Substituting Dogs and Cats For Children

Loneliness is increasingly becoming the biggest social problem in England. It doesn’t matter from which class or background you come. A report by the Church Urban Fund based on a survey found that nearly two thirds of vicars reported that social isolation was a significant problem in their community. Isolation was more common than family breakdown, unemployment and debt.

The bitterness of loneliness. Have kids the pope says and don't substitute cats for kids. Do you agree?
The bitterness of loneliness. Have kids the pope says and don’t substitute cats for kids. Do you agree?
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

On June 2, 2014 Pope Francis warned couples about substituting dogs and cats for children. He said that it leads to the “bitterness of loneliness” in old age.

Christian marriage demands fertility. The Pope believes that many of today’s couples have deliberately chosen not to have children. They’re making this choice in the belief that life is better without children.

Without children a couple can do what they like. They can be carefree. They can be free of the responsibility of raising a child or children.

Then in old age, without children, the couple or one of the couple becomes lonely and suffers the bitterness of loneliness.

Do you agree with this? When I read about the church survey on loneliness I could fully understand the extent of it. I also believe that not everyone, notwithstanding that they are a cat or dog lover, can successfully substitute a dog or cat for a good partner in old-age for mutual support.

A dog or cat goes a long way towards assuaging loneliness but not all the way. There is no substitute for an excellent human companion in my honest opinion.

This is not to say that cats and dogs don’t make truly excellent companions because they do. I wonder whether many people in old age feel that a cat is a substitute for a person. I don’t think they do. I believe that they look after a cat companion as a means to mask their loneliness or to chip away at it a bit.

I would advise any young person who has found someone who they believe could be their partner for life to go ahead and make them their partner for life and work on it as hard as they can to keep it stable. The opportunity arises when you’re young and it should not be passed by carelessly. In old age a person is left with a substitute, a cat or dog and (s)he can be bitterly lonely.

One last point: being a cat guardian curtails freedoms. I don’t believe a couple with a cat have the kind of carefree life described by the pope.

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21 thoughts on “Substituting Dogs and Cats For Children”

  1. Grammar and spelling police on me also…
    I don’t agree that human relationships, at least in the romantic sense, are essential. The need to feel loved and appreciated may be somewhat essential. But, a cat can fulfill those needs.
    I only have guesses as to why human relationships fail. One is that women have evolved more than men. Women are in the corporate world now, competing, and no longer accept a relationship that doesn’t involve mutual respect and sharing. A second is that men are sexually driven and usually inept in that department. Women are better at it, faster, and more efficient alone. Men are not needed in that way.
    For women like myself, we are always drawn to individuals that have a deep passion and commitment for some altruistic cause and work toward it every minute of every day; not those men who have a passion for the meaningless, mindless games of golf or football.
    Cats provide the comfort that we need. Their love is without conditions or boundaries. Their acceptance is unfailing. They have the willingness and ability to really “learn” us.
    It doesn’t get any better than that.

  2. I’m happy that someome else knows that cats “learn” us.
    At the moment, I have 22 completely indoor cats. I, fully, believe that they understand what I’m saying or, at least, the jist of it.
    These are the words that come out of my mouth day in and day out:
    Mommy needs just a little bit of coffee now.
    Please don’t hog the food; everybody wants some.
    No, I’m not opening another can.
    What the hell…
    You can’t live on tuna alone.
    I love you so much.
    Where is my hair clip, Damon?
    Who did this?
    Where are you Damon?
    They know me like a book and understand me completely.

  3. My cats aren’t a substitute for anything. They are the real deal 🙂 I love nature and wildlife, so feel very privileged to share my home and an emotional bond with a semi-wild animal.

    Dee, you’re so right when you say “They have the willingness and ability to really “learn” us.”

    That unspoken understanding of each other and our moods, is often better than we can expect from our human companions, who in theory should be better at communicating with us.


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