Very distressed child killed the family cat

Jersey: Clinical psychologist, Miriam Silver, said that research showed that ‘very distressed’ children were cruel to animals.

Disturbed child

Modified original which is in the public domain

In this disturbing case from the island of Jersey in the English Channel of the coast of Northern France, two sibling children were subjected to incest and neglect and forced to eat off the kitchen floor. They were so horrendously abused by their parents that they lacked basic life skills when ‘rescued’ from the family home.

One of them killed the family cat. Hence the reason given by the clinical psychologist. It is an interesting thought and one worth exploring. The children were also ‘very sexualised’ and suffered ’emotionally abusive parenting’. Their mother referred to them as ‘muck’.

They were given dolls by their carers one of whom has been sectioned (temporary placement in a mental health unit) and is in a UK facility. One of the children played out scenes of incest and sadistic cruelty with the doll. The siblings are seeking massive damages of £121m and £117m in suing the government of Jersey. The government has offered £14.5m. The claim is that the health service should have intervened earlier and placed them into care.

It’s well documented that childhood cruelty to animals is the first warning that the individual is on a path to violent criminal behaviour.

According to Psychology Today, almost all perpetrators of violent crimes start off with animal cruelty. However, ‘some researchers (McPhedran, 2009; Piper, 2003) reject the idea that children who are cruel to animals will escalate into more violent behaviors as adults’ ( However, the FBI accept the important link between animal abuse and other serious crimes.

The infamous Boston Strangler, Albert deSalvo, shot arrows through dogs and cats as a child. As an adult he murdered 13 women.

Children who abuse animals have often been abused themselves and/or witnessed it. This link between personal abuse and animal abuse is well known.

I am not a psychologist but the siblings in the Jersey case must have learned to be abusive towards others through their own abuse by their parents. Perhaps they saw it as normal and having learned this norm one of them killed the family cat as the first available living creature upon which to express this learned behaviour.

There are other reasons such as rehearsing violence against a pet as a form of practise in doing the same against a person. Another reason is simply copying their parents’ abuse of animals. A further reason is ‘reenacting violent episodes with an animal victim’ (Psychology Today).

The domestic cat is a terribly vulnerable creature in the family home. Their whole life is dictated to by the standards and attitudes of their human owners. Thankfully most are good cat caretakers. There is a broad spectrum of standards of cat ownership. The example on this page is at the extreme end of bad. But there are many cases in the grey middle zone where cats are neglected in one way or another. That may be overly pessimistic but through my reading about cat ownership, I doubt it. We can do better. let’s put it that way.

Source: Times Newspaper (hard copy).

Associated pages (this is a selection. Please search for more):

Kids Killing Cats

Kids Killing Cats — or trying to – cat burned by two girls for the fun of it – he survived – photo wndrngwlf (Flickr) – Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County – see link base of page Grab a cup … please continue reading

Teens Shooting Cats

Teens shooting cats is a subject I had really hoped I wouldn’t have to report on this summer. Sadly, I was mistaken. Here’s the situation and I have a discussion question at the end. On Sunday, June 5, the police … please continue reading

FB comments (see below)


Very distressed child killed the family cat — 13 Comments

  1. One of the responsibilities of the adult in the household is to instill empathy. They are missing that trait. It’s very hard to fix these kinds of emotional issues even with drugs. They may never be able to live in society and to be honest as bad as I feel for them would never want them in my neighborhood.
    They probably had no concept that killing an animal was wrong since they themselves were little more than animals at that point.
    That said many victims of far worse find the strength to put the past behind and live a better life knowing what they left behind.
    As a child my animals were my comfort in life. Enough said.

  2. As for those kids, I don’t know what to think. It sounds horrific, what they had to live through. But to kill an innocent animal, I just can’t fathom that. Even for young kids.

  3. “According to Psychology Today, almost all perpetrators of violent crimes start off with animal cruelty.”

    Actually, that…..(deleted because of non-compliance of comment rules: gratuitous insult – Admin)

      • I think I’ve got it figured out. Just like Trump accidentally admitted in a Tweet that anything he doesn’t like, disagrees with, or proves him 100% wrong; he calls it “Fake News”.

        The only difference between your and his manipulative immorality and pathological self-deception is that you have the advantage of editing or deleting anyone’s proof that you are 100% wrong before everyone else can see it. I get it now. I bet if you could prevent everyone in the world from having access to Google to find out for themselves that you are 100% wrong the majority of the time that you’d find a way to do that too.

        • Your comment is pure bullshit. You insulted me and that is breach of the rules in making comments. Therefore your comment was deleted. You know what the rules are and you broke them. So please go away and stop wasting my time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please try and upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks. Comment rules: (1) respect others (2) threatening, harassing, bullying, insulting and being rude to others is forbidden (3) advocating cat cruelty is forbidden (4) trolls (I know who they are) must use real name and upload a photo of themselves. Enforcement: (1) inappropriate comments are deleted before publication and (2) commenters who demonstrate a desire to flout the rules are banned. Failure to comply with (4) results in non-publication. Lastly, please avoid adding links because spam software regards comments with links as spam and holds them in the spam folder. I delete the spam folder contents daily.