This post is going to highlight an unpopular opinion. Pets are extremely popular. These days people are putting off having a baby longer and longer. So it makes sense that we would fill our lives with adorable friendly critters. A lot of people say that these pets are less responsibility than a child and while that is true there are a lot more similarities than you would think. Let’s get started.
1. They wake you up in the middle of the night.
I still remember my shock when my college roommates decided to adopt a cat. My shock was mostly over the loud yowling noise that this cat made right outside my bedroom door. At 2am. And then again at 5am. And then again at 8am as I was trying to sleep in after a night of troubled sleep from all of the yowling. I had heard that babies could wake you up every 3 hours and that you got no sleep once you had kids, but a cat? Sure, he was cute. But not that cute. And then again just the other day my co worker was talking about how he had had to get up at 5 am and one other time during the night. I heard another one of my coworkers reply sympathetically, “Yeah, its so hard when they’re young.” Imagine my surprise that they weren’t talking about a kid, but instead they were talking about his new puppy. Yes, babies cry and wake you up at night but at least its temporary. Its not like they do that forever.
2. You have to clean up their poop.
When a dog poops when you’re going for a walk or you’re in the dog park you can’t just leave it there, you’ve gotta scoop it up and throw it away. When your cat uses the litter box, you have to empty it. I even had to clean up the poop of my little rat when I cleaned her cage. With babies yes you have to change their diapers. But then around age 2 they get potty trained and you don’t have to clean up their poop anymore. With pets, you’re cleaning up their poop for their entire lives.
3. They’re not your flesh and blood.
It’s one thing to take care of a small helpless individual when that thing caries your genes within you. There’s something instinctual about continuing your genes. You can watch the child grow and develop and you see little pieces of yourself in them. With a pet, all of this care you give them isn’t going towards continue your genetic line.
4. They destroy your stuff.
I’m always hearing my friends complain that they’d like to buy nice things but then they sigh and say they can’t because their dog would destroy it. Another one of my friends is always having to buy new shoes because her shoes are always being chewed up by her dog. But I think the most shocking story was what someone’s cat did. They had left their wedding dress hanging up in their closet. When they came back the cat had completely torn the wedding dress to shreds. Wedding dresses are not cheap. Children will also destroy your stuff but not to the degree that a cat with sharp claws and a serious texture aversion/obsession.
5. They are expensive.
The average amount spent on pet ownership per year in the U.S. was $1,191 in 2015. That’s pretty expensive. Let’s assume that you had a dog. Dog breeds can live anywhere from 10-15 years depending on the breed. If you do some back of the napkin math that could be $17,865 over the life of the dog! But of course children can also be pretty expensive as well. But also you get tax credits for having kids when they’re young and there’s even a chance that your kids will help take of you one day when you’re older! There aren’t any tax advantages for having a pet that I know of. Veterinary care can also be very expensive. Child healthcare doesn’t have to be that expensive either. Just for example, with my husband’s health insurance it would cost a big whopping $0 dollars to add a child to our health insurance policy a year because we’re already on a family plan with the 2 of us.
6. You can always change your mind.
Everyone talks about the financial responsibility and commitment that having a kid is since you have to take care of them for 18 years. People argue that with a pet you can always get rid of it if you decide you don’t like it. But I have good news! For a limited time you can return a baby if you decide you don’t like it! Most states have safe haven laws that allow someone to drop off a baby with no questions asked! In Nebraska for a time you could drop off a child of any age. With pets at any time you can surrender your pet to a rescue, post a craigslist ad, or rehome them with a fiend or family member. Of course, giving up a child or a pet is always a serious decision not to be taken lightly and always with the best interest of the welfare of the child or pet.
Overall, having a pet is quite a responsibility. For many they can be great sources of fun and can help you relax. But they also can be very time consuming and quite a hassle. Even my little rats take quite a time commitment! Between playing with them, making sure they get exercise, and cleaning up, they take a lot of my free time. And while they are adorable, maybe my time would be better spent doing other things. My intent with this article is simply to highlight that there a lot more similarities between having a pet and a child and in a lot of the circumstances the cons of having a pet are a lot like the cons of having a child but without the best pros of having a child. But both pets and children sure are cute though!