What is a cat worth?

What is a cat worth?

by Michael
(London, UK)

I am talking about suing a neighbour who has shot and paralyzed your cat with an airgun. You know he did it. You spend $36,000 on emergency treatment and surgery and eventually your cat learns to walk again (see the story)

The county court said that you can only recover the market value of the your cat.

In other words the cat is treated as a piece of inanimate metal such as a toaster. We know this. It dates back hundreds of years.

An appeal was made. The appeal court was slightly more enlightened and said that the cat’s owner could also recover the cost of veterinarian expenses. Better but not enough. In fact it was too little too late for the owner as it took so long to get that judgement the cat had died in the meantime.

What is missing in assessing financial compensation is the emotional distress suffered by the cat’s “owner” and in a more enlightened age you could also factor in the emotional distress suffered by the cat.

Both are natural consequences of the injury to the cat. Compensation in personal injury cases concerning people include such factors despite being difficult to measure and quantify.

Most people consider their cat a member of the family. There is a close bond. A violent death or bad injury to the cat has serious emotional implications.

I don’t see why there can’t be a fixed sum assigned to the assessment of financial compensation that recognizes this emotional factor. To simplify things an automatic presumption could be made that there will be emotional distress and the amount reflecting this would be fixed as mentioned.

Many will see this as far fetched and unworkable. Fine. I don’t.

Michael Avatar

Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

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What is a cat worth?

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Jun 08, 2011 No excuse
by: Özge

There should be no excuse of carrying a gun and shooting any kind of living.

Jun 04, 2011 My thoughts
by: Ruth

I agree with you Michael, a cat injured deliberately is worth much more than the cost of veterinary treatment !
A cat is as much a living being with rights as is a person. Imagine if that neighbour had shot a child sitting on the fence, what a different story that would be ! A huge amount of compensation would no doubt have been awarded to the child’s parents or guardian for the child for the pain and distress caused, but why any question at all that the same should apply to a cat ?
No doubt along would come the ‘Cats should be kept strictly indoors’ brigade. But why should they ? A cat has as much right as a dog or as a child or as an adult come to that, to enjoy a fulfilled life with peace to enjoy sitting on his own fence. Doesn’t the law say cats have a roaming commission ?
It’s high time cats weren’t treated like second class citizens any more !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

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