In general (and I stress ‘in general’) there are distinct differences in the behaviour between men and women under the circumstances of domestic violence when there is a family cat in the household. The family cat is the vulnerable, innocent bystander between warring humans (as are children). The behaviour of men and women towards this innocent bystander is quite interesting under the stressful conditions of domestic violence.
A recent story in the Moscow Times informs us how, in general, women react under these circumstances. The Russian woman fatally stabbed her boyfriend in his liver with a kitchen knife when he threw her cat against a wall. The man and woman had furiously argued. Perhaps the argument arose because the man had tried to fix a television set for 3 days without success. Perhaps at that point the woman provoked her partner with her choice of words. Some men don’t like to be criticised for their DIY or bedroom skills. The man took it out on his girlfriend by hurting her cat and the woman, in complete contrast, took it out on the man by killing him. Perhaps she didn’t intend to kill him but her intention was to hurt him.
This story highlights the differences between the behaviour of men and women under these particular circumstances. The man gets at the woman by hurting a companion animal which she loves. The woman by contrast defends the animal and wishes to hurt the man; that is her way at getting at him.
I don’t think the same thing would have happened if the family companion animal had been a dog owned by the man. Or indeed, if the man had owned a cat. I don’t think the woman would have physically hurt the cat under these circumstances.
Why does this happen? It happens because, in general, women are more likely to like domestic cats. We know that. Men are more likely to prefer dogs, we also know that. Therefore the man has less of a connection emotionally towards a cat than the woman but the man knows that his partner/spouse or girlfriend has a close emotional connection to her cat and therefore he realises he can hurt her emotionally by hurting her cat.
What can be done to prevent this sort of thing happening? I believe that a woman who is a caretaker of a cat and who invites her boyfriend to come and live with her should bear mind her cat’s welfare if and when she wishes to provoke her boyfriend/spouse with provocative words. If she wishes to hurt her partner with the use of her language then it would be wise to coldly make plans beforehand to ensure that her cat does not suffer from collateral damage in the potential, ensuing violence.
A domestic cat is, as I frequently say, vulnerable when partners are antagonistic towards each other. I not infrequently read news stories in which the man in a relationship hurts the family cat, hence this article. It is a very noticeable trait. I have never read a story in which the roles are reversed.
However, this sort of behaviour in which the human hurts another human emotionally by hurting a creature that is close to the person is not confined to men. In divorce proceedings women hurt men by forbidding contact with their children because the woman more often than not obtains a order of the court whereby she is the primary carer and therefore looks after the children of the family. This gives her the ammunition to prevent her former husband having contact with the children. So humans like to use vulnerable intermediaries to hurt each other. It is human nature and is very effective.
However, when it comes to domestic cats simple proactive steps can take place to prevent the cat being hurt. In an associated article, more women’s shelters are allowing the woman to bring their domestic cats with them which is very useful step and one more step which helps to protect the domestic cat because on many occasions women remain in the family home to thereafter receive further abuse because they do not want to leave behind their domestic cat companion.
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