The phrase “sounds like a cat being strangled” or “sounding like a cat being strangled”, or variants of it, is unpleasant to cat lovers. I am not a politically correct person. However I do see the potential problems that can arise out of the use of phrases such as this one.
In my opinion, it creates the impression that a cat has little value. And I know that I keep going on about this but it devalues the cat. It’s probably a phrase that comes out of old English from perhaps 100 to 200 years ago when indeed cats were of less value than today. In England, 200 years ago, we had community cats and far less domestic cats living in homes with their owners.
Cats suffered far more diseases, there were no veterinary services to speak of, cats had a much shorter lifespan and they were viewed as less of a family member and more as a pest, I suspect, by many.
If the phrase emanates from that era then it is misplaced to use it in the 21st-century. Life has moved on. The domestic cat is part of family life for millions of people. They are much loved. There is an emotional connection between cats and people which goes very deep and I think it is slightly insulting to use the domestic cat in a phrase which refers to unpleasant sounds.
To refer to one example. In the newspaper today it is stated that “Neighbours were tormented with ‘dying cat’ violin tunes”. A woman made her neighbours’ lives a nightmare by playing violin music which sounded like a dying cat. A neighbour who asked not to be named said:
“When she played the violin it sounded like a cat being strangled… Living next door to her was a total and utter nightmare.”
I get the message but I don’t like the way the message has been delivered. Incidentally, the woman was served with a noise abatement order by the local council. Council officers removed a guitar, stereo equipment and TV.
The woman concerned is Tsige-Jahna Simmons. She is 30 years of age. Ms Simmons has also been told to pay court costs or her equipment will be destroyed. The “music” could be heard in a car park 200 feet away from her flat and it went on day and night.
She deserves all she receives by way of punishment because this sort of noise pollution is a terrible blight on people’s lives. The fact that she ignored that potential and had a complete disregard for her neighbours indicates that she needs to be taught a lesson.
And please, can we stop using this phrase “sounds like a cat being strangled”. It is unpleasant.