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Rebuttal of "Fact" 34

Page history last edited by Chinagirl 11 years, 2 months ago

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34. Kate McCann clutched ‘Cuddle Cat’ in front of TV cameras, claiming it reminded her of Madeleine, and was ‘comforting’. Yet shortly before the sniffer dogs arrived, she washed Cuddle Cat, claiming it ‘smelled of sun tan lotion’. This would make forensic analysis of it much harder. 


Verdict - Misleading. 

Source - Media articles, TV interview, Kate McCann's diary, Police Files.



Summary of Verifiable Facts


  1. Kate McCann carried the soft toy "Cuddle Cat" constantly after Madeleine's disappearance and was rarely photographed without it.
  2. She eventually washed the toy on 12th July, 2007 - 70 days after Madeleine disappeared.
  3. She recorded in her diary that she had washed the toy because it had become "filthy" and "smelly."
  4. The sniffer dogs arrived in Praia da Luz on 30th July - 18 days after Kate washed the soft toy.
  5. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Kate confirmed these details and added that Cuddle Cat was "always" being washed



As with most of the MMRG's "facts", this one consists of several independent statements.  These will be addressed separately.


  1. Kate McCann clutched ‘Cuddle Cat’ in front of TV cameras, claiming it reminded her of Madeleine, and was ‘comforting’.
  2. Yet shortly before the sniffer dogs arrived, she washed Cuddle Cat, claiming it ‘smelled of sun tan lotion’.
  3. This would make forensic analysis of it much harder. 


1. Kate McCann clutched ‘Cuddle Cat’ in front of TV cameras, claiming it reminded her of Madeleine, and was ‘comforting’.


As with all of their "facts", the MMRG do not provide a source for this statement and no record can be found of Kate McCann saying these words precisely.  However, in an interview with Jenny Murray of Woman's Hour, Kate said the following:-



Kate McCann: You know Cuddle Cat, Cuddle Cat's with me now actually (Low laugh) at the moment.  I mean, Cud.. Cuddle Cat was err, is very special to Madeleine, and, ermm, she took it to bed every night and she tended to have it if she was feeling tired or if she was feeling unwell. And because it was special to Madeleine, it's special to me. And, ermm, you know, it does provide me with a little bit of comfort. 



2. Yet shortly before the sniffer dogs arrived, she washed Cuddle Cat, claiming it ‘smelled of sun tan lotion’.

Misleading.  There was almost three weeks between the washing of the toy and the arrival of the sniffer dogs.  The above statement appears to imply that the washing of the toy and the arrival of the dogs were connected.


The Washing of the Toy

According to her diary, which was taken by Portuguese Police and leaked to the media, Kate washed Cuddle Cat on 12th July, 2007. 


From Kate McCann's diary

THURSDAY, JULY 12: I hate the person who took my Madeleine—the same one who has caused all this trouble, who made us feel worthless and mistrustful and mainly who has frightened my beautiful Madeleine. I will never forgive that person/those people for this. Never.


Today I washed the Cuddle Cat. (Madeleine's favourite soft toy and a constant comfort to heartbroken Kate). I was hoping not to have to do it until Madeleine returns, but it was now quite dirty and smelly, unfortunately without the smell of Madeleine on it. XX 



From an interview with Oprah Winfrey


That Cuddle Cat had not been washed for 70 days was repeated in an interview with Oprah Winfrey:-


Oprah:Well I, you know I, I heard you were criticised, vilified for washing the Cuddle Cat that was in her bed what seventy days later err do you still carry the Cuddle Cat, that' the Cuddle Cat

Kate: Yeah I do, it's with me [laughs] Yeah I mean I, I find that quite bizarre really I mean Cuddle Cat always used to get washed you know

Oprah: So seventy days after Madeleine was gone there was a story in the, one of the tabloids about her washing away the DNA from the Cuddle Cat but it had been SEVENTY days.



