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At first I thought you were referring to the stories story by Orwell and Poe. Are you? This is in the literature category, after all. In that case, you could say that Orwell was pathetic because he did not want to shoot the elephant but he did so others would not think less of him. In "The Black Cat" the narrator does not realize he did anything wrong, and even when he does I don't feel sorry for him. But I'm a cat lover.
This question might need to be moved to the discussion board for more than one answer, but I think most people would say shooting a cat is worse than shooting an elephant. Elephants are large and could possibly be dangerous in certain situations. While both species are intelligent, an elephant would certainly pose a greater threat than a cat.
Of course, the word pathetic could have other implication behind it. You might say it's more pathetic to shoot an elephant because it provides an easier target. Looking at it purely from a hunting perspective, one might say it is more of a challenge to shoot a cat than to shoot an elephant. Although, I would imagine that the thick skin and shear size of an elephant would provide challenge enough.
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