A friend posted on Facebook about the fact that people should not intentionally scare animals. Animals don’t understand what humans are doing and can’t consent to be scared in a way that a human would go to a haunted house or see a scary movie for a thrill. Doing something to scare them is just cruel and douchebaggy (my words, not his). And it got me thinking about my own scaredy cat.
We don’t know anything about Happy’s early life has he was found wandering the Virginia Tech campus when he was around 6 months old. But one thing we do know is that he is scared of everything. Plastic bags terrify him, footsteps haunt his nightmares, someone sneezing will send him running in terror. Happy is by no means a brave cat. But because of this, I’m all the more protective of him.
I remember one time when I brought someone to the house (that I will not name). This individual saw Happy coming down the stairs and even after I told him that Happy is very skittish, he lunged at Happy and made a loud noise, which caused him to run back upstairs in fear. Although I tried to play it off as harmless in my head, this really bothered me. First of all, because I liked the cat better than this human and felt no need to explain to a grown man why it wasn’t funny that he scared my cat. But also because Happy has major trust issues with people, mostly men, and this asshole was just adding to them.
When you get an animal, you take on all of their personality quirks and problems, and Happy has plenty of both. Lots of people have been over to my house multiple times and have never seen the actual cat. For a while, it was a joke that Happy didn’t really exist and I was stealing someone else’s photos from Facebook to post of this imaginary cat that I had. But Happy is indeed a real Maine Coon and he’s a very skittish one that likes the entire bed to himself and wants to be around my mom as much as possible.
Animals are so precious to me because of all of the reasons why they’re not like people. And one of those reasons is, unfortunately, that they don’t have the cognitive ability to understand when they are not in danger and someone is just playing with them. A scare to them is scary, no matter what the person’s intentions are. Scaredy cats are a fact of life and they deserve to live out their Happy Cat existences without unneeded fear.
So don’t purposely scare animals. It’s not funny. It’s not cute. You’re just an asshole.