PETA Draws Backlash for Pairing Photo of Dissected Cat With Viral Cake Meme

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has recently drawn a backlash after sharing a photo on Twitter of a dissected cat in response to a newly viral cake meme.

"Not cake #cutoutdissection," the animal rights organization wrote as a caption to the photo showing a cat with its face cut in two.

The photo comes as the cake meme has gone viral, with videos of cakes made into everyday items and being cut in two. Just last week, BuzzFeed's Food Twitter account, Tasty, reposted a video from Turkish dessert artist Tuba Geckil and showed clips of several different everyday items as cakes.

"These are all cakes," the tweet from the Tasty Twitter account read, showing cakes made into such items as a roll of toilet paper, a bar of soap, a banana and even a pizza. The post quickly gained traction across social media, with many discussing the beauty of the cakes, while others joked around, wondering how many items around them could be a cake, as the video showed.

"I'm so traumatized I thought this was going to be a cake," Twitter user Kara Brown wrote along with a video that showed pancakes being cut, joking that they could in fact be a cake.

Shortly after PETA's post alluding to the viral cake meme, people across social media began to criticize the organization for sharing the picture of the cat being dissected.

"PETA makes me so angry. Tweeting any sort of gore is a way to traumatize people. It doesn't create vegans out of nothing; it is an upsetting, triggering method of flexing moral superiority, like showing porn to children to make them go 'ew, gross,'" New York Times best-selling author Seanan McGuire wrote on her Twitter.

"PETA out here showing dissected animals on twitter thinking that will move people to support people. All I've been seeing is people unfollowing them and blocking them. Bombarding people with animal gore is not how you get you message across," Twitter user iilluminaughtii wrote.

Several others warned their fellow social media users against clicking on the graphic picture.

"(If you see PETA trending I strongly advise you do not click on it. Their official twitter shared an extremely graphic image of a dead cat and chose to make a crude joke about it to push their weird, gross agenda. F*** PETA)," wrote Twitter user MezuzahTheCat.

"If you see peta trending please dont [sic] click it. it includes a really traumatic picture of a cat death," Twitter user laxeanfortis wrote.

In response to the backlash, PETA tweeted, "If you find this photo offensive, help PETA," with a link to its website.

In an email sent to Newsweek, PETA said, "While Twitter was busy discovering that anything could be cake, PETA posted this cat image to call attention to the cruel dissection industry, which supplies animals to classrooms across the country. The photo is shocking, but the truth is even more macabre: Students are still forced to cut up dead cats, frogs, pigs and other animals for a grade, even though modern and superior methods exist.

"Nearly 10 million animals every year are abducted from their natural habitat, taken from slaughterhouses or bred in captivity and killed for classroom dissection," the email continued. "The use of animals for this purpose is disturbing and speciesist—and we hope our tweet sparks a movement to end it."

This story was updated to include a statement from a PETA spokesperson.

Pastry chef Gabriel Pang Yue Ken makes a cake designed to resemble a roll of toilet paper at Le Pont Boulangerie in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Mohd Rasfan/Getty