this post was submitted on 19 Apr 2024
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I've been discussing with my sister (a big fan of her cats) about what lives we would save in an emergency. I think a human live is worth more than an animal's no question asked but she thinks otherwhise. So to end this discussion I'm writing here.

  1. Who would you save between your cat and your worst enemy?
  2. What if it was between your cat and a stranger?
  3. Why?
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[–] [email protected] 74 points 2 months ago (4 children)

I would save my cat every time. I don't value human life above her life. She's been there for me for the past 15 years and helped me through the darkest times.

[–] [email protected] 10 points 2 months ago

Yeah, my kitties got me through the pan. I lived alone and wasn’t in a relationship and had no car at the time. The isolation was extreme.

[–] techt 5 points 2 months ago

That's so cute, I can't. Thanks for paying your taxes on time.

[–] andrewta 4 points 2 months ago (1 children)

Took me a moment to realize the dark mark on her face wasn’t her hind paw.

[–] [email protected] 8 points 2 months ago (1 children)

She's a Siamese chocolate point. In Siamese cats, there is a mutation for the genes of an enzyme (Tyrosinase) that inhibits the production of melanin above a certain temperature. Where the body temperature is lower (extremities, airways), that enzyme is deactivated and melanin is produced, allowing the fur to darken.

Siamese kitten are born completely white, as their temperature is kept high everywhere in the womb, and rapidly start to color after birth.

[–] [email protected] 4 points 2 months ago

This is so interesting! Thanks for the cat fact!

[–] [email protected] 3 points 2 months ago

I don’t blame you.

[–] Son_of_dad 46 points 2 months ago

I would save YOUR cat before my worst enemy, and I don't even like cats. Is that bad?

[–] [email protected] 43 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (2 children)
  1. Cat
  2. Cat
  3. Cat

EDIT: If you need a serious #3 answer, one aspect is that my cat is dependent on me. That's the relationship I accepted when I chose to take care of a domestic animal. My enemies, or strangers, are not my dependents. They are not vulnerable in that sense.

[–] [email protected] 11 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Excellent answer and same. The other person could be Jesus himself and I'd still save my cats because I've dedicated myself to their care (I'm sure Jesus would understand), plus they are far too stupid to manage on their own whereas a theoretical other human would, realistically, at least stand a chance

[–] acid_falcon 5 points 2 months ago

I'm with you there. A couple winters ago I was a delivery person, I dropped a package on someone's porch and I heard a little meow. Couple seconds later this little furball was climbing up my pant leg.

I knocked on the door to talk to the homeowner who said his mother had been hit by a car, and she had a cantankerous dog so she couldn't take care of him. So I took him

I feel extremely responsible for my cat. He's not like an "accessory" he's something I made a commitment to saving and is dependent on me

[–] [email protected] 33 points 2 months ago (1 children)

I dislike the belief that human life is worth more than any other animal.

Even if we're going to argue that, because of intellect or the ability to grasp out own existence or whatever arbitrary philosophical reason we'fe going to come up it, a human life is in general more valuable than that of a cats life, my "worst enemy" would have to be someone so morally corrupt that removing them from the world would make it a better place. This makes is a very pointless question.

A stranger is more of a real discussion. The stranger is enough of an unknown factor that I think I could assume that allowing them to die is likely to have a worse impact on the world, so it makes sense to save them. I certainly wouldn't be able to say so with enough certainty to fault anyone for disagreeing with me, though.

[–] testfactor 6 points 2 months ago (7 children)

I feel like the idea that an animal life is worth less than a human life is demonstrably true at a societal level though, right?

Like, we don't sell human parts at a grocery store to eat, and I feel like people would call it a moral tragedy if we did.

If an animals life is equivalent to a humans, then meat is in fact murder, no?

[–] [email protected] 5 points 2 months ago

Question: why does my life has more value than my cats? We both think, we both feel. We both have people who love us.

Is mine more valuable because I have a longer lifespan? Are children with terminal cancer less valuable?

Is mine worth more because I'm self aware? I'm pretty sure some cats have shown self awareness with the mirror test.

