Parents who are also pet owners: do you consider yourself a pet parent?

By “parents,” I mean biological mothers & fathers who have raised their genetic children as well as adoptive/step parents who have done the same. But I do not mean persons who have contributed genetic material without having done the actual work of raising a human child.

It has grown common for persons who are custodians of cats & dogs to call themselves “pet parents.” Sometimes this is because they are uncomfortable with the notion of owning another being; sometimes they seem to believe what they are doing is morally or psychologically equivalent to raising a human child. Parents who are also pet owners, does this usage bother you when applied to you?

Doesn’t bother me. The pet takes on the same family position as a child. I have a hard time seeing this with pets other than dogs. Cats don’t fit into the family that way that I’ve noticed on their own but I have seen it where there is both a cat and dog in the family.

I find it annoying and somewhat childish.

I am a pet owner, not a parent. Those are my dogs, not my furbabies.

I don’t, but I don’t mind when people refer to me that way (the vet’s office calls and says my *baby *is ready). What the hell–life is too short to get upset about something harmless that is well-meant. I’m glad people care enough about their pets to consider them children/family. I have next door neighbors who neglect their dog, and that pisses me off a whole lot more than people who think their dogs are their children.

@Tripolar- My two cats are very affectionate and not the least bit standoffish (although I’ve had cats who were). They both come to me and want to be petted. I can tell because they headbutt my hand(s). In fact, one of them has just come up on my desk for her morning makeout session, which reduces me to typing with my right hand while she rubs all over my left. And yes, I’ve already fed both of them this morning.

ETA: just re-read the thread title. I’m not a parent.

No, I’m not a pet parent. I’m Keeper of the Kibble and Dispenser of Treats and occasional Scooper of the Poop, but no, not a pet parent.

My cat is my roommate who pays for room and board with nose kisses. He also killed a mouse once, so I think he’s holding up his end of the bargain pretty well (though he could lift a paw to clean out his kitty litter…just sayin’).

I would never tell anyone I’m his “parent”. Cuz people can be weirdly sensitive about that. But when I’m talking to him (shuddup) in the privacy of our home, I’ll sometimes refer to myself as his mommy. As in, “You want Mommy to give you a treat?”

Quite right. My wife and I are both known, in the privacy of our own home, as ‘Momma’ to our dog. I suspect he thinks ‘Momma’ means ‘the Other One’.

I don’t call myself a pet parent, but I do call my cat a baby sometimes.

Umm… no. I have 3 kids (1 adopted, 2 biological) I also have a dog, a cat and a turtle. I am not the pets’ father in any sense of the word. I do like them for the most part. The dog is just a puppy, so is annoying, but not a bad dog really. They make acceptable kid replacements and I don’t really begrudge childless people the vanity of thinking themself a pet parent, but once you have kids, that vanity goes out the window(at least for me.) Kids are just tremendous time sinks and much needier than pets. Plus, they’re just a heck of a lot more fun. My wife decided to do the ‘fun park’ earlier in the day so I can’t go and I’m bummed, but a trip to the dog park I am more than happy to bow out of.

I think that mostly I’m just over animals. I had a ‘best friend’ dog that died about 7 years ago and I’ve not gotten back on the dog bandwagon since then. Our boxer was a good dog and I miss her since she died last year, but at the end of the day she was a dog. Our cat is one of those rare cats that is ultra-loving, but she’s still just a cat. The puppy is a puppy and the turtle is amusing to watch, but more akin to moving artwork than a real pet. It does know when you come by his tank and gets all excited. Honestly, if I came home today and found out the wife had given them all away to good homes, I don’t think it would bug me in the slightest - maybe the cat a little since we’ve had her 14 years now. She’s too old to be starting over even though she spent last night sleeping on my head and pillow like a freak.

I had two kids. Cared for them, taught them what I could, kept them well-fed and healthy. Then they up and left!

Our horses, dogs, and birds show far more loyalty.


Yeah we called ourselves ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ to our dogs despite having real human kids, grown up by the time of our most recent dog. It wasn’t 100% serious. And with our recent dog it was also partly to soften her image: big, ‘pit bull’ type, ears cut off, ominous stare (some people thought). People might be more at ease if they heard me address her as ‘baby’, ‘come with daddy’ etc. as opposed to something stricter sounding. It was also part of the reason for our choices in her rain and winter clothes, to make her appear a bit more the super sweet dog she actually was.

No, our cats aren’t our babies, for either of us.

We don’t seriously call ourselves “dog parents” but I will call myself “mama” to them or tell them to go find daddy. And yea, I talk baby talk to them too. It’s just a fun thing to do. They are treated very well, we love them to death and they are part of the family (no kids in the house anymore, but have grandkids over quite a bit) but they are not our children.

Like another poster said, I’d rather have people go overboard when loving and caring for their pets than neglecting them.

My mother calls my cats the “grandkitties”. She has 5 actual grandchildren via my sibs, but they don’t have any excuse not to send her thank-you notes or even text once in a while, while the cats of course can’t write and don’t get quite so many gifts anyway.

I do think of myself as a pet parent to our 2 dogs. I love them, care for them, I am concerned about their well being just as I am our teenager. Losing one of the dogs would be like losing a family member and I know I would go through a grief process, so, yes, I am their mom.

We used to call our boxer “Princess” for the same reason. She was a mix, was almost 90 lbs, her bark would shake the windows, she looked like she’d rip your head off and unfortunately, she was dumb as a post, but we would dress her in bows and pink collars. As an aside, she was by far the best dog I’ve ever owned. She never destroyed anything, very friendly and happy. The kids would treat her like a piece of furniture when they were toddlers and she would just lie there or lick them. Great dog.

I am my cats’ dad, but my cats are not my kids. They are my cats.

Also, I loathe the term “furbaby.”

Currently no dogs but when I did they weren’t my babies. I am reasonably certain that if I die my children won’t eat me. I don’t have the same confidence in the dogs.

I’m not saying my wife and I were the dog’s parents or the dog was our child, only that the dog(s) took the same hierarchical position in the family as the kids.

I have human kids. I also have a cat. Although I may sometimes jokingly refer to her as my kids’ sister or something, I don’t consider myself her parent and I find the whole “fur baby” thing to be stupid although inoffensive enough that I just roll my eyes on the inside.

My cat’s a cat. I like her plenty and she’s treated well but, when she dies, I’ll go get another cat when I want one. She is generally replaceable. I don’t feel the same about my children.