The Heatley CliffConfession: I Am Not An Animal LoverAmy Foster

I’m not an animal hater, either. I’m just sort of… indifferent when it comes to animals.

I’m not always indifferent. Sometimes during a wildlife show on TV, when I see elephants or lions or some other truly majestic creature, I am in awe. But that’s on a screen. I don’t have any particular urge to see those animals in real life. I mean, I would love to go on a safari (no hunting!) but I’m so neurotic. I would probably lay awake all night long, sure my face was about to be ripped off by a hyena.

I don’t find all wild animals so regal. I’m not into snakes and lizards. AT ALL. I am also terrified of birds. When I lived in British Columbia, I literally had a forest in my back yard but I was so terrified of the bear population that my kids would be attacked by bears, I rarely took advantage of it. I’m not exaggerating here either. We never left the house for a walk without bear bells and bear spray. I don’t see the point of bears. In all honesty, I’m not so indifferent about bears. I don’t like them. But you know what I am indifferent about? Dogs… and cats, too.

I just don’t get it. Cats I get more because they kind of do their own thing and take care of their own bathroom needs and aren’t so needy in general. But dogs… so much work! And for me, that’s me personally, the effort and energy isn’t equal to the return. Here’s where all of this becomes an issue. I’ve noticed on several occasions that many animal lovers have a habit of assuming everyone is animal lover. I get nervous when people show me pictures of their brand new puppy. I worry I’m not being effusive enough. I care that someone I care about is happy. But really, I don’t care about their dog enough to look at 50 photos. One picture, one single picture, is good.

I am not moved by cats playing pianos, falling cutely off snowy car rooftops or being grumpy. I don’t want to see videos of animals. Period. I don’t want to see posters of animals with sassy captions, either. Facebook is the worst. It really is. Instagram is pretty bad, too. I take umbrage with the notion of people calling their animals their children. Animals are not children. Children are children. I have three children. I love them. I think they’re pretty adorable (sometimes) but I don’t expect my friends or even my family to think my kids are as adorable as I do. I have a sister who insists my mother refer to her three dogs as her grandchildren. I am so annoyed by this I can’t tell you. I understand, in theory, the great love and companionship a pet can offer. I can even understand preferring your pet’s company at times to that of a kid who is being difficult. But, any way you slice it, it isn’t parenthood. Not every animal lover feels this way, I get that too. Some people love animals because they are animals. They would never try to compare the love a mother has for her child to the love an owner has for their pet. I wish they would give my sister the memo.

This is not a popular opinion. That’s why I am confessing this to you. I would probably never say this out loud. I certainly would never say this to an animal lover. I am saying this to all of you reading this that wish your friends would stop sending you photos of their dogs or posting pictures of their dogs in sweaters on Facebook or busting you for not liking their video on Instagram of their cat trying to play with a toy while high on catnip or asking you for donations for animal charities. That’s the worst. I’ve got a long list of charities that mean something to me. Animals are pretty low on that list, don’t hate me! Like I said, I’m not an animal hater. I think people who have abused animals should be prosecuted. I just wanted all of you out there who are like me to know that you are not alone and that it’s okay to not want a pet. Ever.

Featured image via ShutterStock

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  1. This is generally how I feel about children and babies. Unless they are very closely related to me or my partner. I can see a small child and appreciate how cute they might be in a certain moment but I am not moved in the same way you are not moved by an animal. I just pretend that I am interested usually.

    My 2 furry companions however—- THEY ARE THE BEST AND THE WORLD SHOULD KNOW!! :-D

  2. Thank you for this! First time I’ve seen anyone admit that they’re indifferent towards animals. I occasionally see a dog or cat that I think is kind of cute, but most of the time, I don’t really feel anything when I see one. It’s worst when I’m walking down the street with some friends, and they all decide to stop and pet/coo over somebody’s dog. What am I supposed to do in the meantime? I usually just end up standing to one side, admiring the buildings around us or something.