Sure, I may be smarter. But, does that make me intrinsically more valuable? Why?

[–] [email protected] 5 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Yes and no. For one, many vegetarians and vegans would agree, so on some level, sure, that's a very defensible opinion. Secondly, North American sensibilities would call it a moral tragedy to sell cat or dog parts, so at some point we have to accept that what is and isn't okay to kill and consume is a question of cultural bias as opposed to moral truth.

Lastly, you can accept the state of the food chain without holding the belief that those at the top of it are "better" or "worth more". I don't eat beef because I am, in some universal truth way, worth more than a cow. I eat beef because I accept that in the chaos of existence, this is where the chips fell. I do not feel a sense of superiority for being able to do so. If you're going to get really strict about it, I'd define "murder" as the act of killing for the sake of killing, and say that killing for consumption and in some cases survival is different. But even then, I recognize that this is bias. If you want to call murder the act of taking a life, I've murdered a lot in my life, and I don't intend on stopping any time soon. Mosquitos won't squish themselves.

The question of intellect and understanding and the weight of these qualities in the value of a life is a dangerous road to wander down, so I like to keep in perspective that we're all meaningless specks in the grand scheme of the universe. Otherwise, the questions get even more challenging: to say a truly reprehensible thing, what happens when we replace the human or the animal in question with an exceptionally low functioning human being? Do we now say their life has little value because they can't contribute to society, they can't understand the state of their own existence, and in many cases they're not even capable of verbal communication? Does it become okay to choose to let them die, as in the original question? Are they suddenly fit for consumption as cattle? Or does the responsibility fall on the more capable to protect them?

Appraising and tiering life is an incredibly dangerous road to go down. You can choose any example of historical racism to see just how dangerous it gets. Life is life, and the strange differences between what's "okay" and what's not is luck more than anything else. Even as I consume a steak while my dog begs for the scraps, I believe it's important to keep an understanding of how we got here, else hubris allows us to justify basically any atrocity.

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[–] [email protected] 32 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (3 children)

Kind of curious who your enemies are, OP.

The ones I haven't met personally are causing the deaths of millions of people.

The ones I have met personally are rapists and child abusers.

Would you save those kinds of people instead of saving a cat to whom you have a duty of care?

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[–] [email protected] 27 points 2 months ago
  1. Cat
  2. Cat
  3. Cat
[–] [email protected] 24 points 2 months ago

My favorite thing about this post is that question 2 is asked based on the assumption that you've answered question 1 correctly by picking "cat".

[–] theywilleatthestars 18 points 2 months ago

My cat and it's not a hard decision

[–] [email protected] 17 points 2 months ago

I don’t even love cats and I’d still save your sister’s cat over my worse enemy!!! LOL

[–] [email protected] 16 points 2 months ago

I have no enemies

[–] TheBlackKnight 14 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)
  1. My thrift store dollar bin reject rescue cats without a moment's hesitation
  2. Cats
  3. I promised my cats I would care for them all their days
[–] [email protected] 13 points 2 months ago (1 children)

There's about 8 billion Humans, and about half of them suck more than any friendly domestic animal. The worst? I'd create an emergency.

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[–] HootinNHollerin 13 points 2 months ago
[–] Chainweasel 13 points 2 months ago (1 children)

It's a moral dilemma between a life and a life, one is not lesser than the other regardless of whether one is human or not, so the issue then becomes which one is more valuable.
But valuable to whom?
Society? I may think my worst enemy is a bastard but they're likely to be a productive member of society.
But valuable to me personally? I'm picking my cat every single time, it's like asking to pick between your worst enemy and your child, it doesn't even require weighing the options.

[–] testfactor 3 points 2 months ago (4 children)

Just out of curiosity, are you vegetarian/vegan?

[–] tamal3 3 points 2 months ago (3 children)

Not sure why you're being downvoted. It's legitimate to wonder in what ways "all life" matters. It wasn't an accusatory question.

