Pets? No, Thanks.

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Some of my friends have animals, and they love them. They post pictures of their dogs and cats on their blogs, and on Facebook, and Twitter. And, you know, I think that's great. I certainly don't dislike animals. It's just that I have no desire to own one myself.

I'm perfectly fine with busting the myth of the single cat lady. (I'm not going to call it "crazy cat lady," because, you know, whatever. The majority of single female cat-owners I know are perfectly rational and lovely.)

I've dated men who had dogs, so if a guy has a pet it isn't an automatic disqualifier -- I mean, he's the one who would have to take care of it. For my part, I'm more than happy to rub your pet's head (as long as I can wash my hands afterward), and coo about how cute it is, and maybe even put some thought into how very social it can be to have a dog. (I mean, how easy is it to strike up a conversation with someone when they're walking around with a dog? I see it happen all the time.)

I like animals, I just don't love animals. If I loved an animal, I guess I wouldn't mind having to deal with a cat's litter box, or getting up early in the morning (or in the snow, or rain) to take a dog outside, or vacuuming up their fur.

It's not like I've never had a pet. I know how it is to live with one -- in fact, there have been pets in almost all of the locations I've lived in since I was a kid. We had a variety of animals when I was growing up. A dog, or a cat, or both. There were also hamsters, and a bird.

However, I haven't lived with a pet for over three years, since I moved to northern Virginia in October 2006. I lived by myself first, and for the past two years I've had a roommate. My roommate is actually a huge animal lover, and I'm sure she'd have a cat if she could -- but she happens to be extremely allergic to anything with fur. Although I'm sorry that someone who loves animals as much as she does can't have one, I have to admit I'm glad that I don't to worry about her bringing an animal home.

I've mentioned that I'm thinking about finding a new place to live, and if I decide to get a new roommate instead of living by myself, yes, I would use the presence of a pet as a roommate-disqualifier. I don't mind pets in somebody else's house, but given a choice I'd rather not have one in my house.

Additional downsides to having a pet that I've noticed and internalized: Vet bills - I'm always hearing about someone who had to spend hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on a sick pet. General maintenance - lugging around big bags of dog food or cat litter. Inconvenience - having to come home to take a dog outside when you'd rather do something else (or having to pay someone to come in and take them for a walk in the middle of the day). Having to plan around them - dealing with boarding them when you go on vacation, or having to get someone else to watch them.

I've found there are certain things that are nice to have sometimes, but they're more trouble than they're worth the other times. This is how I feel about pets. While it might seem like a pleasant distraction to have a cat curled by my side, or for a dog to look at me with that quizzical, head-tipped gaze, the fact is I know myself, and I know that I would be annoyed and possibly resentful most of the time if I were the sole caretaker for an animal.

Does anybody else feel this way?

Related Reading:

Dolittler is a veterinarian and doesn't understand people who don't like pets. She compiled a list of some of the issues "that hold people back when it comes to animal-keeping," but none of the issues she lists are reasons that I've given. For instance, I don't think pets are dirty

...

“Pets are dirty and spread disease”: This POV is common but does not apply to the kind of pet keeping you and I are familiar with. Still, if someone was raised by a filthy aunt who kept cats in deplorable conditions you can understand why they might forever be traumatized by the concept of cat pee. Furthermore, it’s this sentiment that keeps pets out of doors among many who hold it dear.

JanaARIES said that she didn't grow up with many pets and didn't used to like them...but then she got her terrier.

When I brought that little fur ball home and into my life, she did what pets do. She wrapped me so many times around her paw in about 5 seconds and showed me just how much love you can get from a pet and how much love and respect they deserve.

FibraArtysta posted "an open letter to pets" on her blog (she didn't write but, but found it funny). An excerpt:

If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.

(Contributing editor Zandria blogs at Zandria.us.)

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