Every time you masturbate... God kills a kitten
"Every time you masturbate… God kills a kitten" is the caption of an image created by a member of the website Fark.com in 2002 that quickly became an internet meme. The image features a kitten being chased by two Domos, and has the tagline "Please, think of the kittens".
The phrase originally appeared as the headline "Fact: Every Time You Masturbate, God Kills a Kitten. How Many More Have to Die?" with a kitten photo on the cover of The Gonzo, a satirical publication produced by students at Georgetown University, in 1996.
According to a New York Times Magazine article on Domo-kun, "Any major exhibition on the history of clowning around on the Internet would have to include [this image]". The article also described the meme itself as "resembling a public-service ad, with text that is sophomoric, funny and not worth printing here," adding "it has been referenced and forwarded so many times." An article from ICv2 stated, "This phony [Public service announcement] is quite out of character with Domo's image in Japan."
In 2003, actor Dudley Sutton referenced the phrase, commenting "There is this thing on the Internet where apparently people say that every time you masturbate God kills a kitten. I thought it was fascinating."
XXXchurch.com used the retouched kitten image in an e-mail campaign. Westwinds Community Church held events which included presentations by Craig Gross, the founder of XXXchurch.com, which soon became the target of criticism from the church's community. Fox News quoted Jay Porter, an individual who used to attend the church; Porter stated "'God kills a kitten every time you masturbate' is not an advisable message to direct at children".
In 2006, The Independent published an article which briefly referenced a "sex club called Killing Kittens," a name inspired by the phrase. Later, in 2014, The Guardian reported about Emma Sayle, the founder of Killing Kittens, detailing it as a company which organizes sex parties for young models and actors. When asked about the name of her company, she stated, "it's cyber-slang – every time someone masturbates, God kills a kitten. It's about pleasuring yourself, so it fits quite nicely with our brand."
When appearing in the media, the phrase is sometimes varied. For example, in 2003, Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee maintained a screensaver that showed kittens chased by vengeful ninjas, and the cut line, "Every time you masturbate, a ninja chops the head off a kitten."
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- Bee dazzled: "It was very crazy and unexpected" to be whisked from Toronto to New York to make news that amuses, The Daily Show’s Canadian component tells Simon Houpt", The Globe and Mail, page R3, November 24, 2003