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How do people on here feel about pet ownership?



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Hi Sean,

I'm new here, thanks for friending me. To answer your question, I never use or think in terms of  "own" or even "pet", I just think that I have these great dogs and a cat that share space with us and are part of our family. I think of them all as friends/family and I just can't fathom the idea of ownership.I think that there are some animals that, due to years of domestication, enjoy our company and share our need for companionship but I'm not thrilled with the idea of  having birds/rabbits/or the like in cages or on tethers. How do you feel?

Hi Sherry,

Thank you so much for responding, which I think you put really well! I feel similarly to you. One of my friends says about the dog she says, "I am her person." I like that, :)



Firstly I will say that I do think language is important.  However, I think it's interesting that so many people on AR forums focus so much on "pet ownership" in a straw man kind of way.  Most people including meat eaters who have dogs or cats don't say "I own my dog/cat".  Rather they see their animal in much the same way as a family member.  They are more likely to say "I have a dog/cat" in the same way as saying "I have a child"  It does not imply ownership. I've never seen the term 'ownership' being applied to animals by anyone other than people in AR forums who argue against it when no one has argued for it.  The same applies to 'pet'.  As far as I'm concerned 'pet' isn't a word that I use but neither is it one I take offence at as I see it as simply meaning a domesticated animal living with humans.  The species of animals who are appropriate to live with humans are another matter and I agree with Sherry that no animal should be caged.  That includes keeping cats indoors with no outside access to freely roam, play and explore.  It astounds me when people purporting to support animal rights keep their own cats locked in their homes AKA large cages.

Hi Tucker,

I understand where you're coming from but because of the wording of the original question, I wanted to be precise and answer the question the way I understood it, pertaining to "ownership".  I am a New Englander who happens to live in the south and I have seen things here that I never saw back home as far as the way some people view animals. I don't know where you live but , unlike your experience, mine has definitely included people believing they own their dog/cat. A few years back I had to pay a guy for his puppys just so I could rescue them and  he made it very clear that these were his dogs and he would be payed for them. He wasn't feeding them, housing them or vetting them but because the mother lived with him, he determined that these were his dogs and he shoud be paid.  In essence, in his mind, he "owned" them. I have heard "I have papers to prove I own this dog"  on other occasions. I know plenty of people who treat the dogs the live with like family but if I drive a few hours from here, it's a whole new world as to how dogs and cats are viewed and it's disturbing as hell.  You may be right about some people being hyper-sensitive to certain terms and if so, I am definitely guilty of that. I've never thought about it but I might guess that it's because I feel that so many believe animals are ours to use in any and all ways and I want to stress that they are not. 

Hi Sherry


I think the example you've given about the man selling puppies is an example of animal exploitation and it is also of course an example of animals being treated as commodities.  For me , that is more about the property status of animals rather than 'pet ownership'.  As we (the human race) are responsible for  domesticating animals in the first place and as there are now millions of domesticated animals in existence it is only right that we offer them good, comfortable homes where their needs can be met.  Of course there are many people who have these animals (pets) and do not look after them properly and for me that is more about animal abuse than 'pets'.  On the subject of ownership, from a legal perspective many animals are 'owned' as they are first and foremost legally deemed as property.  Where I live dogs are legally 'owned' by their carers whilst cats are not.  In your example about people saying "I have papers to prove I own this dog" they are probably reporting legal facts.  Those same people may or may not treat their animals well and it is this that I would judge them on rather than the language they use to describe their relationship with their dog.  If I had a dog and someone tried to take her I would object by saying "she's mine" which could imply I own her .  Although from a moral perspective I wouldn't own her saying that I do may be the only way to get her back. So the people you quote in your example may have said what they did to make sure they kept their dogs.  I only ever hear the pet/owner discussions on AR forums where some of the very same people writing reams against pet ownership cut the claws from their cats and don't allow them outside.  That is animal abuse and  I'm far more concerned about that than I am about domestic animal terminology.  I don't think you're being hyper-sensitive to terminology.  In fact I have lots of issues with other terminology used in AR forums but that's another topic!   It's a good thing to be critical of language use.  It's just that I don't personally hear people use the term 'ownership' when referring to their relationship with their animals and although I don't use it myself, I don't have a problem with the term 'pet'.  I'm in England by the way. 

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