About this Blog

After banging my head in frustration over the obsession everyone around me had with procreation, I went online to find a community of people who were more like me. I have met some fascinating people along the way, but I have also found that many in the childfree community are quite hostile toward Christianity and a Christian world view. I understand that, unfortunately, many of my Christian sisters and brothers have given them a lot of ammunition (undoubtedly, I have been guilty of this at times too). Not wanting to be perceived as "trolling" for expressing my Christian perspective on other people's forums and blogs, I use my own blog to share my musings on childfree life while at the same time expressing my faith.

My intention is to show support to childfree people, both Christian and non-Christian, but from my own Christian perspective. Questions and constructive comments are welcome; negativity and intolerance are not.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Childfree Stereotypes: Our Relationship with Pets, Part I

One of the negative stereotypes about the childfree is that they have pets as a replacement for children. I call this negative because the spin is usually that we are overly indulgent toward our pets (frivolous, selfish, etc.) or that we are hiding from the fact that deep down inside we really do want children, so we pretend our animals are our children.

As far as indulgence… I grant you that someone who is not spending hundreds of dollars on diapers, strollers, baby food, etc., probably can use that same money to spend on pet grooming, pet toys, beds, doggy day care, and the like. There are definitely people who are indulgent toward their pets. The pet care industry has been booming over the past decade or so, and even in families with children, pets are often seen as part of the family and are treated accordingly. I admit to a little bit of indulgence myself. When one of my cats was insistent upon drinking out of the kitchen tap, I was concerned about him potentially sitting in e.coli in the kitchen sink. I bought him a Petwell drinking fountain as an alternative. Indulgent? Maybe slightly. Solving a problem? Definitely.

And though my cats have a couple of beds around the house, I realize that they don’t appreciate designer fabrics. My pet beds were $10 at Big Lots.

On the other hand, my pets receive a lot of emotional indulgence. I gladly take the time every day to snuggle them, talk baby-talk to them, flatter them, brush them, let them sit on my lap, and give them free reign of the house. (If you don’t like that fact that my cat walks on the countertops, then don’t put food on the bare countertop.) After all of the emotional support they give me, how could I not act in kind?

So before you believe the stereotype about indulgence, think about a few things…
  • So what if people are good to their animals?
  • There are plenty of people with children who are just as nuts about their animals as the childfree are -- I work with many of them at the animal shelter!
  • This childfree gal proves that spending extravagant amounts of money on pet pampering is not a universal trait of the childfree.

Oh, and by the way, not all childfree people have pets.


  1. Hello,

    I totally agree to what you said, but I usually make some points that instantly shut up any childed person in a matter of seconds:
    - I potty trained my cats in a mere 3 weeks (thanks to litter Kwitter)
    - cats are self cleaning and do a pretty good job of taking care of themsleves almost from day one;
    - i can feed them the same (and my vet recommended iit) everyday
    - i can leave them home alone for all day and even several days, unattended, provided they have enough to feed and drink
    At this point, all childed persons usually stare vaguely somewhere and wish they could do that with their kid...

  2. And to add just a thing: I adopted my three cats as adults, from a shelter, so it really was a well-thought decision, and a weel-spent investment as they really make the saying " a shelter animal will give you back twice the love you give it" true...

  3. Borealis, I couldn't agree more with your list of benefits of pets over children. In fact, it relates very well to some of the things I am preparing for part II of this topic.

    I guess it doesn't surprise me that we childfree pet lovers would be on the same page about this. :)

  4. I have a dog who I refer to as my fur baby, but she is not a replacement for a child because how can you replace something you don't have and don't want? I really enjoy your blog. I have struggled so much with making a decision to remain childfree while also being a Christian who lives in the South and has been happily married for five years. It is not easy!

  5. McGreevey, I can imagine how difficult childfreedom would be in the South, Christian or not! I'm glad I can be here to help support.

  6. I have a parrot, a cat, and a hamster, and when people ask me why I don't have kids, I say "I do... but the difference between my kids and yours is that I can lock mine up and walk away when they act up." My parrot has the intelligence of a two-year-old, and acts just like my friends' toddlers sometimes -- they're often shocked when they tell me something about what their kid has done and I respond with "yeah, Mango does that too...". Most of them have realized that my pets ARE my 'kids' in a sense, but that it doesn't mean the pets are replacing any kind of desire for children (because I never, ever want human babies).

    I just love animals so very very much that I don't mind caring for one that's intelligent, has the occasional screaming tantrum, and who I can act silly with (impromptu birdie dance parties!).

    I guess what I'm trying to say is (though I don't think I'm doing a good job, lol), my pets may have similar qualities to human children (the parrot in particular), but that doesn't mean I want kids. Thankfully some people are starting to get that. Unfortunately, that doesn't include my father, who now says things like "See??? You're ready for kids, you already have a toddler!"

    Sigh. But I can put this toddler back in the cage and walk away, Dad. Apparently you get arrested if you do that with human children. :)