Today, unconventional families are on the rise, and one example of this would be families with pets instead of kids.
For some, their pets become their kids temporarily, at least until they are ready to have children of their own. Others are content with just being pet parents.
And although pets are affectionate, cute, and cuddly, there are deeper reasons, and valid ones, why some would choose to have pets instead of children.
#1. Pets Are More Financially Feasible
One of the primary reasons for the explosion of pet parents is personal finances.
Young professionals today enter the workforce with so many financial anxieties, including paying off student loans, and starting a family is not a priority.
Pet owners know that owning these fur babies may be expensive, with annual costs ranging from RM1,500 to RM3,000 per year for one pet. However, this is more affordable than having and raising a child who can cost much higher as years go by.
For cash-strapped couples, a pet is a likely choice because it is more feasible, and they can diligently commit to providing for their pet's needs.
#2. You Are The Forever Hero
In your dog or cat’s eyes, you are perfect. You are someone who can do no wrong. Your cat may judge you but otherwise will still love you.
Kids will adore you, but there is a good chance that this will change when your kids hit adulthood. As your children mature and seek to discover themselves, they will rely less and less on you, and they will be someone else's hero once they marry or start a family on their own.
Unfortunately, there is also the reality that not all parent-child relationships are guaranteed to be beautiful and loving. In comparison, your pets will need you forever, and in return for your care, they will give you eternal love and loyalty.
Pets will be with you throughout their lives, and the excitement and affection they showed you when they were three months old will remain the same until they reach their senior years. You are enough for your pets.
#3. Pets Are Ideal “Starter Children”
One of the worries of young couples today is if they will be good parents, and raising a pet can help them figure out their parenting skills.
Although raising a pet and a kid are not the same, they have certain similarities. A puppy or kitten that is being trained to sleep in a crate might wake you up at night, much like a baby who needs to be fed will. Both can be stubborn and naughty.
For couples who hope to share parenting duties, taking care of a pet may be a useful exercise that will help them when they bring in a child.
#4. Pets Boost Your Mental Health
Young professionals nowadays have too much going on that is affecting their mental health. Long hours at work can lead to depression, anxiety, and eventually burnout. Not to mention the much larger factors that are occurring around the world, such as the pandemic, war, recession, and so on, which have a significant impact on how we perceive the future holds for our children.
And due to this mental toll, couples tend to prefer pets to kids primarily because kids come with greater responsibilities than pets.
Pets promote better psychological wellness because they can reduce your stress and increase happiness.
#5. Pets Allow You to Prioritize Yourself
When couples have a child, priorities shift, and the child becomes the primary focus.
With cats, you can continue to put yourself first without sacrificing your freedom and independence. You don’t have to completely alter your lifestyle and routine for your pet because the responsibilities can seamlessly integrate into your existing one.
For example, the best part if you have cats, they share the same need for freedom and self-priority, so you can leave your tabby on its own business without feeling guilty.
#6. Culture And Tradition Evolved
As an Asian child, we are bound by our tradition that children must care for their parents financially and emotionally. However, times have changed, and the newer generation believes that they are responsible for their own lives and do not need to rely on others or their children, if they have any. This means that saving for retirement and taking care of one's own health are priorities to ensure one's senior years are covered. As a result, having children is no longer a guarantee or security for the majority of people.
It is a huge responsibility that requires your complete dedication, whether it is for children or pets. Finding your own purpose, whether it's to raise a pet, start a new life, or both, is a wonderful thing.