Once upon a time, scientists, who do not favor humans, wanted to breed them back. Actually breed them out. But what about their animals, which they have instead always wanted to stop? The cruelest were cats that are half pigs.
They wanted to stop these animals from being useful for meat or skin or leftovers. Of course, this can lead to anger from the Animal People who do want humans to be extinct. This is where the war began over control of how the dominant animals are bred and harassed.
A European Parliament motion, sited in the European Union, asks people to please kill their cats. This isn’t all that serious. We know that cats can survive far away from humans, a model of behavior of stalking down prey and then defending it to death. Still, the motion continues.
Yes, please kill your cats. Even the AC3 image of a starving Kati Kritikoski, captured by daphne Mauss in France’s Jeune Fille Sanctuary, offers some pleasures for those inclined to see cats as wild or wild animals, as we do. We’ve had the same impulse, after all, and saw animals justly considered cute or really cute.
Here the analogy is gone. Here we are seeing a cat being starved. Not subject to the cruel whims of humans. But something with which we are very familiar. A cat is like so many things, but not all.
The horrible cruelty that people inflict on their pets is well known. Mass strays in Western Europe have not only died in the streets. Chained and housed as if they were dogs, they end up starved to death, literally.
This is different. They are being starved to death in a confined space, often on a single square foot or less of room. One dedicated writer pointed out that each cat could potentially feed more than 100 people. A light appetite might be enough to make them eat more, but some don’t seem able to enjoy these little meals, eating the food in empty moments, before starving to death, without any helpful human to care for them.
A humanitarian impulse to do something morally right might prevail, even though it might not prevent cats from starving to death. Yet what do we know about it?
Of course, the utilitarian ethicists say all sorts of things about the inestimable benefit that cats derive from human hands and the fact that we need the cats for what we call good meat. Perhaps it’s simply a laziness of the mind, the moral doubt that people are too mentally lazy to look hard at the other side of the choice.
Given that the whole point of saying the truth seems to me pretty far from robust moral values, I think there may be more to the problem than laziness.
But many of us do go to church for moral reasons, including ending childhood hunger and looking after the elderly. Our reasons for going to church could be to save cats from starving. Then, if necessary, if no harm had come to those cats, to not go.
The trend now is to say that humans are essentially inferior and should be killed. It’s what motivated the all-powerful governments of various European countries to create the Human Animal Commission in 1972, so that even though they kill people, the religions can condemn this path.
When churches say to get rid of cats, the rest of us can go online or say what we really think to these officious people.
It’s not so much that we are lacking humanity as we are happy-clappy moralists. And we are lazy. Hence cats.
None of this is to declare cats above all else. They are still companion animals, beloved pets of humans and equally loved by animals, and so are certainly people.
They are still on their own and as this outbreak of starvation should make clear, without human care. It’s hard to read about death of such a kind and have the compassion for people to change the way we think about cats and the ways we adopt them.
Worse, the idea that an animal is other might be chilling. And that there are different species besides humans. It’s a nice thought, though, if it happens to work for us.