Nothing chaps my hide quite the way maligning cats does–or any animal, actually.
The above article went viral on social media with lots of people agreeing with the claptrap reported within it.
When I posted online saying, “Nonsense! I have been around cats large and small, domesticated and captive wild, and –just like human beings, they are individuals. Some would kill you, most won’t.”
The cats I have right now are cases in point.
Patches, my tortoiseshell, is so loving and mellow that, even when she had one of her toes caught painfully in a grate in the bottom of my kitchen sink, she did not offer to bite or scratch or claw or jump while I worked for more than two minutes using mineral oil to free her.
My other cat, Hunter, has hunting instincts. I have no doubt that if he were leopard sized and I was foolish enough to run around or wrestle with him, he would hurt me (quite by accident, but hurt me nevertheless; he does at his present size!).
When I jumped to the defense of cats, large and small, and explained how getting to know them intimately as beings and handling them properly makes all the difference, the case of Roy Horn and his white tiger Montecore was thrown in my face. Roy Horn himself did not blame Montecore. He said he had high blood pressure and got dizzy and fell or fainted, and Montecore, sensing that he was incapacitated, dragged him off stage away from prying eyes (the audience) in the same way a mother cat would drag a too-large kitten away from danger. Had Montecore wanted or intended to kill Roy, Roy would have been killed. A tiger knows how to do that efficiently and quickly.
I raised a serval from the time he was five days old until he died of old age at seventeen plus years. He would not have hurt me intentionally for the world. In fact, one time the vet was giving him a shot and I offered to restrain Deaken (my cat) while he did that. But I didn’t restrain him well enough and the shot was painful, so Deaken pulled his head out of my grasp, turned around and accidentally bit me in the leg while going for his hind quarters to dislodge the stinging needle. As soon as he realized what he had done, he laid down flat on the floor and tucked his head, in effect saying, “I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to bite YOU!”
But Deaken did not like or trust my dad when he was inebriated, and he took a decided dislike, on sight, to an appliance repairman who came into my house. I knew right away to steer clear of the guy because Deaken didn’t like him.
So, the same cat can be peaceable with most and decidedly unfriendly to others, just as discerning people can.
Painting them with a broad brush is unhelpful and discriminatory–as unhelpful and discriminatory as broad-brushing human beings according to race, gender, political affiliation, size, weight, and a million other categories.
Cats are individuals. It doesn’t matter how big or small they are–except for the amount of damage they can inflict owing to their size. They do not deserve to be pigeon-holed as “pocket panthers” or “pint-sized killers” just because they CAN kill, any more than all of us can be categorized that way.
Given sufficient reason, any animal capable of killing can kill. But usually they don’t!
For every lion/tiger/big cat attack you hear of (“if it bleeds, it leads”), there are throngs of human beings caring for lions/tigers/big cats who never get hurt or killed. We just don’t hear about them.
So I call foul on this so-called study! If the researchers were studying captive, research-housed cats, I have no doubt that the cats they were studying would have taken their heads off for the way they were being housed and treated. Those circumstances would make any sentient being less than happy to be alive and antagonistic toward the person/people handling/housing them.