This is the story of a domestic cat called Bradley who is said to have a severe personality disorder by her chavvy former foster carer because does not like to be locked up and neither, apparently, does he like people although that is in question judging by what I have gathered from an article written on the Daily Mail website.
Note: People should hesitate before diagnosing domestic cats with human mental conditions. Ninety-nine per cent of the time it won’t be a mental condition but a personality trait being expressed under certain environmental conditions that the cat dislikes or finds difficult.
This is an interesting case. We are told that Bradley, a male ginger rescue cat, does not like people or being locked up and that he has a “split personality” – a Jekyll and Hyde character. When he is locked up he tries to escape. Sometimes when he is stroked he doesn’t like it and apparently he has scratched his owner. Because of this behaviour he has been branded a cat with a “severe personality disorder”.
“He is just like Jekyll and Hyde – one moment he will let me stroke him but the next moment he will just go for me with no warning.” (Zoe Whittaker) – comment: this is not strange cat behavior. Often stroking can lead to play activity in the cat which then leads to play aggression and then stronger aggression wound up by the human caretaker.
“Bradley is a lunatic cat – he is a complete one off and really does have special talents. He’s a right character….When I first picked him up I realised straight away he was one of those cats who didn’t like being stroked.” (Mr Richards who runs a cat charity)
Do you see the problem? They have tried to stroke him. Not all cats like this. Some dislike it more than others. Does this make him ‘mad’.
I don’t know exactly what happened in this household but it can be stated with some certainty that this cat has not got a severe personality disorder. He’s got a mind of his own. He might not like people that much. He might be quite wild in his character. He might distrust people and be anxious. He might prefer to live on a farm. But all these things bundled together do not mean that he has a severe personality disorder. It just means that he has a character of his own which may be difficult for humans to cope with. It just means that he likes certain things and dislikes other things and what he dislikes are what cats typically dislike.
Bradley is a rescue cat. He may have had a bad past during which he learned, perhaps, to distrust people. However, when he was at the veterinarian’s clinic he behaved impeccably and he allowed the people there to stroke him. Therefore he cannot dislike all people all of the time. This indicates that he has been living in the wrong households with the wrong people.
The person who agreed to foster him from a rescue centre (Friends of the cats in Accrington, Lancashire) was 41-year-old mother of four Zoe Whittaker. I hate to say this but I will say it anyway. Look at the picture below of her hands and look at her nails.
When I see nails like that I see a person who is unlikely to be thoughtful. Sorry to say that but that is just my opinion. They are indicative of the person’s character: chavvy. Am I being snooty and prejudiced?
In addition there are four children living in this home and Zoe is a single mum. You get the picture. This environment is far from ideal for a cat. Perhaps there was lots of noise and mishandling of Bradley. I don’t know but I think it is fair to make that suggestion. If I am correct it is unsurprising that Bradley was behaving in a way which indicates that he was anxious and defensive.
Zoe Whittaker decided to give Bradley back after he attacked her and caused damage to a carpet in the living room. I don’t know how or why the carpet was damaged. But I do know, according to the report on the Daily Mail website, that she put Bradley in a bedroom with the door firmly shut and he managed to escape by jumping up and pulling down the door handle. Well, Zoe locked him in the bedroom! It doesn’t surprise me that he wanted to get out. He had the intelligence to actually do it.
Bradley does not like being cooped up in either a room or in a cat carrier. The fact of the matter is that no cat likes to be cooped up like this. All domestic cats that I know dislike being in a cat carrier. Most often they remain passive but sometimes they try and escape. This is normal behaviour. It is not the behaviour of a cat with a split personality. Neither is it the behaviour of a cat who is deranged and vicious as described in the Daily Mail article.
When a person is bitten or scratched (and I have said this before on numerous occasions) it is normally because the person has mishandled that particular individual cat. Sometimes you have to handle a cat quite roughly under certain exceptional circumstances but usually in a home you learn to handle a cat in a way which the cat finds acceptable. It is the duty of the cat owner to learn what his/her cat finds acceptable by way of handling. A cat owner cannot presume that their cat would like to be handled or like to sit on their lap et cetera. While the person is learning what their cat’s likes the person has to be extremely sensitive and patient towards their cat and avoid forcing any issues or forcing the cat to do something that he/she might find uncomfortable.
Obviously Bradley isn’t the easiest domestic cat to deal with or to live with but I strongly feel that all the aggravation could have been avoided with a different approach from the people involved. And it is unfair and unwise to brand him a cat with a severe personality disorder.
You can read the full, verbose, over-engineered and misleading story here.