority, an appeal to ethos, and describe the logical conclusion of disfigured kitties, which is an an appeal to logos. With strengthened appeals, the money from English educators, who are all overpaid and underworked, will come purring in.

Mr. Sorrells


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