Pets Are Not Children
Nothing drives me more crazy than women equating pets to children. Most notable, are childless women doing this. Women with children may call pets a member of the family, but by no means call them their 'furbaby'. Calling pets children is degrading to real parents. You want to know why? Oh let me list the ways…
You Didn't Give Birth To Them
You either got one at the shelter or you bought it after carefully picking your breed (color, sex, characteristics), or otherwise obtained the animal. Yes, owning a pet or raising one from a kitten or puppy does take an investment in money and time and patience. But so does planting a garden.
Any woman who has carried a child to term or gone through the adoption process, knows the grueling pain of knowing things could go sideways at any moment. The months of fear, carefulness, planning ... the sobriety of it all. It's something you mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for. The cat you fell in love with at Petsmart on a whim? Not a baby.
They Could Give 2 Shits About You
If you passed away, your dog will be alright. Sure there are stories of pets not leaving an owners side, or travelling miles. Guess what, exceptions don't make the rule. Many pets are adoptable because they have short memories and are adaptable. Odds are, the next person that feeds them is their new best friend. Your pets don't need you as much as you need them. Not on the level that children do. You project your need onto them, therefore making yourself believe that they feel the same way you do. They don't. And if they do now, in about a year, they'll get over you. Your 10 year old cat will be alright without you. Your 10 year old kid, won't.
They Live Short Lives
Dogs and cats max out at around the time a child hit's adulthood. When your kid hit's 20, things are just getting started and you have a lifetime to continue to guide, parent, reap the rewards of your hard work. When your pet dies, it's all you can do to run out and get another 'furbaby'. Life doesn't work that way for real parents with real babies. Yes, the heartbreak of losing a pet is terrible. Euthanizing an animal or losing one unexpectedly is awful. It's not as bad as a late term miscarriage. You actually have more options with a sick animal than you do a terminally ill child. But guess what, you aren't having a funeral for your cat. And if you are, you need a therapist. And a kid.
Pet's Aren't Replacements for Children/People
The term cat lady exists for a reason. When someone wastes away their youth philandering or is just a negative person and ends up alone, they can turn into an animal hoarder. Worse, putting your feeling for animals over those of people is disassociation and a cause for concern. I have seen a dog attack a person and the owner of the offending animal was more concerned about what would happen to their dog that the damage it inflicted on the person. (Guess the breed? HUMAN - Dog attacks are always the owners fault.) These people are mentally ill and are a menace to society.
Pets can help you prepare for children, but should never be thought of as such.
Pets teach us compassion, responsibility, discipline, they help us socialize and connect with others. The big difference between pets and children…they can stay home alone. They can survive for 8-36 hours (depending on cat or dog) on their own, without you. You can't even leave a baby alone while you take a shower! Good luck sleeping through the night for a year. You don't get Pet-ernity leave when you get a new pet.
You can learn a lot about a person by the way they treat animals. This is actually valuable on both sides. If they are playful, compassionate, and good with animals, odds are they will be or are good with kids. If their animal is undisciplined and uncontrolled, likely they aren't going to be a good parent. And if they call them their 'furbaby' or "child" … Run for the hills.
I don't get offended or insulted. As a parent I know the difference. I love all animals and need them in my life. But they are respectfully, pets. Keep them in their happy role as the family pet - one who plays with and consoles all members of the family. Important, but people are more so. Love them, take care of them. And when they die, get another one.