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Dead cat strategy, or Deadcatting, refers to the introduction of a dramatic, shocking, or sensationalist topic to divert discourse away from a more damaging topic.[1][2]


History and usageEdit

Identification of examples may be considered subjective; some articles citing the technique are listed for illustration:

United KingdomEdit

  • A 2013 proposal to cap bankers' bonuses was compared to a dead cat by Boris Johnson:[3]

There is one thing that is absolutely certain about throwing a dead cat on the dining room table – and I don’t mean that people will be outraged, alarmed, disgusted. That is true, but irrelevant. The key point is that everyone will shout, ‘Jeez, mate, there’s a dead cat on the table!’ In other words, they will be talking about the dead cat – the thing you want them to talk about – and they will not be talking about the issue that has been causing you so much grief.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Clarke; Kellner; Stewart; Twyman; Whiteley (2015), Austerity and Political Choice in Britain, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 96, ISBN 9781137524942
  2. ^ Milbank, Dana (2017-01-25). "Don't get distracted by Trump's 'dead cats'". Opinion. Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  3. ^ Boris Johnson (3 March 2013). "This cap on bankers' bonuses is like a dead cat – pure distraction]". The Telegraph.
  4. ^ Delaney, Sam. "How Lynton Crosby (and a dead cat) won the election: 'Labour were intellectually lazy'". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 March 2017.