Why is there cruelty to cats? Where does this desire originate in the mind of humans? It seems difficult to imagine how someone can be cruel bearing in mind the fact that humans have the ability to empathize with other animals. In other words we understand that if we are cruel and cause suffering the animal will feel pain. This should be a form of resistance to causing pain. For some if is not.
Clearly if the person thinks that the cat (or obviously any animal) does not feel pain then there can be neither empathy nor cruelty. That is (at least in part) why some Chinese and Koreans kill cats so brutally and eat them (this is not a racist remark. It is a rational statement commenting on a country's culture).
But cat cruelty is also frequently encountered in the West, in countries such as the UK and USA, countries where there are a lot of animal and cat lovers. Here are two cases; one killed the cat by punching and drowning and the other man killed a neighbors cat by sealing the cat in plastic bags and throwing the weighted bag into a canal.
What is going through the head of people from these countries when they are cruel to cats? They are getting a "high" on an endorphin (or endorphine) rush when they are cruel. When endorphins are released in the brain we feel better. This is the reward, feeling better.
Why should people get an endorphin rush from cruelty to animals? Because being cruel is closely associated with the innate predatory exploits of mankind. Many thousands of years ago (and still today in certain parts of the world) in order to survive humans had to hunt and kill. Successful hunting produces an endorphin rush. The kill, the blood and the side effects of hunting are associated with the release of endorphins. It is the pleasure from this release that helps to drive us.
We get the overlap between the reward of feeling better for successfully killing an animal to survive and the step further for causing pain, a by product of killing.
99% of us rationalize this and control it. Those of us who are living more on their instincts due to a lack of education or poor upbringing or poor experiences step over the barrier and cause pain to cats through cruelty without compunction and take pleasure in the act.
In Britain causing unnecessary suffering to cats (and other proscribed animals) is, under a successful prosecution, punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of 51 weeks and/or a maximum fine of £20,000 under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
One last point but an important point. In the USA 20 million cats have been declawed. This is a legal procedure in the USA even though 99% of the time it is carried out for non-therapeutic purposes. This is cruelty to cats by veterinarians. Shocking but true. Only one place has banned it: West Hollywood, California.
Photo of abandoned cat copyright by iCampbeℓℓ
Cruelty to Cats to Home Page