This is a slightly provocative post. It is deliberately so. There is probably or possibly a link between cat abuse and the modern Siamese cat (and the Persian cat). The modern Siamese cat, as I have called it, is the super slender, cat with the exaggeratedly elongated face and giant ears that is far removed from the original.
The reason why this cat breed exists is because a lot people like it. That has to be the reason because these people created it through selective breeding. The whole process was extremely purposeful. It took a lot of effort and a long time; about 40 years of selective breeding. The breeding of this cat is not cat abuse although people with more extreme views than mine might be inclined to call it that.
We know what cat abuse is. There is quite a lot of it about. The cat gets a raw deal. It seems to be a ready made target for people who want to vent their anger. Often there is a connection between animal abuse and human abuse. One leads to the other.
However, perhaps a more disconcerting fact is that studies on animal abuse indicate that “Mr. Average”, the “normal person” and your respected neighbour can be an animal abuser who sees nothing abnormal in harming his cat.
This is a very important aspect of animal abuse. Animal abuse has many forms. It is not just about assaulting and hurting animals. Simply keeping a cat in a sterile environment like a basement or a garage for his or her entire life is a form of animal abuse. Declawing cats is another form of animal abuse which remarkably is condoned by American society including professional people. A lot of people abuse their cats in relatively mild ways without even realising it.
If some apparently normal people fail to see anything wrong in various aspects of animal abuse something fundamental is wrong. What is it? Well I think the underlying cause behind both the overbreeding of the Siamese cat and pure animal abuse is the same. The source of the problem is that the world is human-centered and the animal is controlled by humans, domestication being the obvious example of human control over animals.
The argument is that before humans domesticated animals and became farmers, they were hunters. As hunters they had respect for the animal they hunted. Perhaps one of the key elements of people’s relationship with animals before they became farmers is that the person and animal were more equal. The hunter had to meet the animal on the animal’s terms and in the place where the animal lived. Those circumstances demanded that the person respected the animal.
Now in the modern world, the cat, for example, lives in an environment of the human’s making. The full-time indoor cat is the embodiment of this total control over the domesticated animal. Where there is that level of control the human opens himself up to tapping into his weaknesses one of which is the abuse of creatures more vulnerable than himself. I think this is a form of the well known phrase, “absolute power corrupts absolutely“. Or the fact that power tends to corrupt people’s morals. Our absolute power over the cat can lead to corrupted behavior. For creationists (people who believe God created the world), overbreeding the Siamese cat is a akin to behaving like the creator because the breeder creates a new animal never seen before and which is to their liking. They believe they are improving on what God already created.
My thanks to P.L. Bernstein one of the authors of The Welfare of Cats.
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