Are Pets the Childfree’s “Kids”?
My dear cat Nadia sits purring at my feet as I write this. I am like many people, both with and without children; I have a pet. But when the childfree have pets, so often people think that their pets “are” their kids. Is this really the case?
Answer: Sometimes. Lots of childfree will admit that their pets are their kids to them. Others would say that while pets play a special role in their lives, they do not see them as taking the place of having kids. If they wanted kids, they would have kids. Being a pet owner is whole other deal. As one childfree woman put it, “They are not my kids. They are a special part our household.”
Being childfree with pets, sure, you care for pets. But you are not “raising” them in any way like you would raise a child. And they are far easier than the monumental job of parenthood.
Why do people think pets serve the role of children for so many childfree adults? In part because our value system tells us we all should want kids. So there is the perception that childfree just haven’t gotten with the program with regard to parenthood and “remedially” have pets instead.
In reality, we’re just like parent pet owners. We love the companionship pets provide. We get so much enjoyment from them. We love their beauty as animals. We care for them and want to care for them to help them have the best life possible. And we grieve when they pass.
Me, I love the soft sculpture, grace and beauty of my cat. I love our companionship, her sense of play, and how she shows affection by putting her paw gently on my leg or shoulder. Her purr when she sits in my lap melts my heart.
But is she my “kid”? While others may think she is my “baby,” like many other childfree, I know that this is not the case. What is the case is that this animal is a special part of my life.