Mew

When I read about someone killing another person, my reaction is pretty much “That’s terrible.” – I’m slightly saddened for the deceased, for society, and indeed for the killer (in decending order of sadness) and I hope that the family of the deceased can cope, and that humans continue to evolve so that this sort of thing no longer happens, and that the killer is kept the hell away from other people he[1] can harm, and that he maybe sorts out his shit enough to cease being a fuckstick.

However, when I read about someone killing, or even mistreating, a cat .. well, my reaction is such that if I saw that person on fire, I wouldn’t even piss on them to put them out. I hope they die in a fire. Alone. And afraid.

This is a rather odd dichotomy, given that if you asked me, I would tell you that people are obviously more important than cats.

Perhaps one has this reaction because people can in general look after themselves when contending with other people, and cats clearly cannot.

[1] Statistically, it’s bound to be a dude.

11 thoughts on “Mew

  1. Seconded. I’ve often noticed that my reaction to something horrible happening to the helpless (or the seriously less strong) is several magnitudes more extreme than if the victim had a reasonable chance.

    Elderly people, children, small(ish) animals, the sickly, etc

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  2. Perhaps one has this reaction because people can in general look after themselves when contending with other people, and cats clearly cannot.

    That’s certainly it for me. My emotional reaction when animals are mistreated is similar to that for small children.

    It probably also accounts for the different attitudes people have towards predators like wolves or tigers. If you don’t have to deal with them personally, they seem pretty defenceless against humanity in general. But if you have to protect your livestock from them frequently, it might feel like they’re not the victims.

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  3. I’ve wondered about this on many occasions because I react to these situations in the same way. One thought I had is that it has something to do with the fact that animals are unable to speak so if they are being mistreated they are unable to let anyone know or cry out or even try to reason with their abuser. That’s just one thought I’ve had. And I also feel that we, as humans, should be protecting animals even the ones who are bigger and stronger than we are, because we have the ability to reason and they generally don’t. That isn’t a reasoned argument at all but it’s the main gut feeling I’ve been able to come up with so far…

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  4. I’ve just spent a weekend with a LOT of elderly relations – y’know, the kind who knew my parents as kids… The whole weekend was filled with “Aunty X has got cancer…” “Cousin J seems to have dementia” “So-and-so crashed their car.” Terrible things all weekend. Then I got back to Wellington, popped into the shop to see my husband and got: “The cat seems to have a limp this morning”. My world comes crashing down… I’m home, after a fairly quick trip over the Rimutakas – can’t find Salem. Am reduced to calling neighbours to see if he’s been there… Imagining him lying up somewhere hurting, and I can’t find him.

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      1. Update

        Found him – on the roof of the shed, and unable to get himself down due to sore leg. So after climbing up and bringing him down, then putting dettol and bandaids on my arms… He’s been to the vets and back. No idea what’s wrong, so we’ve got a watching brief. He’s had a couple of shots of antibiotic and anti-inflam to hopefully sort it out.

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  5. When I was working at Resthaven, I arrived to work upset one day, because I’d passed a dead cat on the road. My bosses pointed out that I was an undertaker, and that I handled dead bodies on a daily basis, and I replied “but-but th-hey were hu-hu-HUMAN!” and burst into tears.

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  6. I think the thing for me is that when violence occurs between (adult, able bodied etc) humans it’s usually in the context of a relationship. Some acts of violence are completely random but most of the time there’s at least a bit of history between victim and aggresser – the violence is never OK but it’s often understandable. When the victim is an animal it’s a lot harder to find a reason.

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