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.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pets: All Joy and All Fun

(One more, and then I’ll change topics next time. I know, I know, I could talk about animals for hours.)

Ok, I’m being a little facetious with the title of this post. Cleaning up hairballs, scooping litterboxes, and stuffing cats into their carriers for a trip to the vet may not exactly be fun (though you will never hear me complain about it). And suffering the loss of a pet is so devastating that it sometimes makes me wonder why I adopt another.

But as I think about the daily life I have with my pets, I find it a stark contrast to the many articles I have read about the drudgery and unhappiness of parenting, yet another reason I think it is ridiculous for people to stereotype the pets of the childfree as replacement children. In the article “All Joy and No Fun,” the author describes the unpleasant work of raising children and discusses some of the reasons children can put a strain on relationships and people’s happiness. In this article and many others that I have read, people with children describe emotional highs and unrivaled joy that their children bring, and some recognize that these are so monumental that it lessens the unhappy feelings they have for the day-to-day of parenting. It makes the intolerable tolerable.

When I arrive at home, the cats greet me at the door. They eagerly follow me around the house as I put my car keys away, change out of my work clothes, and wash my hands for dinner. I’ll stop to give each one a scratch and will talk to them as I go about my business. It’s pleasant to have them at my heels, even when they insist upon coming into the bathroom with me.

We settle into the couch for some TV in the evening… one cat on my lap, one on the footstool next to me, and one on the coffee table in front of me. They sit quietly most of the time, or maybe one will stand in front of the TV and block our view. My husband and I just laugh.

I sit at my computer for a while to get some work done. Each cat takes a turn sitting on my lap. Sometimes they jump up on the desk and walk across the keyboard. With a smile on my face, I brush them aside and delete the “qqqqqqqqqqqqq1111``” that they have just contributed to whatever I’m working on.

Every moment I spend with them, regardless of what “annoying” thing they may be doing, is nice. In contrast, my parent-friends on facebook use their status updates to gripe about their children doing these very kinds of things.

One of my cats will perch on her back feet and stretch out her arms to be picked up, just like a child. The other day I scooped her up, felt her little arms grasping around my neck and shoulders, felt her soft fur against my face, and listened to her soothing purr. In that moment, it was no exaggeration to say that I experienced absolute euphoria. It reminded me of the extreme highs that I read about parenthood, and I felt like was I was getting away with something… all joy and all fun instead of all joy and no fun. Even if the “high” someone might experience with a child were a thousand times greater than what I was experiencing with this furry critter, I don’t feel the need for something more. And why would I even want to trade regular euphoria and consistent contentment for constant drudgery with only very rare thousand-fold euphoria?

So while my pets are not child substitutes as I explained in my previous post, I see that as an unintended consequence, a happy accident, they can gratify me in ways that children gratify their parents -- but without the high cost.

(P.S. Yes, I realize that this post could also be filed under “crazy cat lady,” haha.)


  1. I can't say my pets are all joy and ALL fun... but I think that's just because my cat is a literal nightmare. I love her, but she's awful (even the vet has offered to put her on meds) and she doesn't like to be pet unless she's eating (WTH, I know). But she still greets me when I come home, she sleeps at the end of my bed, and she's plays a fantastic game of fetch.

    And my bird, though he has screaming matches, throws temper tantrums when I won't give in to what he wants, and occasionally bites when angry, those moments when we can have a real back-and-forth "conversation" through sounds and small words (it amazes me every time that I can converse with a creature like this)... or when he crawls in my shirt and falls asleep... those are the moments of euphoria for me too. And that's enough for me. No kids needed!

  2. This post makes me want to go home to my cats right now! My cats aren't exactly all fun all the time either, but I will take cat chaos over child chaos any day! I'm glad my biggest issue with my tabby is that he jumps on top of everything and tries to eat everything. It's better than having a backtalking teenager who ditches school, creates havoc when she does go to school, comes home at any hour of the night (if she comes home at all), eats all my food, doesn't clean up after herself, blasts music until all hours...

  3. My cats drive me crazy sometimes, but for the most part I find their presence relaxing and calming. I, too, love sitting down to watch TV with a little one on my lap and a big one on the footstool, both purring contentedly.

    I really enjoyed all of your posts on the subject! I don't think of my cats as children either, but I don't care if other people do.

  4. I am glad there are others out there who appreciate their cat family members! My friends tell me I am one cat away from crazy cat lady status. I now have 4!

  5. I think this is a very sweet written blog. :-)