Where do I report if the words in this exercise (choose an option) were shown in a wrong order - from the end to the begining? It was confusing, I didn't realize what happened. In my app (windows phone) it happens all the time, in all the exercises, it's weird but I'm used to it. But in the full version this is the first time...
So the RTL issue (both in Windows Phone and in the browser) is a generic Duolingo issue, not related to this course (although this course may be the only one that suffers from it).
Yes, it still applies. However, very few people do this consistently correctly. Most of us will just say it the way that sounds "correct" to us, and different people have different levels of "ear" for correct pronunciation.
In short, you will not sound uneducated if you say "hachatul".
This is not a "written" vs "spoken" thing either, because Hebrew is hardly ever written with Nikkud, and without Nikkud "hachatul" and "hechatul" look just the same: החתול.