“Furbaby”

30 Sep

I cringe when I hear the word “furbaby.” I love my pets, don’t get me wrong, and I’ve spent way more at the vet than I feel comfortable with. But they’re not your children – and people using that word tells me something fundamentally wrong in America.

Now if you’ve had your kids, you’re waiting for (or have) grandkids, you get a pass. I understand the nurturing gene and how it doesn’t turn off after child-rearing age. I understand wanting to pour that into a pet. But don’t expect me to start talking to your “furry child” as if it’s going to speak English any moment now.

What really scares me is that the term is shifting down to younger and younger women… and let’s face it, it’s mostly women. (See Nurturing Gene) I’ll admit it, relationships are hard, children are a pain in the ass, but… that’s how we exist as a species. I didn’t realize until I had kids how different that experience is.

Pets are far easier; they don’t talk about, they want to be pet (unless they’re fish). All you have to do is feed them, walk ’em, clean up after them… and you get unconditional love. Now full disclosure, I have two cats, several fish, and way too many snails. The amount of work that goes into an aquarium is a serious pain in the butt; didn’t realize how much that was when the daughter wanted some fish. My older cat barfs on the carpet every other day. I have to do that with kids, too, but let’s face it… my cat doesn’t talk back about doing his homework.

The problem with the term “furbaby” is that it tells me that I should treat your pet like your child. Not just you do, I should. I’m not against animal rights, but don’t think animals have the same rights as humans. Your furbaby is not going to take care of you when you’re old. Your furbaby is not contributing to our society. Furbabies are the reason we need to import thousands of people into America just to keep our population rate just above replacement level (that’s 2.2 children / adult, in case you’re wondering).

Now you can say there are couples that can’t have kids, or you can’t get/keep a partner, or kids shouldn’t be brought into families that don’t want them… all valid points. Just don’t pretend your pets are your kids. They’re pets.

Too harsh? Not harsh enough? Tell me in the comments below!

16 Responses to ““Furbaby””

  1. Sheree September 30, 2020 at 9:17 am #

    That retriever is so handsome

  2. sfyontull September 30, 2020 at 9:43 am #

    Neither! It’s just as it should be.:)

  3. petscooby5 September 30, 2020 at 10:02 am #

    Nice!

  4. lightslatitudes September 30, 2020 at 10:14 am #

    I agree with you that animals should not be deemed at the same value as children however, I don’t expect anyone to treat them as such either. And I use the term “furbaby” all the time! Not sure what anyone else’s intentions are when they use the term, but that’s not mine when I use it.

  5. Ann M September 30, 2020 at 1:37 pm #

    If I don’t have to respect your kids then you don’t have to respect my dog. Fine by me. But, if you think your kids deserve any more respect than my dog, then, we disagree.
    According to your logic, since I cannot have children, and find myself on the outside of any normal expectations associated with children, I should get to decide how much respect or little respect to show them in comparison to pets, right? Because I’ve met and observed countless terrible children, but only like 3 terrible dogs.
    Or maybe your problem isn’t with dogs, it’s with young women living their lives, making choices, and using terminology you don’t prefer? You don’t get to decide language for others. Life doesn’t work like that anymore.
    Just don’t pretend (young) women or language are things your opinions can control. They aren’t.
    Check your privileges, sir. They’re showing.

    • albigensia September 30, 2020 at 2:23 pm #

      Thank you for commenting – I appreciate people telling me I’m full of it. Disagreement is the mark of a civil society.

      • Silk Cords September 30, 2020 at 3:18 pm #

        “Privileged” is attacking somebody and telling them they have no right to express a view you disagree with.

      • albigensia September 30, 2020 at 4:14 pm #

        Eh, I hear the term enough that I realize it’s a certain mentality. I’m not going to change people’s minds on that. Guess I realized I crossed the controversial line with this post.

      • Silk Cords October 1, 2020 at 7:24 am #

        Pfft, everything is controversial to somebody looking for a reason to be offended. More people need to start standing for common sense nowadays.

    • SirNolen September 30, 2020 at 8:19 pm #

      What the what? Being a parent is a “privilege”? I think you might be stretching the definition of “privilege” to the breaking point there…

  6. Silk Cords September 30, 2020 at 3:28 pm #

    I’m going to agree with you on this one, while still giving a few replies their due. There’s nothing wrong with the term itself, it’s the mentality behind the *most extreme* pet owners who use it.

