FRIDAY THE 13TH LETTERS: Veracity of ‘Cyclops Kitten’ Photo Questioned

By: Jay DeFoore

A number of readers have written in to say a photo purporting to show a one-eyed kitten distributed through AP is some sort of hoax. AP’s most recent story on the “cyclops kitten” says it went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that the photo is real. Still, questions persist. Here are a few.

UPDATE: E&P’s Joe Strupp examines the cyclops kitten issue in the story, “‘Cyclops’ Cat Photo Draws Worldwide Attention, Some Doubt.”


Doubtful About the Cyclops Kitten

RE: Cyclops Kitten Not a Hoax, AP Assures

There must be something in the water in the state of Oregon, or there’s WAY too much cat-breeding going on there. See this story from June: “Oregon Cat Born With Two Faces.”

From a faithful and long-admiring E&P reader,

Mary Truchelut
Wilton Manors, Fla.


Authentication Offer

We make software that authenticates digital photos for Police Departments. If you forward the photos of the Cyclops cat to us we will run it through our software and can let you know whether the photos are real.

John Kwan


Eye Spy

Regarding the one-eyed kitten….the photo shows a less than 24 hour old kitten with 1 large, wide open, mature eye. The only problem with this photo, and why I suspect that it may not be authentic, is that kittens, similar to puppies, are born with eyes closed. The eyes remain closed for several days after birth…often for about 1 days.

Lisa Mandelin


Bad Bathroom Humor

Hello, I heard the picture of this kitten was actually the back end of the kitten and not the face and that’s why it only has one brown eye!

Have a great day!

Rodney French


The Eyes Have It

Kittens are born with their eyes sealed shut. They don’t open for many days.

Lisa Ryan


Reaction to Author Fabrications

Re: ‘Star Tribune’ Raised Questions About Frey’s Disputed Memoir in 2003

My memoir, “Biting the Hand That Feeds Me: Days of Binging, Purging and Recovery,” chronicled my fifteenth though twenty-second years and was published in 1986. Even I, just a 19-year-old sophomore in journalism school at the University of Southern California when I began preparing the book for publication a few years prior to that, knew enough to add this line to the Introduction: “Because this book is based on my real life, I have changed most of the character names, physical descriptions and other details regarding peoples lives. Virtually all of this was written as it happened. I have added just a few words here and there if something needed clarification.” And even my publisher, just a small, respected educational house making its first foray into big-time trade publishing, knew enough to leave in that line. For memoirist James Frey (“A Million Little Pieces” from powerhouse Doubleday) to be trumpeting throughout the media that there was no need for a clarification note (soon, however, in light of Frey?s outing it?s been announced, to be added by Doubleday) and that it?s common knowledge that memoirs especially contain embellishments and flights of fiction within them is an insult to caring readers and authors throughout the world. I, and every reader who has ever spoken to me or written to me, believe that memoirs are the most honest of all genres. And honesty doesn?t have to be boring if you are a compelling writer. I have made my living writing for millions of newspaper and book readers in the years since (partially as a weekly syndicated columnist since 1994 for Copley News Service), and even with my little memoir commanded a half hour of precious time long ago on both “Regis & Kathie Lee” and, like Frey believe it or not, on CNN, too, and never had to embellish a word in order for those interviewers to tell me, as Oprah Winfrey famously told Frey, that the book had kept them up nights glued to its pages.

Lisa Messinger
Sherman Oaks, Calif.


In Defense of Frey

There is not one memoir out there that is 100% fact. It is based on a person’s recollection of events. Leave James Frey alone! I would like to find one memoir coming out of Hollywood that has not embellished his/her story.

I read “A Million Little Pieces” and could hardly wait to buy “My Friend Leonard” and was not disappointed in it either.

Janet M. Sutera
Vestal, N.Y.


Thoughts on False Reports

Re: Another West Virginia Mine ‘Escape’ Report Questioned, Then Confirmed

Suggesting that any lesson was learned by the media from the tragic loss of twelve lives in West Virginia is not only hypocrisy; It is also just as ridiculous as the very false reports they are desperately trying to explain.

Just yesterday on a regular NPR hourly newscast, I heard, …the explosion that killed twelve in a West Virginia coal mine last week”… I am neither a rocket scientist nor an expert on nuclear energy. I am in fact, what many would describe as a dumb blind hillbilly. But everyone should know by now, that the explosion killed no one. No format of media enjoys a monopoly on the truth. But I suggest money and the easier path of rushing to judgment could more easily explain this failure.

This isn’t to suggest that anything new is happening now, nor should the media should shoulder the full blame for such failures completely on their own. Does anyone remember it was the same media that dutifully covered Alexander Haig’s appearance at the White House in March, 1981 saying, “I’m in charge here…” This was the picture of a power hungry appointee who couldn’t even keep straight the job he was being paid more than he was worth to fill.

At times like these, we are often hard pressed to advise others either less fortunate or less understanding than ourselves. In that spirit, I would presume to offer the tried and true advice that I know will never fail. If you read, read carefully. If you listen, listen carefully. Never read or listen in a vacuum. Constantly think about the meaning of the words you hear and read. If something doesn’t sound right, look further. Above all, ask more questions!

David Allen
New Zealand


Librarian is Sick of Media Rubbish

I’m a retired librarian who many moons ago was a daily news reporter and UPI stringer. The kind of rubbish Coulter, O’Reilly and others spout would not have been given the credibility of unedited newsprint or airtime “back then.” I admire passionate dissenting views on issues, but the lack of civility with which public discourse is entered upon today is galling. Doesn’t anyone care to target their advertising dollars to educated mature consumers with some sense of personal dignity or must we all fall victim to adolescent buying power and adolescent punditry? Ask not why my TV is mostly turned off, I subscribe to movie services rather than waste money going to the theater and increasingly look to blogs for credible news. Before long people will rediscover playing cards, picnics, sandlot sports and family sing-a-longs to save money and sanity. Dare I hope they’ll rediscover reading books from the library for pure, affordable pleasure and freedom?

Sue Williams
Anchorage, Alaska


Ann Coulter

I wonder if Ann Coulter has a brain. Every Democrat I know has a higher IQ than every Republican I know, and I know plenty of both.

Pam Ross


Who Cares?

Does anybody really care what comes out of her mouth? Does anybody really care what she has to say? Why waste your ink? Nobody cares!

Marc Chess


Final Word on Impeachment

Re: Former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, in Article, Calls for Impeachment Proceedings Against Bush

With regard to the above article — I have a question that your article didn’t address — although it seemed to beg the question.

Why must “impeachment and removal from office will not happen unless the American people are convinced of its necessity after a full and fair inquiry into the facts and law is conducted. That inquiry must commence now.”?

Wasn’t Clinton impeached when most (less than 50%) of the country felt it was unnecessary? In reverse, would it really make any difference if 90% of the country felt that G.W. Bush should be impeached? Why is this about convincing the American people about anything? Instead shouldn’t this be about the law and how brazenly and repeatedly Bush has flaunted it?

Any future articles that look at impeachment I think should include info about the *facts* — otherwise, it becomes a “he says and she says” article without much behind it.

Kathryn Nelson

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