Discussion: Do you consider yourself a “pet parent” or a “pet owner?”

While writing the recent PoC article about the veterinarian on the west coast who called Animal Control on a woman who raw feeds her cats, I discovered in the source article comments that cat lovers will argue about the craziest things.

Case in point: Do you consider yourself a “pet parent” or a “pet owner?” Sounds simple enough, right? One commenter went into a tailspin in all capital letters “STOP ANTHROPOMORPHIZING ANIMALS. THEY ARE NOT HUMAN NEVER WILL BE HUMAN.” Apparently, this is a pet owner and not a pet parent, although I disagree with the term pet owner.

I prefer pet parent because I don’t own my pets. There’s a greater chance my pets own me. Pet parent is much more realistic to those of us who truly love our pets. Pet parents treat our pets like family. They go on vacation with us or we pay a petsitter (babysitter) to stay at home while we vacation without them. We groom them, we provide love, we care for them when they’re sick and yes, we even talk to them in ‘baby talk’ at times.

In return, our pets show love, fear, jealousy (yes they do!), mischief and many other “human” emotions. So to consider our pets as our children come naturally to many of us. Especially those without children or whose children have moved on and have their own lives.

I’m not alone in my beliefs. A survey by the dog sitter search site Rover.com found that 76 percent of dog owners preferred to be called “dog parents” or “pet parents.” Companies involved in the sale of pet products are also pushing the term.

There’s even a Pet Parent’s Day founded in 2008 by Veterinary Pet Insurance, which is owned by Nationwide. The festivities take place on the last Sunday of April.

Dog blogger Christie Keith wrote in 2010

“Pet parent” is the language of the marketer, of the ad campaign designed to sell you pet food and drugs and services by implying that doing “less” for your pets than your children means you don’t really love them.”

Please sound off in the comments as to whether you’re a pet owner or a pet parent and why. I still find it difficult to believe people are arguing like kindergartners over this.

Pet Parent Elisa

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Discussion: Do you consider yourself a “pet parent” or a “pet owner?” — 14 Comments

  1. While dogs allow us to “own” them, I have NEVER met a cat that was owned.

    Cats are so sophisticated that they have found the way to enslave humans. Their super-cat powers force their “slaves” to feed them at all hours of the day and night. The cats reward their slaves by allowing the slaves to sleep in the same beds, sitting in the slaves’ laps, etc.

    Many cats go so far as to supervise their slaves’ daily activities such as litter box cleaning, bathroom duties, kitchen patrol, laundry inspecting, sweeping, bed linen replacing, etc.

    When the cats are satisfied with their slaves’ performances, they verbalize their contentment with purrs and meows. Some cats even go so far as to treat their slaves with leg rubs and head butts.

    So I would definitely say that cat ownership is out of the question, even for those of you who exchanged monies for the companionship of a cat. “Owner” only looks good on paper when “slaves” are discussing slave matters. 😉

  2. All the pets I have had in my many years of life have been my children. Along with my human children. They have given me their love for which I am very grateful. They ask for nothing but love in return. Thank you to all of them!

  3. I don’t own them. My husband and I have raised most of our cats since they were babies. Even as adults they are still our babies and we most definitely are their pet parents!!

  4. Elisa, without a doubt, I am a pet parent. My kitties all think I am *Mom Cat*. They are my family, along with my son who loves the kitties too. I have had kitties in my life for over 50 years. They will always be my babies and the kitties wouldn’t have it any other way!! ♥♥♥

  5. I think my, and most people who care for them, relationship is that of a surrogate parent overall, often equal buddies and sometimes I look up to them. Indeed I’ve loved them more than most people I’ve known. I don’t see anything wrong with it, and everything good about it.

  6. They are family. Mook, Frog and Toad I have had since they were days old. Mercy at 4 months. They are my babies who I treat like cats. If calling them my kids or babies offends some parent somewhere they can take a flying leap.

  7. ‘Pet Parent’, down the line; and if there’s any ‘specie’ of ‘ownership’, it’s reciprocal! I don’t ‘get’ people who don’t get the deep affinity many of us have w/our ‘furmily’ members; furmily/family, to-may-to/to-mah-to. I am certain that inter-species LOVE is deeper and purer than any emotional (&, at times, spiritual) connection that can arise between humans. That’s my opinion, which is endorsed by years of cohabiting w/Felines 🙂

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