TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Animal control authorities are not amused by a fast food chain's marketing stunt encouraging customers to dress their cats in a special take out bag.
Tampa-based Checkers Drive-in Restaurants Inc. is distributing "Rapcat" bags designed with cutaway areas for the cat's legs and tail. The cat's head sticks out the opening of the bag, which is designed to look like to a basketball jersey and gold chain worn by the hip-hop Rapcat puppet in Checkers commercials.
A Hillsborough County Animal Services news release on Monday said forcing a real, unwilling cat into a "Rapcat" bag could be considered felony animal cruelty. The bag's warning - "not all cats will be down with wearing this bag. Do not harm or endanger any cat" - is not enough, the agency said.
"We have no ill will toward Checkers or Rapcat as a character," said animal services spokeswoman Marti Ryan. "Our message is that it is not a good idea to try to stuff a cat in a bag. It's a matter of common sense."
She said the agency is prepared to go to court if necessary to stop the campaign.
Checkers said it means no harm.
"When our Rapcat commercials began airing last fall, they were an overnight success," said Richard Turer, senior vice president of marketing for Checkers. "We received dozens of letters from our guests requesting Rapcat merchandise. Our new Rapcat Web site, cups and carry out bags are all in response to Rapcat's popularity and are intended only as a creative extension of our television campaign."Porn DVD screams prompt sword 'rescue'Urinal Cake 2.0