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rojo's avatar

What would motivate someone to run over a dead cat?

Asked by rojo (24159points) September 7th, 2015

Details: Line of cars traveling down an access road, one of the cars swerves out of the main stream of traffic in order to run over an obviously dead cat that is on the shoulder then swerves back into line after accomplishing said maneuver.
What benefit either real or imagined did this person get by flattening an already dead animal? Is this an indication of deeper psychological problems? Is there a difference between someone who would swerve to kill an animal and one who “re-kills” one? What is the internal motivation behind such an act or is it a lack of something in the psyche, like compassion maybe?

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31 Answers

kritiper's avatar

Someone who is not driving their own car and who doesn’t care if the underside of the car gets splattered with dead cat guts. Ignoramuses!

majorrich's avatar

The only benefit I can imagine is that by spreading the entrails out thinly, they will dry or get eaten more quickly. That would minimize the odor and yuck of a festering corpse on the side of the road. (Had to think really hard to come up with an even plausible good reason)

Berserker's avatar

Cuz they’re a sick fuck.

Pachy's avatar

I’m pathological about not hitting animals, dead or alive. A bird once committed inadvertent suicide on my windsheld and I felt guilty for days. Being a cat owner / lover, I’d be devastated if I hit one, even a carcass.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Just sick, IMO.

ucme's avatar

The lights are on but there’s no one home

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^ Actually, someone is home. Someone very sick. Someone who should be locked away from the rest of civilization.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Was it really so obvious that the cat was dead? What if someone ran-over a cat that was sick or injured, or a stray female cat that was about to give birth?

Dutchess_III's avatar

What is the difference? It’s just cruel, whether the animal is dead or alive. The mind set is just horrid.

There was a study once that some college kids did. They created a fake, but life-like, box turtle, and put in in the middle of various roads at different times. A distressing number of drivers went out of their way to run over the turtle.

Berserker's avatar

Pretty sure cats don’t give birth in open spaces. Never had female cats so really I don’t know, but don’t they prepare and find a spot to give birth when they feel it coming?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

In reference to the aforesaid study: I think it would be very interesting to do the same study in different places. In an urban setting vs. a rural one, in England, Sweden, Japan, various places in China, Russia, Italy… I wonder how they would stand up to each other.

Cruiser's avatar

I once saw a cat in an intersection who had half it’s head squished to the pavement and was desperately trying to do anything to extricate itself from it’s dire and no hope whatsoever situation. There was a guy in a car in front of it who threw his truck in reverse and put that poor critter out of it’s misery. I cannot scrub that memory out of my brain…..

Pachy's avatar

Oy, @Cruiser! Now I can’t scrub your memory out of my mind. :{

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

The study was conducted by Nathan Weaver, a student at Clemson University in South Carolina (article on the study) wanted to examine the reason behind the declining rate of box turtles (article on the study).

There was a similar study done by Mark Rober of NASA, again with fake turtles on the shoulder of the road, This is what he did:

• He alternatively placed a rubber animal—and a leaf as a control object—on the shoulder of a road: a turtle, a snake, or a spider.

• He watched one thousand cars pass by and annotated the drivers’ reaction.

He found out that 94 percent of drivers did what anyone in their sane mind would do: keep driving on their lane. Remember that the animals were on the road’s shoulder, way outside their driving path. They didn’t pose any danger whatsoever to the drivers’ safety.

On the other hand, six percent went out of the driving lane to run over the animals. Think about that: sixty out of one thousand drivers actually went out of their way to kill a living thing that didn’t represent any danger to their lives—and possibly risking their own lives in the process.

89% of the 6% were SUV drivers.

He did the same experiment with a leaf (0 hits), a tarantula (29%), a snake (27%) of 1,000 drivers.

He did the same experiment with a leaf (0 hits), a tyrantula (29%), a snake (27%).

He did the same experiment on the shoulder of a road leading to a popular gun club. He found that the chances were equal that the turtle would be hit as the other animals , but the chances of a driver swerving out of their way to kill them were nearly double.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow. The stats on the road leading to a popular gun club was saddening.

msh's avatar

Yet not too shocking….
Not shocking at all.