The Arrival of the Dogs 

The dogs arrived in Praia da Luz on 31st July, 2007.  The inspection report corroborating this can be found here.  To describe eighteen days as "shortly before" is somewhat misleading.



3. This would make forensic analysis of it much harder. 

It is likely that the value of any forensic examination of a toy which Kate McCann had carried around for 70 days would already have been compromised.  Kate McCann did not hide the toy, but rather held it close to her, often pressed against her face and mouth and in full view of the world's media.  One image in particular appears to show how dirty the toy had become.



Note: It is possible that the toy had already been tested (see Additional Notes below) 


False stories about the washing of Cuddle Cat


Kate's washing of Cuddle Cat has been a major bone of contention with some anti-Madeleine case followers.  This has not been helped by false stories which have been propagated by the media and distorted on the Internet.


The issue of Cuddle Cat being washed started after the publication of Kate's diary in which her 12th July entry spoke of her regrets at having to wash it.  However, one badly written article in The Mirror dated 13th September, 2007 suggested that she had initially washed the toy five days after Madeleine's disappearance.


A screenshot of the article is shown below.  Note the sloppy repetition of certain sentences. 



One week later, the Daily Mail reproduced the notion of the toy having been washed twice.  Note that in this article, the Daily Mail speculates that the McCanns were asked why Cuddle Cat was washed twice.  In fact, we now know from the police files that they were not asked about the washing of Cuddle Cat at all!  This is a clear example of how misinformation is propagated from speculation.


From the Daily Mail 20th September, 2007:-


They are also thought to have been asked why the toddler's Cuddle Cat toy was washed twice - information that could well have come from surveillance of phone calls.


Perpetuation of False Stories on the Internet.

There are too many examples of these to cite, but the following is one which takes the existing misinformation to another level. 


Kate McCann & Destroying evidence?
One thing that I always thought strange and this came from kate herself. She made such a big thing about cuddle cat making her feel close to Madelline then it emerged that she had washed the toy the day the child went missing in the washing machine. Surely you'd want the smell of Madeleine to linger not wipe out every trace of her. I wonder if the toy was covered in blood or something incriminating. Why would she have washed the cat the same day? It never made sense to me. Then she was seen clutching it everywhere. That was one of the strangest things to me. What do you think?



The Sun sums up the response to this "fact" very succinctly in an article dated 10th September, 2007:-



CLAIM: Kate washed Cuddle Cat to clean off evidence

EXPLANATION: For weeks beforehand she clasped the toy. If “hiding evidence” she’d have cleaned it straight away.


(or better still - gotten rid of it).


Kate had 70 days to launder the toy which she carried around in full glare of the world's media.  During those 70 days, she clutched it constantly, whether in her hands or pressed to her face and mouth.  Her explanation about the smell of suntan lotion is perfectly straightforward as those 70 days were in the height of summer in a Mediterranean country.  Not only would Kate have been applying suntan lotion to herself several times daily, but also to her twin babies.



Additional Information

It is unclear from the police files precisesly when Cuddle Cat had been examined forensically.  There are suggestions that the toy WAS examined prior to it being taken after the sniffer dog visit.


From The Times dated 21st September 2007:-


Any evidence of Madeleine’s death on Cuddle Cat?

The cadaver dog is alleged to have become excited when shown Madeleine’s favourite soft pink toy, called Cuddle Cat. The cat had become poignant symbol of a mother’s loss as Kate McCann carried it with her at all time from the night of Madeleine’s disappearance.


She washed it four days after the police tests, claiming it had become dirty. The toy was potentially crucial evidence and should have been seized by police very early in the investigation.  


From SkyNews on 13th September 2007:-


It is thought they may also take Gerry McCann's laptop and Cuddle Cat - Madeleine's favourite toy - which has become an iconic image of the case.

Family spokesman David Hughes said he believed Cuddle Cat had already undergone forensic testing. 


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