Silly Things People Have Said to Me When I Tell Them I Don’t Want Pets

I know, I know, you think I have no heart. Everyone does when I tell them that I don’t have (or ever want to have) a pet. But I do have a soul, I swear. I’m just not that into four-legged, furry creatures, and I certainly don’t want one running around my cozy one-bedroom apartment.

Listen, I never said I don’t like pets. And I don’t think I’ve ever implied that I’m “anti-animal.” I’m just not a “pet person” (and neither is my husband, thankfully).

But still, people just don’t get it. Recently, when I told a friend that my husband and I were thinking about starting a family next year, she said: “Get a pet first. That way, you’ll know you if you can handle kids.” When I told her no way, and that I’d take a baby over a dog any day, she looked at me as though I had just murdered a bunny rabbit.

We let my friend’s cat, Ciel, stay at our place once (it was an emergency situation).
See how nice I’m being? (Photo: Andy Kropa)

To me, a pet is just as much of a responsibility as a baby, maybe even more of one. I know I can’t control what people think of me. But here’s my attempt to explain myself, when faced with these silly, “why-are-you-an-animal-hater?” questions.

“Are you insane?”

Sure. But not because I don’t want pets. Perhaps if I lived on a sprawling estate, where there was space for a dog to run free and a room that I could dedicate solely to the kitty litter box, I’d consider it. But the fact of the matter is I live in a small apartment in Brooklyn, with my husband. A big dog would be miserable here — it would be unfair to make a large animal live in such tight quarters. And I’m pretty positive I’d end up accidentally stepping or sitting on a teeny-tiny “apartment dog.” And cats, while more suited for apartments, shed all over everything, scratch up almost anything and require a litter box, which smells God-awful, no matter what magical products you use to try to cover the odor. All of that sounds like pretty sane reasoning to me.

“But don’t you love animals?”

I do love animals. I love watching them on YouTube, I love playing with other people’s pets, I even enjoy a good petting zoo every now and then. But, other than the YouTube watching, those things don’t happen in my apartment, and therefore there’s no pee, poop, hair, or worst of all, destroyed items that we love, left behind. Like Roscoe, our wonderfully sweet, incredibly patient and blessedly silent stuffed watchdog. HE’S our kind of pet.

Meet Roscoe
(Photo: Susan Linney/

“Didn’t you grow up with pets?”

Yup. I had a beautiful calico cat that I named Foo-Foo. We got her when I was seven years old and she died my sophomore year in college. I loved her, she was a part of the family, and I was devastated when she passed away. But the thing is, I didn’t really have to take care of her. My mom did most of that. So I had all the perks of owning a cat without having to do any of the work. Foo-Foo was also — how do you say — kind of a bitch. Which I liked about her: she didn’t cozy up to just anybody (in fact, she often drew blood from some of my friends). She wasn’t a lap slut. Which is why I knew I was special: She did cozy up to me.

Point is, I had a wonderful pet growing up, but I didn’t have to clean up after her, pay for her food, or clean out her litter box. What I had, in essence, was a fantasy pet, something that I wouldn’t be able to pull off today.

“Did you have a bad run-in with an animal?”

Nope. I do not suffer from pet PTSD. I just don’t want one.

Are you allergic?

No, but my sister is, which caused a bit of an upset when Foo-Foo was adopted. My sister is 11 years older than me, so she was out of the house by the time Foo-Foo moved in, but I’m sure my sis felt a bit slighted when she learned that my parents had gotten me a cat. And it sucked when she came over — she could stay 30 minutes, maybe 45 tops before she started suffering a miserable sneeze fest. This is another reason why I don’t want a cat, which I think is the most appropriate pet for city living. I don’t want my sister to be unable to comfortably hang out in my home.

Do you avoid sites like I Can Has Cheezburger?

NO. You don’t have to own a pet to find humor in them. My husband agrees:

(Photo courtesy of Andy Kropa, fellow non-pet owner
and fan of I Can Has Cheezburger.)

I’m not stupid, I’m not heartless, I’m not a tight-assed person, I swear. I just don’t want animal hair, urine, feces, throw-up or clawed-up furniture and clothing in my apartment. I’m sure, as EVERYONE SAYS, that the love you feel is well worth the inconveniences, but I just don’t feel the need to find out.

