Have another baby, or get a pet?

I’ve noticed a recent trend. More and more of my friends are getting pets and food to feed hunting dogs instead of having another child. I’m guilty of this myself – you might have spotted Jasper, right, pop up on my Facebook profile this week. Now, it’s a different thing when disabled people go on the internet on places like https://usserviceanimals.org/support/faq to see if they could get a service dog to aid them. But this trend has been skyrocketing by the month.

There are expensive cats, pedigree dogs, one friend has even been nurturing chickens in her garden for the last few years since her youngest started school. People go the extra mile to keep their pets happy, buying from places like Cat World any and all pet essentials that they can get their hands on. My friend freely admitted to me today that, as a stay at home mum with kids in school,  she enjoyed having something to look after. Nevertheless, J has now rehomed her chickens. She says that she is enjoying having fewer chicken chores to do, and a fraction more time for other things.

My kitten is a definite fourth child replacement. I had a tricky third pregnancy, we don’t have space, there are a million and one reasons why a new cat is a better idea. We even considered a dog for a while, but I was realistic that another cat would, sooner or later, fit in with the first two, while a dog would be a whole change of lifestyle.

Is it that we women get used to looking after small things and need an object of transition, like a child taking its teddy to nursery, something to care for once our toddler rearing years are over? Have you got a pet because YOU wanted it, rather than due to family pressure? (Here’s is an excellent guest post by my friend Jacq, a mum to four and a vet, which will help you if the family wants a pet but you don’t!) And, the most crucial question of all, at what point will I turn into a mad cat lady with more pets than friends or family members?

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  • We are contemplating having a dog instead of a third child, so this struck a chord with me. I don’t know what would be cheaper though – the vet bills, food, kennels / alcohol for family to look after the dog when we go away and a lot of other things I’ve probably not thought of.

    I think that there’s a feeling in me that we aren’t complete yet – I have a vision of us having more children. Not necessarily babies – but children, so perhaps this is part of it??

    And there’s a campaign running for the dog acquisition at home – my husband – Lovely Bloke, is a stay at home dad and he wants a dog to keep him company in the daytime, when he’s either in the house or in our office working. Apparently I don’t count as company in the office because I’m always head down, working away!!! And the eldest, who turns 5 tomorrow, is already discussing names with me, like it’s a done deal.

    Makes me wonder what conversation I’ve missed out on??? 😉

  • I can see that it could go either way with the costs – some dogs get very expensive to look after. I totally understand the feeling of not being done – but maybe no family is ever ‘finished’ — there is always scope to love someone, or something, more.
    we’ve been through the dog campaign too, but dd, the main protagonist, has move on thank goodness. I’d like a dog, but not enough to get up and walk it!

  • we had a discussion one day and decided that if you had more cats than people in your home, you’d tipped into MCL territory – I can get 2 more cats without danger. One of my sister in laws however….

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