Sunday 29 August 2021

Domestic cat recovered from nine stab wounds and was happily rehomed

NEWS AND COMMENT-WIGAN, UK: I am very reluctant to write about the story because nowadays I shy away from writing about cat abuse stories of this nature. There's too many of them and it's been overdone. Unfortunately, the news media do tend to rely upon cat stories which involve abuse. I suppose all news is bad news and it applies to cats like any other topic.

Domestic cat recovered from nine stab wounds and is happily rehomed
Jasmine Dickinson and Katie. Photo: Jam Press/RSPCA.

But I also think that the news media should not have picked up on this story. They say that the cat was stabbed nine times and survived. The cat's name incidentally is Katie and she is a black and white cat as you can see. But, in truth, if this cat had been stabbed nine times she would not have survived. These were not genuine stab wounds but slashing wounds which cut the skin but they weren't very deep. That is why Katie survived. So, the news media have exaggerated this with their title which I have adopted in order to emphasise the point that it is actually misleading.

Another thing about the story which I don't like is that the person who slashed at Katie was mentally ill. He or she didn't know what they were doing. We can't blame them, can we? Perhaps we shouldn't write about people who are mentally ill because it is using their mental illness to make money. The news media are using the mental health problems of this individual, indirectly, to write a story which helps to support their newspaper. I don't think that is ethically correct. I am probably being a little bit picky but I think you have to be if you want to analyse the sorts of things accurately.

Another aspect of the story which is perhaps interesting rather than troublesome is that they say that Katie recovered and was rehabilitated. In other words, she appears not to have been affected mentally and does not suffer from PTSD. Can cats suffer from PTSD? In my view, domestic cats do forget these sorts of incidents if they are adult cats and Katie is seven years of age.

If this sort of trauma had happened when Katie was within her formative first seven weeks of life it would have traumatised her in my opinion. But the news media story focuses on whether she is traumatised by saying that she is a bit scared when strangers come to the home. But this is entirely normal and it will happen to most cats including those who have not been through any trauma. So that aspect of the story is, in my opinion, slightly misleading.

But the good part of the story is that Katie survived and is doing well. She was rescued by the RSPCA and rehabilitated at the charity's Oldham and Bury branch. After two months she was fully recovered and adopted by Jasmine Dickinson, 28, an attractive young woman. Before adoption, Jasmine said that she enjoyed the company of a cat when she was younger and was looking forward to adopt Katie. She applied to the RSPCA and was told about Katie's traumatic story. This made her even keener to adopt her. The adoption was finalised in March and, as mentioned, Katie is now settled into her new home in Wigan.

Jasmine says that Katie is sweet-natured and likes to be near her. Katie is a lap cat and very affectionate. She likes to be petted. All is well, it seems to me.

We don't know the circumstances of the stabbing. Sometimes cat owners become mentally ill. And sometimes people who are mentally ill are able to adopt cats or acquire them. In a better world, in an ideal world, mentally ill patients should not be able to adopt a domestic cat unless they've been cleared by a specialist as not being a danger to animals. 

Domestic cats can probably help a mentally ill person as can domestic dogs. There are many therapy dogs for instance. But I don't believe you can put a mentally ill person with a cat or dog unless you have assessed that form of mental illness carefully and decided that it will not result in animal abuse of any kind.


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