Student gouges out cat's eye 'to vent anger'
Updated: 2005-12-08 05:44
SHANGHAI: A postgraduate student at the prestigious Fudan University has admitted that he abused and abandoned nearly 20 adopted cats.
The animal abuse story has been a hot topic among China's Internet users, after shocking images showed a cat with its eye gouged out. Tens of thousands of netizens criticized the student, surnamed Zhang, for being brutal and cold-blooded, while some experts described the man as "psychologically abnormal."
However, Zhang denied deliberately gouging out the cat's eye on purpose, saying it was an accident.
He apologized to his parents for "letting them down and bringing shame to the family," according to a story on the Sohu website yesterday.
Zhang reportedly started to adopt cats in July. Most of the cats were given to Zhang by friends he met online. In September, a friend who gave him a cat visited his dormitory to see how her pet was doing. To her astonishment, she found a bleeding cat in Zhang's room, with one eye gouged out by scissors.
After the girl made public what she saw, former pet owners became worried about their cats and pressed Zhang to tell the truth.
Zhang at first said his father and girlfriend had set all the adopted cats free. But under pressure from the pet owners, Zhang told the truth on a message board last week.
"The cats are cute, but sometimes they can be very annoying. Beating and torturing them is a way for me to vent my anger," Zhang said.
Zhang, a mathematics major, is in his final year of postgraduate study. His classmates describe him as reticent and introverted.
The university has not worked out any plans to discipline Zhang, only saying they want to protect him from too much media exposure.
"He is now under great pressure," said Zhuge Hui, with the Fudan University.
"We don't want him to be a news focus. The exaggerations in some reports will do a lot of harm to his mental health."
Zhang has seen doctors at the Psychological Health Centre of the university. Liu Mingbo, a consultant, said Zhang had gone to extremes to release his emotion.
Xiong Xiangyu, a consultant with Shanghai Mental Health Centre, said Zhang's inhumanity results from immature character development.
"Most students are the only child of the family. Their ability to withstand setbacks is weak," he said.