Sometimes domestic violence is carried out at the same time as violence against a companion animal. They are part of the same event rather than animal abuse preceding abuse against a person. I am sorry that this is a sordid subject but it is in the news and it reminded me of the pre-school child hitting the family’s cat.
I have asked myself why some men beat up the woman – wife or partner – that he supposedly loves. I don’t see a a conclusive report on the psychology of it. There are probably many reasons. Here are some:
- the man is insecure and beating up his wife makes him feel as if he is in control. He can dominate in the only way possible: physical force.
- the man has witnessed domestic violence as a child. He has soaked it up and simply replays it.
- the man has an anger management problem. This is not infrequently encountered.
- the man has a drink problem.
- the man fails to take responsibility for his actions.
Often the woman does not walk away from the relationship immediately. This reinforces the violence against her. It validates it and in the eyes of the man makes it acceptable. Battered women can play a role sometimes.
If and when the woman puts her foot down, he will stop but with great difficulty because wife beating is hard-wired into the violent man’s head like an addiction to alcohol or drugs.
A recent case is an example of how animal abuse and human abuse can run in parrallel. In this instance a young man, Travis Warner-Tamerius of Southeast Portland, admitted assaulting his then girlfriend and also slapping and punching his ex-girlfriend’s tabby and white cat several times.
Both human and animal were hurt. It appears that the cat was hurt more than the woman. The cat ended up with a swollen face and nerve damage. He couldn’t eat or drink. The cat has been properly treated by a vet and rehomed. I don’t know if the cat suffered lasting damage.
It seems that Travis Warner-Tamerius hit the cat because the cat was an extension of his girlfriend. It is almost as if he was treating them as one.
There may be incidences where the woman declares to the man that she prefers her cat. The insecure man becomes jealous and hits the woman and the vulnerability of the cat allows him to hit the cat in the same way.
When a man to punch a cat as if he is punching a person, it indicates that he is treating the cat as a person almost. That may be the case as cats become family members and are often anthropomorphised by their owners.
One conclusion I would draw from the Travis Warner-Tamerius case and others like it is that a woman who is battered by her husband or boyfriend should walk away from the relationship immediately after the first assault. This is because the man is very unlikely to change no matter what he promises and the situation puts her cat under a real risk of incurring life threatening injuries the next time it happens.
She has to think of the two of them, herself and her cat. That is the nature of having a relationship when you care for a cat. In some ways the safety of a woman’s cat is a better guide as to what to do. A person can accept being beaten by their husband and cat find a reason why she should stay but her cat will not normally leave the home and find another. He is in a more vulnerable position..