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[–] [email protected] 13 points 2 months ago (1 children)

my worse enemy is the father of my friend who abused her when she was a kid, and watched CP, i don't know him, i don't want to know him, and if i had the chance to let him die in front of me, i wouldn't hesitate to let it happen, and make earth a better place

[–] [email protected] 9 points 2 months ago (1 children)

Yes, saving a cat is a nice bonus.

[–] [email protected] 3 points 2 months ago
[–] [email protected] 12 points 2 months ago

My cats are my family, so they have priority over most humans. This would only be a tough situation if it were between my cats and my best friend because I consider her to be family too. But, in that case, I would say screw the "you can only save one" mentality, I'd become like a mom who can lift a car off her baby, and somehow save them all.

[–] [email protected] 12 points 2 months ago

If you don't want your worst enemies dead they aren't much of a enemy.

[–] [email protected] 11 points 2 months ago

could have been between the cat and myself. The cat still gets preference.

[–] [email protected] 10 points 2 months ago
  1. Cat
  2. Stranger
  3. I would not piss on my worst enemy if they where on fire. Stranger well , human Vs animal life.
[–] [email protected] 9 points 2 months ago

My wife > dogs > myself.

List stops there.

[–] [email protected] 9 points 2 months ago

Pets are family. I'd choose my pets over strangers life any day and not feel bad. Hell, I might choose my pet over someone I know.

[–] [email protected] 8 points 2 months ago
  1. my dog.

  2. my dog.

  3. people suck. They don't deserve dogs. Consider me John Wick. I would choose to wipe out 10,000 strangers to protect my dog.

[–] [email protected] 7 points 2 months ago
[–] [email protected] 7 points 2 months ago

Society has deemed that a human life is more valuable than another animal, but that doesn't mean that this applies to everyone. I'd save my dogs over a stranger sure, but I'd sure make an effort to save both. The value of a life on a personal basis is primarily driven by how connected you are with them.

[–] spittingimage 7 points 2 months ago

My cat. There are plenty of moral and ethical arguments to say I'm wrong about this, but still - cat.

[–] RBWells 5 points 2 months ago

Who is more likely to be able to save themselves? Like, if it's a fire I'm getting the people out, the cats will get themselves out. If someone is getting pushed off a 3 story building? The cat, more likely to survive.

Water rising? I am grabbing the cat, the person can figure out something for themselves.

[–] [email protected] 5 points 2 months ago

I have a dog, so I'll apply that.

  1. Dog.
  2. Dog.
  3. In scenario 1, I not only have a good reason to save my dog, but also let my worst enemy die. In scenario 2 it's more complicated, but my dog trusts me, and the stranger has no such expectations (I hope). Lastly, for both cases, there's no way to regret death. They won't be able to care. Humans can also much better understand the current situation than a dog/cat.
[–] [email protected] 5 points 2 months ago (1 children)

Theres a pretty short list of people I would like to see dead... trump, putin,un,mcconnell for examples... my dog definitely deserves life over those pathetic excuses for human beings

[–] [email protected] 4 points 2 months ago (1 children)

When we really consider who our worst enemies actually the question becomes simpler. Mitch McConnell is the first example that came to mind for me.

[–] [email protected] 3 points 2 months ago

Yeah, my worst enemies are all people I consider threats to humanity and/or the planet so a scenario where I passively allowed one of them to die as a side effect of saving my cat is a dream scenario.

Even better would be if saving my cat caused multiple enemies to die.

[–] jeffw 4 points 2 months ago (3 children)

Definitely the person. If I saved my cat, people would call me crazy. Mostly because I don’t have a cat and that would be a dick move of me to save something imaginary.

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[–] angrystego 4 points 2 months ago

So, you mean something like, would I save my cat or Putin? The answer is - my cat. When it comes to strangers, I feel it's more difficult and depends on many factors.

[–] hperrin 3 points 2 months ago

I agree that a human life is generally worth more than an animal’s, but that doesn’t mean I would sacrifice my cat.

[–] [email protected] 3 points 2 months ago

There’s only one person I’d pick over my cat, so, sorry guys.

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