    Your charming reply was partially correct about the dog isn’t the problem. It’s the owner.

    I’ve seen people not clean up after their dogs on walks all the time. I’ve seen them let their dogs tear up others’ yards, and refuse to comply with leash laws in parks resulting in people getting bit and other dogs attacked. I’ve even seen stories of people putting their pets ahead of other humans in flood and fire situations, insisting that their pet takes up space in a rescue vehicle that would otherwise go for another person.

    For the past three weeks I’ve also had to deal with new upstairs neighbors that refuse to walk their two large dogs and let them tear around in their apartment instead. It sounds like a cattle stampede and often goes on till 3am.

    Dog’s fault in ANY of those cases? Nope. It’s the self-entitled owner’s.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with loving a pet. There are plenty of bad pet parents though, just like there are real parents.

    • albigensia September 30, 2020 at 4:11 pm #

      Great answer – there ARE good pet owners and bad ones, just like parents.

  7. loudenclearblog September 30, 2020 at 5:25 pm #

    Hm. I have a lot of thoughts here, some of which were expressed by others. I’m confused as to exactly what your claim is. Is it that I, as a youngish woman, am expected to have kids and thus am letting America down by not doing so? It sort of feels that way but it’s disguised by your complaint about the use of “furbaby”.
    My husband and I have made a careful decision not to have children and honestly it feels like it would be much worse to have kids we don’t particularly want. We do have two dogs whom we love dearly. Do we treat them like our children? Sort of, I guess. I mean they go in kennels when we leave the house, which I’m assuming (Hoping) most parents don’t do with their kids. Do we spend more money on them than we probably should? Of course. Why not? We also contribute to charities and help others where we can because our money isn’t being used to support children. We’re also saving money so when we’re old we can pay for care for ourselves. We like children—we have ten nieces and nephews to love and enjoy. Yet, your post felt like an accusing finger pointed in my direction because of my choice. It was my choice to read it though, so I guess that’s my bad.
    Also, I don’t use the term “furbaby” because I just find it too cutesy and obnoxious, not because my pups aren’t my babies. And even if I did use it, I wouldn’t expect anyone else to. Just like I wouldn’t expect people to call my (hypothetical) kids by their nicknames. That’s weird.

  8. anotherkatewilson October 2, 2020 at 6:54 am #

    I made the choice to have kids, and if anything I feel guilty about that – there are already too many people on the planet. So I agree with a lot of what loudenclear said. It would be more responsible to not have kids, and I applaud any young woman who makes that decision. I also feel deep sympathy for anyone who wanted kids and it didn’t happen for them – my twins were IVF. I was lucky eventually, but there was the definite prospect that I would be childless.
    I’ve also had animals that I loved very much, including a dog.
    But a dog is not a child. It just isn’t. And as a mother who has given birth after 20 hours of labour, changed nappies, had lots of trips to the emergency room, lots of calls to the schools, looked after the kids for longer than the life span of a dog and still has many, many years of that to go – let me repeat: a dog is not a baby. It is nothing like the level of responsibility, time commitment, financial commitment, etc etc.
    I could argue that the term “furbaby” is offensive to mothers of human babies – birth, adopted, whatever. Because you’re comparing a dog to my child – a human with the ability to speak, write, etc etc…
    I don’t actually find it offensive, because I find the term completely ridiculous.
    I feel deeply sad for you if you have a furbaby because you can’t have kids. But I really don’t see this post as an attack on women choosing to not have kids.
    I read it as an attack on the term “furbaby” and the idiocy of dressing up dogs like little humans and expecting people to treat them as such. And I don’t think you can be too harsh on that.

  9. Alex October 7, 2020 at 1:11 pm #

    At best, animals are companions. I understand they can take the place of family/friends when one becomes lonely, but it is usually neither good for the human nor for the pet.
    I see this in friends’ behaviour (some of them, anyway).
    I don’t see that it will change anytime soon.

  10. Holly K. Ross October 18, 2020 at 12:01 pm #

    Yes! Yes! And Amen!

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