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VIDEO: Freefalling felines stir up controversy

Posted at 8:42 AM, Nov 18, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-18 08:54:44-05

NEW YORK (CNN) – The fur is flying over skydiving cats, even if the skydiving cats are not really flying.

It all started when a Swedish insurance company asked its customers to suggest web ads.

Eva, who insures her cat with the company called Folksam, suggested skydiving cats spelling out her name and putting it to R Kelley's song “I Believe I Can Fly” was a stroke of genius.

The high-five midair should have been the tip-off but some pet-lovers were upset.
In fact, they said the video was not funny or cute, but cruel and disturbing on so many levels.

However, the company's marketing director says animal rights advocates have nothing to worry about.

“I can reassure all cat-lovers that the cats have not been skydiving for real,” Folksam’s Marketing Director Lena Strand said.

In fact, the five cats that starred in the commercial never left the studio.
People were shot skydiving, then replaced with cats through the magic of green screen. They even used a fan on 4-year-old Sarah for that windblown look.

One person reacted online by posting an aerodynamic cat with the message, "this kitty don't need no parachute."

Actually, skydiving dogs are a lot more common, like Bugsy the pug featured on animal planet.

The Florida rescue dog skydives strapped to her owner. She has her own oxygen mask,her own goggles. To her it's the ultimate car window. 

Other skydivers made the leap clutching an inflatable shark to put some teeth in their jump.

CNN did dig up one snippet of video of a real cat skydiving.

Four years ago a member of a Russian parachute club sewed a jumpsuit for his cat.

The cat seemed calm until right before they leaped. But his owner said after they landed safely: he (the cat) didn't even pee himself unlike a lot of people do the first time they jump.