In an anonymous question to an agony aunt online, a cat owner asked what she should do after her neighbor’s daughter drove over her cat companion and extraordinarily the daughter’s mother was pestering her to comfort her daughter because she was traumatized.
This is a real story. It happened in October 2017. The neighbor’s 16-year-old daughter was, we are told, driving irresponsibly at the time of the accident. She was driving and texting at the same time. This caused her to drive over the cat which must have been on the road (I have assumed this but perhaps the cat was on the driveway. This would put a different complexion on the matter). The cat belonged to the teenager’s neighbors. The teenager was horrified by what she had done.
The teenager’s mother told the cat’s owner that her daughter was traumatized by what had happened. She wanted to help her daughter. She came up with the idea of asking the cat’s owner to talk to her daughter to try and comfort her. The cat owner is asking for advice as to what to do next.
As expected, the cat owner is angry and as far as she’s concerned the best thing for her to do it to keep her distance from the girl and her family. But the girl’s parents won’t back off. The cat owner simply cannot comply with the request. She thinks the girl is lucky that she didn’t hit a person and kill them. She asks the agony aunt whether she’s behaving badly in not wanting to alleviate the emotional turmoil of the teenager.
What would you do? You can guess what the agony aunt said. She makes it clear that it is not awful for the woman to not want to be involved in comforting the teenager. It is normal for the teenager to feel guilty about what she has done and that she should feel this emotion.
Her parents should talk to their daughter and encourage her to channel her emotions and feelings into productive changes in the way she drives. But this is the girl’s parent’s job. It is not the job of the cat owner. She advises that the next time she meets with her neighbor she should ask them to manage their daughter’s guilt and to tell them politely that she is not available to help the girl manage her feelings of guilt. In other words to be firm with them and let them resolve the matter themselves.
Do you agree with the advice and do have a comment to make? I can think of something but will keep quiet about it this time. If the cat owner should agree to try and comfort the girl what could she say. Something like “don’t worry, it was our fault for letting our cat wander around outside on roads or driveways….” Perhaps it was something like that which the girl’s mother was hoping to receive.
P.S. Sorry no photos for this article. Source: Slate.com