You love your cat but the other day you were badly stressed and you lost your temper with your cat. You regret it.
Does this happen to you? Do you have moments when you lose your rag; lose your cool because you’re struggling with trying to control the million things you have to, to keep afloat? And then during this fraught moment your cat gets in the way. You love your cat but you shout at her. You regret it. Or you pick her up and throw her out of the way. It could be anything. You might even kick her, not too hard but hard enough so that it hurts you emotionally but not your cat. Cats get over these moments if the events are exceptional. If they are consistent or routine you have created a big problem – a fearful cat. The relationship will be dead or dying.
But this note is simply asking the question whether as a good, decent cat guardian you can on occasions through life pressures lose it and take it out on your cat just because she is there and she is vulnerable.
Invariably, on reflection, a good cat caretaker will think about what has happened and feel guilty. A lady or a man – not sure – asked for help on this site. This occurred years ago.
To be candid, I’d expect the domestic cat to take the brunt of some abuse, sometimes, somewhere from a stressed owner. It is not human aggression deliberately directed at the family cat. It is lashing out at anything and it just so happens that the cat is a convenient recipient.
There is a lot of pent up anger within people. It has to be like that as the world moves faster and becomes ever more competitive. It can be very hard to keep body and soul together.
As a person becomes older they become less tolerant to stress. It is as if each of us has a reservoir of tolerance to the battering that life dishes out. The reservoir almost runs dry. The fuse is short. The cat is there. The cat gets in the way or breaks something. He is underfoot and a for split second a nuisance. You kick. Can you see that happening?
The more ambivalent a cat owner is about cat caretaking the more likely it is too happen. A genuine love for cats will be a barrier to this sort of untypical, flash point cat abuse. What can we do to stop it happening? Not a lot because it is the harsh reality of human life. And it is getting worse. It is a question of self-control. Do you have it? Does anyone have sufficient self-control to never release anger or frustration? I doubt it.
Image artwork by Stephen Day (Flickr)