There are people who learn to hate their cats. They have lived with their cats or cat for many years but they fall out of love and then they fall into hatred but they struggle to decide what to do next. These people should never have cats because at the inception of their relationship with cats their attitude is flawed. They are ambivalent about the domestic cat. They are unsure about the character of the domestic cat and the responsibilities that they have to discharge in caring for them over their lifetime. If you go into a lifetime relationship with ambivalence it is likely to go wrong.
A 15-year-old article in The Guardian newspaper highlights these difficulties. As the article garnered 200 comments we are able to delve into the minds of people other than the author to see why they hate cats, too. The article is written by Dave Hill and he starts off by saying, “I have three pet cats and I really hate them all.”
When you read that sentence your immediate thought is, why didn’t you find someone suitable to adopt them from you? To take them off your hands because it can’t be good for either the cats or you. He renamed one of his cats from Marmalade (obviously a ginger tabby) to Stinky. She had a thyroid problem which resulted in her faeces smelling (hyperthyroidism does cause diarrhoea). She went to the toilet in the litter tray and the tray was in the basement but he hated the smell. However, she sometimes missed or defecated on the edge of the tray when “the tray is on the full side”. On the full side! The reason why she was not defecating inside the tray is probably because Mr Hill was not doing his duty in ensuring that the tray was clean. A cat should never go into a cat litter tray if it’s full of faeces.
You wonder if he provided more than one tray for his three cats. He should have provided four trays for three cats per Jackson Galaxy’s advice. You could argue that the reason why he hated Marmalade is because of his actions. Or lack of action.
He also hated Sneezy who he used to call Smudge. He did not like the way Sneezy sought attention by clawing his arm. When he denied him the attention he craved he sneezed all over him. He hated this. I can understand that but I think he’s exaggerating. Cats don’t claw their owners to get attention. Sometimes they quite gently place their paw on your arm and their claws might be out slightly but it is no big deal. It is a big deal if you are ambivalent about caring for a cat. If you love cats and have the right mindset then it is no problem and indeed it can be dealt with using a bit of judicious, gentle, informal training. But that takes some effort and, once again, if you are ambivalent about domestic cats you are not prepared to deliver that effort. And so the relationship deteriorates.
Cinders was renamed Scratchy. She had an allergy to fleas. This is a terribly uncomfortable condition to suffer from by the way. But she was still loving to him; too loving according to Mr Hill because he said, “and as soon as my fingers go to my pristine Mac mouse, she begins nuzzling my hand with a persistence that borders on aggression”. A loving form of behaviour was described as aggression by Mr Hill. Not a good look and clearly indicative of a person who did not have the right mindset.
Because of this mindset Mr Hill was reluctant to spend any money on their treatment. For example, he was reluctant to pay the hundreds of pounds it would take to treat hypothyroidism. He considered euthanasia for all three at a much reduced cost. He asked whether he was heartless, ruthless and cruel. And I think he was serious about what he was saying.
So to some comments. One commenter said that his cat had become burdensome because he nagged him for food all the time. He said that he would not pay the £60 fee to euthanize him! I think he was kidding when he said that but there may have been an element of truth in it. You cannot hate your cat because he asks for food.
And another person said that he hated cats because “they stick their claws in you if you try to be nice to them”. A silly comment. Actually, a ridiculous comment. If cats were sticking claws in him when he was nice to them then he was mishandling them and interacting with them in the wrong way. The problem is his. And that, I think, is a good observation. Nearly all the time when a person hates domestic cats, the problem starts with the person. It’s up to people to relate to cats in a way which ensures that the relationship is stable and loving.
Another person said that he could not see a problem with extinguishing the life of an animal painlessly. I don’t get that at all. The only time that euthanasia is justified is if it has a humane element which means that you release a cat from a chronic condition causing distress and pain which often occurs towards the end of the cat’s life. Other than that the process is called killing.
Despite the people who agreed with him, at least 50% of people who commented strongly disagreed and criticised him for being a poor cat owner. One person wrote (and I agree with him or her): “It’s despicable how people think the lives of all creatures other than the exalted human are worthless”. Not entirely true but I get the point.
Dave Hill should never have been a cat owner. Perhaps they were living with him because his partner (if he had one) insisted as she loved cats. Now that is another story.