According to a 2003 article from the BBC, cats are one of the most beloved and most hated animals in the United Kingdom. The same could be safely said of the status of the cat in North America and many places in Europe. Although there are millions of well-treated pet cats, cats are also victims of sadistic cruelty and violence. Why do people hate cats?
Countries that have been heavily influenced by European customs tend to link cats with infidelity in women and witchcraft. Even a contemporary urban phrase for a little old woman is “crazy cat lady.” Cats are thought to have a bad influence on people. This may have been due to their independent streak and to their very rowdy mating habits.
Attacks on cats (such as setting fire to them, attaching a firecracker to the tail or being doused in acid) seem to escalate around Halloween. Black cats are particularly targeted.
Gardeners are not generally fond of cats because feral cats use their gardens as litter boxes. Feral cats also have to hunt in order to survive and so they can kill the birds, pond goldfish and small creatures that the gardeners do happen to like. In a 2003 survey by the UK’s Mammal Society, pet and feral cats were thought to kill 300 million critters a year. In response, UK cat owners are keeping kitty inside more often.
Cats have been responsible for the extinction of at least five species in the last couple of hundred years, including the Stephen Islands Wren. However, cats are hardly to blame. Compared to human beings, this is a paltry number. Whenever man has decided to bring cats into a new area (like the continent of Australia), the wildlife there cannot adapt quickly enough to escape this supreme hunter.
People who hate cats tend to hate them because the cats remind them strongly of themselves. People who feel overly controlled or restricted will get resentful of an animal that seems to be freedom personified. People who work hard at menial jobs may resent cats because they seem to live in the lap of luxury.
People may also hate cats because they may have had to compete for the affection of a cat lover. The person who feels slighted by the cat lover is usually very insecure and may have other personality issues. Although a cat owner may give more attention to this person rather than the cats, it will never be enough for an insecure person. They eventually say, “It’s me or the cats,” and the cats won.
Unless a person has been attacked by a cat as a baby or saw a pet rodent get killed by a cat, there is no good reason for a person to genuinely hate cats. There is no reason for a person to hate any animal. Abuse of stray cats is often the first step towards becoming a spouse-beater, child beater or murderer.
“ASPCA Complete Guide to Cats.” James R. Richards, DVM. Chronicle Books; 1999.
“The Dell Encyclopedia of Cats.” Barbara Shook Hazen. Dell Publishing; 1974.
“The Lin Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence.” Andrey Linzey, et al. Sussex Academic Press; 2009. Page 143: http://books.google.com/books?id=2vh2iekHcn4C&pg=PA143&lpg=PA143&dq=animal+abuse+link+murder&source=bl&ots=8EuoSGBONu&sig=wCVsUxktAe2V1EbbmoUiu3Ixupc&hl=en&ei=8gD8TOLvBMH58AblsPmXCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CEIQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=animal%20abuse%20link%20murder&f=false
The Mammal Society. “Predation of Wildlife By Domesti Cats in Great Britian.” Michael Woods, et al. March, 2003. http://www.abdn.ac.uk/~nhi775/cat_predation.htm
“Nature: Cats.” PBS. Originally aired 1986.