Because the divorce rate in China has risen for a 16th year in a row and by 5.2% in 2018 compared to the previous year when 4.37 million couples divorced, a zoo in Changzhou is offering an interesting service. They offer couples the option, for a fee, to put their marriage certificate inside a safe in its lion or tiger cages. They hope that the difficulty in retrieving the certificate will make the couple think twice about getting divorced.
“Should there be any squabbles between husband and wife, we hope they could remember what had brought them together in the first place.”- A zoo staff worker speaking to state media.
The scheme is being compared to an ancient Chinese myth in which sacred beasts were entrusted with treasured items.
Changzhou Zoo has a lousy reputation because at one time, recently, a video went viral in which the workers were seen to be feeding tigers with a live donkey. They simply pushed the donkey into the enclosure to allow the cats to kill the animal. It was an act of cruelty and it outraged animal advocates globally. The picture on this page shows a memorial to the donkey. I guess the zoo learned a lesson about animal welfare.
Divorce and domestic cat welfare
The story begs the question about how divorce affects domestic cats. Globally in the four decades between 1970 and 2010, the divorce rate has more than doubled. The highest divorce rate is in Russia and the lowest in Sri Lanka according to a study.
We know that divorce affects children, in general, detrimentally. Do you think that divorce affects domestic cats detrimentally or beneficially? Looking at it from a simplistic point of view, perhaps the most important thing in a domestic cats life is his or her territory which is called a home range. They are wedded to it (excuse the pun). On divorce it is possible that the cat may have to move to a new home in which case the divorce would be detrimental to the cat.
However, in most cases of divorce the woman stays in the matrimonial home while the man struggles to buy a one bedroom flat and continues to work to maintain two families. In this scenario, it is likely that the woman will retain the domestic cat and therefore the cat will retain his home range. Accordingly, in most situations, I would have thought that divorce does not affect the cat detrimentally and indeed it may be beneficial because any rows between divorcing couples would be eliminated. Noise in the home is detrimental to cats.
Note: I have referred to a classic marriage but respect gender diversity and same sex marriages.