Man in cat carnage said to be animal lover and reflections on compassion fatigue

This horrifying and extremely disturbing news came to light a few days ago. It was reported that cat carcasses and mutilated remains of cats were discovered in a man’s apartment.

We did not publish this news as we know how disturbing it can be to many readers, especially since it contained very graphic images. We are not even describing the condition of the remains found. Those interested, please google for the news.

Now, there is this follow-up report about the man:

According to this report, a neighbour said that this man was actually an animal lover.

So, what happened??

What could possibly turn an animal lover into a cat murderer to the point of mutilating the poor animals in the most horrific and brutal ways?

Was it simply a case of burnout or compassion fatigue gone horribly wrong?

Did something snap in this person’s head that led him to commit these horrendous acts of cruelty?

It is a psychiatric case?

We won’t know what happened and we will not speculate until there is more news on it.

But I’d like to digress a bit and talk about compassion fatigue, which may or may not be related this case at all.

Compassion fatigue happens, not only to animal caregivers, but also to other professions like teaching, the medical profession, but especially in charitable work.

It is a case where a person does too much until they become exhausted, lose empathy and emotional connection and become indifferent to the cause.

Warning signs of compassion fatigue
  • feelings of helplessness and powerlessness in the face of another’s suffering.
  • reduced feelings of empathy and sensitivity.
  • feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by work demands.
  • feeling detached, numb and emotionally disconnected.

I remember many years ago when a shelter operator who is a well-known animal lover, was overcome with compassion fatigue until she wanted to euthanise all her animals and then kill herself. The plight of this person was highlighted to me and on a personal basis, I managed to raise immediate funds for her and her animals. So her plan did not materialise. Instead, she turned around with the help of friends and the funds raised. Her shelter is thriving now and she is managing it with help.

This is why we always keep reminding all applicants to keep it small and manageable so that it is sustainable. Please know how much finances, time and energy you can commit to and work within these limits. Do not overdo. Do not take on too much until we are no longer able to manage, something snaps inside us and we turn into a horribly disturbed person.

On a lesser scale, I also remember a former applicant who was way over her head in cat rescue. I used to tell her the same thing – please do within your means. As one person, you cannot take on so much, but she hit back at me saying, precisely these words: You can turn a blind eye, I cannot.

What happened to her after that? She resorted to cheating and scamming to fund her work. We found out and we blacklisted her. I will not describe how she attempted to scam us. In her case, she did not suffer from compassion fatigue and start killing animals, but it went another direction – she started cheating.

I do not know if hoarders also start off with good intentions and then, they take on too much until it becomes a mental disease. They simply do not know when to call it quits. And who suffers? The animals suffer.

Please remember that “Small is Beautiful”.

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