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Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Kittenz vs the Cat: why Doja is at war with her own fans

In a Sunday night scuffle, Doja Cat took to her newly minted Threads account, letting fans know their Kittenz moniker belongs in the litter tray. A frenzy ensued, one that raised questions for both the disgruntled artist and her entitled fans

While most people spend their Sundays going for a walk or cooking a roast while cripplingly hungover, Doja Cat has spent hers locked in a battle with her own fans in a series of now-deleted posts. Yesterday (July 23), the musician posted to her Threads account, declaring that her “fans don’t name themselves shit. If you call yourself a ‘kitten’ or fucking ‘kittenz’ that means you need to get off your phone and get a job and help your parents with the house.”

Unsurprisingly, the Kittenz weren’t too happy. An account named thekittenzweb responded, asking the star: “what should I change my name to since you don’t like the term kitten”, to which Doja replied, “just delete the entire account and rethink everything it’s not too late”. Another user pointed out that the moniker was only adopted in reference to her stage name, but the rapper replied saying she gave herself the title when she was an “alcoholic teen”.

Doja then went on to lambast the account amalazandiledlamIni for using her “government name” [Doja’s real name is Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini] as their Threads handle, adding that it was “creepy as fuck”. The account then responded with “LORDD A DOJA NOTICEE 🤍🤍”, no doubt infuriating the rapper even further.

Amidst the furore, one downtrodden little Kitten bravely raised its paw into the fray, only to be rebuffed by its master. “I wanna hear you say ‘I do love you guys’”, said the user, named, before Doja herself responded: “I don’t though cuz I don’t even know yall”.

A second account with a Taylor Swift avi then replied, saying, “and we don’t know you. But we have supported you through thick and thin”, and added that without her fans the musician would be “working at a grocery store making songs on fucking garage band miss high school drop out”. Not to let anyone get the last word, Doja retorted with “idk why you’re talking to me like you’re my mother bitch you sound like a crazy person”.

Some more barbs were exchanged between Doja and her fans before she seemingly deactivated her Threads account late Sunday night. In response, some top fan accounts with upwards of 45,000 followers began deactivating their accounts in protest of the musician’s remarks. This morning (July 24), Doja then took to her Instagram to post pictures of herself being slathered in a blood-like substance, alongside a clip from the horror movie The Craft, a Biblical etching of Jesus rejecting Satan, and the entire lyrics to The Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror”.

This may seem like a particularly messy battle, but for those paying attention, the catfight shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. In her latest single – aptly named “Attention” – Doja references the tumultuous relationship between an artist and their fans, rapping “Talk your shit about me, I can easily disprove it, it's stupid/You follow me, but you don’t really care about the music.” It’s clear from the lyrics and more mature sound of “Attention” that Doja is clamouring to break free, the song somewhat of a departure from earlier pop hits like “Say So” and “Kiss Me More”. But it’s also clear that she feels unable to do so at the moment, and this outburst against the name “Kittenz” is an example of that. Yes, the title may be a reference to her stage name, but it’s still a little childish – a bit more Toys ‘R’ Us than femme fatale. And the fact that the rapper would specifically tell her fans to “get a job and help your parents with the house” shows that she’s aware her fanbase skews younger and ultimately wants to rail against that.

While it’s true that Doja could arguably have handled the exchange differently – maybe not responded at all –  the fact that a “fan” of hers would brazenly chastise her on the internet, referring to the artist, someone they do not know, as “miss high school drop out” exemplifies the insane entitlement that Twitter stans have for their faves. Sorry to that Kitten, but Doja Cat does not owe you “love”. She doesn’t even owe you music. Granted, the drama surrounding the “kittenz” name was definitely an overreaction, and another example of Doja unwilling to ‘play the game’ to keep her fans happy. But just because there are people out there who have a one-sided, parasocial relationship with a famous popstar they’ve never met, does not mean that said popstar is obligated to prop up that delusion.

It’s also worth noting, however, that a lot of the fans’ displeasure stems from Doja’s alleged relationship with the TikToker J Cyrus, who rose to prominence on Vine in the early 2010s. The content creator has been accused of harassing women on the streaming platform Twitch, allegations that have never been confirmed. In an Instagram comment which looks to have been deleted, Doja seemingly responded to criticism of the relationship, saying “I don’t give a fuck what you think about my personal life I never have and never will.” Although the pair have never confirmed they are a couple, the relationship remains a huge sticking point for many. Doja’s current head-in-the-sand attitude to fans’ objections probably won’t fly for much longer. If this exchange is anything to go by, it looks like the battle of Kittenz and Cat is far from over.

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