Can a person marry a cat or any other animal? The question is the other side of the coin to a similar question which is: “Is it legal to marry a cat?”
They are slightly different questions. There is a third question! If I marry my cat in a ceremony, is it a binding, legal marriage?
And the answers are as follows. There’s nothing stopping a person marrying their cat in a ceremony devised by that person. It won’t be recognised in law but it does depend upon where you live. In the West such as Europe, UK and USA, a marriage to a cat will not be recognised in law.
In certain jurisdictions it might be legally binding. In 2010 an 18-year-old Balinese man was discovered having sexual intercourse with a cow! He said the cow flirted with him. He was forced to marry the animal to cleanse the village where he lived of the immoral act of bestiality. The cow was then drowned in the ocean! Charming. The man’s clothes were submerged in the sea. That’s an example of a legally binding marriage of sorts between a human and an animal. But it is going to be exceedingly rare I would suggest.
There is a case of a nice woman, Deborah, marrying her cat to stop her landlord from forcing her to get rid of her cat (see above). It happened in the UK. It looks as though the lease on the woman’s property prohibited keeping a cat or any pet I suspect. She wanted to make the point to her landlord that she was very close to her cat companion so that he’d waive the terms of the lease.
“I’m on my last pennies, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I married my cat! I’m terrified of losing India.”
She decided to marry her moggy whose name is India. It was a nice ceremony in a park. She used a friend who apparently is legally ordained for weddings. Deborah wore a tuxedo while India wore a bow tie, cape and gold lamé. It was all very formal but not recognised under UK law and therefore it was not binding under the law. It was symbolic of their relationship and she hoped, as mentioned, that it would convince her landlord to allow her to keep her cat.
Her children were there and they thought that Deborah had lost the plot! I don’t think she’s lost the plot. It’s quite nice if not a little extreme. I’m not sure it is worth doing something like this if it has no meaning other than the fact that you love your cat. You don’t need to have a ceremony to prove that you love your cat. And I don’t think that the landlord would be that impressed. We don’t know how they reacted.
The point is this: the concept of marriage is a human one. Humans devised it and it is for humans. And for it to have meaning it has to be understood to be a lifelong union. Cats won’t understand it and therefore it is meaningless to them. And cats won’t give their consent to the marriage. That’s obvious but it’s a point that needs to be made. On a practical basis, therefore, it doesn’t work from a cat’s standpoint.
The underlying reason why a marriage between a person and a cat cannot be legally binding is because the cat doesn’t understand it. A basic precept in law is that the parties to a legally binding contract must understand what they are entering into. It is the same reason why children under a certain age cannot enter into a binding contract in the UK and probably in other countries. They won’t understand what they are doing.