A baby will be plenty, if we are eventually blessed with one, thank you very much.

This piece was originally published on December 3, 2013. 

Tell Us in the Comments

What do you think?

35 Responses

  1. Russ Merritt

    Thank god, I am not alone. I feel just as you do. I don’t hate animals. I just don’t want them in my home.

  2. E

    Exactly how I feel. I don’t want the responsibility of a pet. I don’t like animals as much as most people but I certainly don’t hate them and still think their cute.
    I just don’t see the appeal of taking care of a pet and putting all that work (and money) in.
    I have a toddler and having a child is hard work but worth it. I could never love a let as much as her though. To me an animal will never equal a person. And you’re not expected to love every person you meet why do people with pets expect you to love every animal you meet.
    I also had a fear of dogs as a child (no traumatic experience, just irrational fear) and a general anxiety around animals. I never quiet got over my nervousness and won’t pick up animals except for my mom’s cat that we got when I was older. And while I loved the cat, I certainly don’t want another.
    But I just find dogs pretty gross even the cute ones and get easily annoyed by them and I don’t think this makes me horrible. It’s not like I’m forcing anyone to agree with me, just want people tostop trying to force me into a whole lot of work and annoyance just so I can be living how THEY think is best.

  3. commom sense

    I agree so much with this article. I despise pets in the home. I don’t care how much you clean it still smells like a pet home. The hair. There is nothing else to say except, the hair. It is always there and never goes away.

    I really hate it. I take pride in being clean and well groomed and having animal hair on my clothes, floors, or furniture disgusts me.

    Pet people need to realize that pets are NOT people. So often pet keeping people are animal rights activists, anti-hunters, blah blah blah because the “like animals better than people”. Please come to your senses. Keeping a cat or a dog is no different than keeping a sheep or chicken in the house.

  4. yourmother

    I was with her up until the last part of having kids. Nope, no pets, no kids. I’m good.

  5. Sally

    I can totally relate. My husband and I both grew up with pets but don’t want any right now. I’m pregnant with my second baby now. We’re both 31. We’d like to have 3-4 children first, and then think about pets. The way I see it, you have a limited time in which you can have kids (basically your 20’s and early 30’s) but you have your entire life to have pets. You can get a dog when you’re 50 or 60, whenever. Sure you might be able to have a child in your late 30’s but you might have trouble and might require expensive fertility treatments if you wait too long. Also, you’ll be an old parent which is rough. Our plan is after having 4 kids, we might get a dog when the kids are grown up but we don’t have grandkids yet.

  6. Deb

    I have 2 cats. I’m 38 and these were the first pets I owned myself. I got them as kittens. I’m being totally honest when I say if I had known, I would never have gotten them. I love one with all my heart and get really upset when I think about rehoming him. They cause me great anxiety. They forced their way to breaking out of my apt to spemd time outside daily. I HATE that they poop outside, then step where I sleep. I can’t clip their nails since they need them outside so I’m always on edge. I have had to take them to be dewormed from hanging outside. The neighbors put up netting since they pooped in their yard. I wish I xould reverse that decision. I’ve gotten fat because of them. If a had a big yard with a cat fence I’d have less anxiety as I would know they would not get injured or totured outside and they would not poop in someone’s yard. But I don’t have that. Please I wish I could reverse it and never got them. Oh and I forgot to mention they make moving impossible, very expensive, and you are never free again to take trips.

  7. Lillian Pictor

    I have had dogs and cats as a child, and cats as an adult, but we are retired on low income and we can’t afford pets. Also, we don’t want pets now. They are just the source of more stress. I am sure not going to scoop poop after a dog. I have more than I can do now. And all pets leave fur everywhere, fleas, ticks, and bacteria. I love cats but they step in the litter box and then walk all over the house. I don’t feel an emotional need for a pet. I love children and was a daycare teacher for years, but I don’t want more children. Just my grandchildren to visit, having raised a grandchild already. It just puzzles me when I see poor people on welfare assistance with a house full of little yappy dogs. And I have seen this a lot. They can barely afford to eat but they have all these dogs running around. There are too many dogs and cats in the world and they are abused and neglected quite a bit. I question if it is really a fair thing to have animals trapped in houses or tied outside on chains. Most people are gone all day and the animals are just left alone. And medical cars for them is a fortune, not to mention food.


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