I have no idea who this person is. I can’t even be sure what sex they are. The hand looks female but it is far from clear. What is clear is that this person allows themselves to be bitten or scratched by their cat to an extent which is unhealthy for them and I’d argue also for their cat. The picture comes from Twitter and is unattributed. OR…the person handles lots of feral or semi-feral cats and finds it very hard to avoid scratches. I am proceeding on the first assumption!
I have described the person as a masochist. That may be extreme but it might not because you don’t let a cat do this to you unless something is wrong.
It may be an example of what I’d describe as self-harm by proxy. It’s not doing self-harm directly to oneself which is very obvious and direct but placing oneself in a situation where harm is done to oneself and encouraging it.
The ‘damage’ is minor in that the scratches are superficial but they are extensive. I have never seen a hand so extensively scratched and bitten. They are mainly scratches as opposed to bites but their is inflammation as well.
It is quite easy to achieve this sort of damage to your hand when interacting with your cat. All you have to do is know what motivates your cat to bite your hand as if it is toy (e.g. overstimulate the belly area) and then while your cat is full engaged in biting it you try and remove said hand. Your cat will resist and hang on as if she is holding onto prey. The forepaws as you can see in the photo grasp the hand. I suspect the claws of these paws are the ones that caused the damage and/or the hind claws raked the hand as well.
Domestic cats will hang on to a person’s hand and rake it with their hind feet. If you want to stop it you (1) distract your cat with your free hand using a tease or some other object which catches the cat’s eye and (2) ensure that the trapped hand is passive while moving it slowly out of harm’s way.
Those simple steps appear to have been deliberately ignored in this case. In the UK, a study found that a lot of school children, the majority being girls, engage in self-harm to help feel that their lives are in control. It is surprisingly prevalent. I have read that in the UK up to 30% of students do it. It is a shocking state of affairs and a terrible reflection on the state of the nation. It is going wrong and the kids are feeling it.
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