BBC viewers criticise the BBC article ‘My boyfriend dumped me but how do I tell my cat?’

On the BBC Newswatch television programme, hosted currently by Samira Ahmed, viewers called in and criticised the BBC Trending news article entitled ‘My boyfriend dumped me but how do I tell my cat?’ of 14th January. They said that it was trivial and that there were more important news items to report on and discuss such as Trump’s impeachment. They also said that the title was clickbait i.e. designed to get clicks to the BBC site but that the story is shallow.

Abby Govindan and her cat Anjali. Photo: BBC.

I profoundly disagree with the criticisms and not because I love cats and animals. There is a simple reason why the criticisms are unfounded. Companion animals are often considered as members of the family. Pets such as cats and dogs are hugely important to the welfare of the pets’ human guardians.

There are millions of people in all countries whose lives are greatly enhanced by companion animals. When a couple spit up the family’s domestic animal will often miss the departing party and the departing party will often miss the animal. It becomes a three-way split and not a couple breaking up. These are real and important events for people. They are certainly not trivial. There is also the question as to who keeps the cat or dog. Many divorcing couples argue over this issue reflecting the importance of the animal in their lives.

Where a couple are responsible for and live with a cat there is likely to be emotional distress for the cat if one of the persons in the relationship disappears as happened with Abby Govindan,22, from Houston, Texas, USA. Her boyfriend was really close to their cat, Anjali, but he left both. Abby instinctively posted a tweet which went viral acquiring 250,000 likes and 13,000 retweets to strongly highlight the importance of the circumstances to the public.

Screenshot of Abby’s tweet

Abby said that she is more a dog person but she adopted Anjali a rescue cat who provided her with emotional support. She admitted that her ex-partner was a cat whisperer who taught her how to ‘speak cat’. She said that Anjali adored her ex and I say Anjali is bound to feel the loss. I am not being sentimental or anthropomorphising the cat. It is a well established fact that cats suffer from separation anxiety under circumstances such as these.

Anjali would perk her ears up when her ex came home and locked his car. After her ex left home for good Anjali was far more affectionate with Abby.

The people who criticised the BBC for publishing the article are ignorant of the importance of the human-to-cat relationship; the world’s most popular interspecies friendship. It is one that improves the lives of many millions of people across the globe and the love people show to their cat companions is reciprocated. Make no mistake about it.

Finally, the BBC article referred to is complete and well researched. I see nothing wrong with it at all. Indeed I would praise the BBC in commissioning it. And I don’t like the BBC!

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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