Coloma's avatar

The depravity of humans knows no bounds. That experiment that @Espiritus_Corvus relates is really shocking!
I’m much more likely to BE run over trying to save something in the road. I have stopped and carried off many pond turtles here in my neck o’ the woods that migrate to water sources for mating in spring.

Just recently I slowed down for a squirrel on my little 2 lane road back to the house here and gave the one driver behind me plenty of warning I was slowing down. The speed limit is is 35mph on this road. I tapped my brakes, reduced my speed when I saw the squirrel squirreling around in the road. You know how squirrels do the dash back and forth, confused thing before they stick with an exit plan. haha

Anyway, the jerk behind me was on my ass, wanting to go about 50 mph and was all agitated I slowed for the squirrel. I bet he was the type that would just plow over anything in his path. I have been really lucky over the years, have only run over one squirrel, a skunk and had a deer run into me but I had slowed enough to where it barely made impact and was able to run off. People that go out of their way to run over a defenseless animal is just mind blowing!

A lot of us out here in these hills also use hand signals if we pass a deer or other animal on the side of the road, especially deer. Putting your arm out the window and making “a slow down” gesture by moving your arm/hand up and down.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@Dutchess_III “What is the difference?”

If the cat weren’t dead, it would be, well, alive. It might be sick or injured and in need of veterinary care. It might be starving and just need to be picked up, taken to a safe place, and fed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I said, in its entirety, What is the difference? It’s just cruel, whether the animal is dead or alive. The mind set is just horrid.
People who run over an animal, having no idea whether it’s dead or alive, aren’t thinking about some sort of rescue. They’re just being sick bastards.

However, the question is assuming a person knows, beyond a doubt, the cat is dead, and deliberately runs over it again That’s just as sick, in my mind.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@Dutchess_III The original question refers to “an obviously dead cat…” It’s beyond me how something, viewed from a distance and at the speed of a moving car, can be “obviously dead.”

I couldn’t agree more about anyone who’d intentionally desecrate a dead animal’s body.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Flat as a pancake is a pretty good indicator.

ibstubro's avatar

They probably really really hate cats and the vicarious thrill of running over a dead one keeps them from running over live cats.

While I like cats, I know a number of people that that them with a passion.

Dutchess_III's avatar

People will do it to turtles, too. A guy got in trouble locally for deliberately ramming a flock of geese at a park with his car. That goes far and above “hating” turtles, or hating geese. It goes into the realm of mentally disturbed.

ibstubro's avatar

What was a flock of dead geese doing in the park?

majorrich's avatar

When I was in the service, I had to sign off on repairs to a truck that ran over a dead moose. The damage was significant. I remember wondering how the driver could have missed that animal in the road, but then again if he had hit it with the wheels it could have done more damage to the truck and cargo. I am told that some animals are very dense and can really wreck a vehicle that hits them.
But back to cats, I like to think most people will try to miss a small dead critter out of respect for the dead.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We have a park close to a river. They’ve channeled water from the river to run around the edges of the park, like a moat. Semi tame geese and ducks abound there.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Most people would, @majorrich. No only out of respect, but out of revulsion. We’re trying to figure out what kind of person would actually go out of their way to run over an animal, dead or alive.

ibstubro's avatar

What would motivate someone to run over a dead cat?

“What benefit either real or imagined did this person get by flattening an already dead animal?”
Is the question I responded to.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I guess I lost ya @ibstubro. What was your comment ^^^^ in reference to? Also, your link doesn’t go anywhere.

fluthernutter's avatar

Originally, I’d have to agree with what most people have already said. They’re probably just deeply disturbed.

Now, I might reconsider another possibility. A few weeks ago I came across a squirrel in the middle of the road. It wasn’t smooshed, so I pulled over to see if it might still be save-able. But it clearly was not. It was twitching and its eyes were bulging in its sockets.

I wish I had the stomach/courage/balls to run it over and put it out of its misery. Instead, I wussed out and just called animal control. :(

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