VeggieBoards banner

1 - 20 of 81 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think there are problems with using the word 'pet' or 'companion animal' to refer to animals like cats or dogs so I'd like to discuss this issue here. I wrote about this issue on a internet forum area that I created over the summer, but I have had a surprisingly difficult time getting people to chat on that forum and I have not found anybody interested in discussing this issue on that forum or even giving a very short comment about this issue. So I've decided to post on Veggieboards the message that I wrote on that forum, to see if anybody here is interested in talking about the issue of what term we use to refer to animals like cats and dogs. Here is a copy of that message:<br><br><br><br>
As most of us likely know, most people use the term 'pet' to refer to animals like cats and dogs but many years ago, people in the animal rights movement realized that this is not a good term to use because it implies that these animals are just meant to be used for some purpose (for petting) instead of just being appreciated for who they are. So the term 'companion animal' was created to replace the term 'pet'.<br><br><br><br>
But I think that the term 'companion animal' is not the greatest term to use since calling an animal a 'companion animal' could imply that either the animal's purpose in the world is to be a companion to a human or that people just use this kind of animal for companionship (but some people live with cats or dogs regardless of whether they provide companionship or not, like when the animals are really senile or really anti-social). I imagine that some people might argue that the term 'companion animal' is only meant to refer to the fact that these animals often act as our companions (and this is a mutual thing) but this doesn't get rid of the problem that the term 'companion animal' could make people think that the animals are just around to be used as companions. And I also think that the relationship between cats/dogs/etc and humans is often a much deeper relationship compared to two individuals being companions (for instance, cats and humans often form really loving family-like relationships so they are not simply companions who keep each other company and hang out a bit).<br><br><br><br>
So I think the term 'family animal' is really the best term to use. The term 'family animal' seems like a good replacement for the terms 'pet' or 'companion animal' since it refers to animals that people commonly treat like family members (like cats and dogs) and this is a good way of describing animals like this since it doesn't imply that animals that we live with are just beings that are meant to be used for some purpose. The term 'family animal' also gives a much more clear picture of the actual relationship between certain animals (like cats) and humans because people do often treat these animals like dearly loved family members and not simply companions.<br><br><br><br>
Anyway, if you're is interested in letting us know what you think about this issue, then toss your comments up here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,684 Posts
"Family animal" is too easily confused with the rowdy teenage boy of the family. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/laugh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":lol:">
 
Joined
·
11,550 Posts
to be honest, 'family animal' makes me think of 'the family car', and there are dreadful connotations that i could attach to that, lol.<br><br><br><br>
i guess almost every word has connotations though... even if you call your pet your 'animal friend'... what if they don't like you (i'm sure my cat hates everybody) or have no desire to be seen as your friend (the concept of forcing friendship onto an animal sucks, i'm sure) ?<br><br><br><br>
incidently, i'm happy with the term 'pet'... in northern england <i>people</i> call each other 'pet' all the time, and i haven't seen hordes of northerners patting each other on the head inappropriately... maybe they do though, and i just haven't seen it .... thinking about it, in the midlands (the middle of england), people call each other 'me-duck' instead, actually, and i haven't heard people getting upset about this, or insisting on making each other quack/waddle/eat weed/swim naked in garden ponds etc, either.<br><br><br><br>
yeah.. erm... pet is fine with me... i think thinking up more PC terms for a domestic household animal is a bit... hmmmm.... excessively pc?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
548 Posts
I say "my cat"...if someone asked if I have any pets, Id say yes, because I do.<br><br>
I do pretty much own him. Uh sorry but when he can go out and get his own food and water, his own place to sleep, his own health care, etc. THEN he can have his "own purpose in the world". His purpose IS to be a friend to me, and in exchange for that he gets taken care of by me.<br><br><br><br>
Im not saying all animals have the same purpose, but thats the deal he ended up getting in his life, and its a not a bad deal, IMO. (especially when you see the "free" cats out on the streets starving and eating out of the garbage-Id be a pet to someone any day over that)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
I don't care what people call the animals that live with them. As long as they aren't being abused and are loved, what difference does it make? I use the term pet, and yes I like to pet my cats, but my cats seem to enjoy being petted as well, so it's mutually beneficial.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,090 Posts
umm, yeah, "family animal" sounds a bit dumb.<br><br><br><br>
"Pet" works fine for me. It doesn't carry the conotations that you say it does that I only use them for petting. It's really stretching to even imply that the term "pet" means we think of our dogs and cats as merely things to touch--nobody thinks like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,262 Posts
I agree. I don't get hung up on the word pet. Insisting that the word pet be purged from the English language will only further cement the general idea that animal protectionists are lunatics.<br><br><br><br>
As the status of pets grows in our society, we can expect words and attitudes that are no longer in-step with our attitudes toward them to become obsolete. Look at the word "master," for instance. How many people do you know who still refer to themselves as their dog's master? This word seems like a curio of an earlier time. Similar words will fall out of favor in the future, as well, when the pet-keeping public decides they are unacceptable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>starseed13</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Uh sorry but when he can go out and get his own food and water, his own place to sleep, his own health care, etc. THEN he can have his "own purpose in the world". His purpose IS to be a friend to me, and in exchange for that he gets taken care of by me.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
Starseed13, just because your cat cannot live independently does not mean that he is just in the world to be your friend and nothing else really matters with respect to his life. Human babies and children cannot live independently, but this does not mean that their sole purpose is to make their parents or guardians happy. Their lives should be respected just simply because they want to live out good lives and they should not be treated like some kind of friendship "tool" or companionship "tool".<br><br><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Obladiblada</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I don't care what people call the animals that live with them. As long as they aren't being abused and are loved, what difference does it make? I use the term pet, and yes I like to pet my cats, but my cats seem to enjoy being petted as well, so it's mutually beneficial.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
Obladiblada, it does make a difference what words we use to talk about things since this can have an impact on how we think about the world. Cats do often like to be petted but that does not mean we should think of them as just objects to have around that are meant to be petted and using the word "pet" could encourage people to think about cats like this.<br><br><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Jessica Alana</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I just call them "my animals"</div>
</div>
<br>
.<br><br><br><br>
Jessica, this doesn't help in getting a replacement for the general term "pet". I think we need a general term like "pet" so that people have a way to say things like "pet food" or "the problem with so many unwanted pets" (and people could now say "family animal food" or "the problem with so many unwanted family animals" if they think that the term "family animal" is a good term to use).
 
Joined
·
11,550 Posts
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Jessica, this doesn't help in getting a replacement for the general term "pet". I think we need a general term like "pet" so that people have a way to say things like "pet food" or "the problem with so many unwanted pets" (and people could now say "family animal food" or "the problem with so many unwanted family animals" if they think that the term "family animal" is a good term to use).</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
erm, i know i'm not jessica, but .... what about 'cat', 'dog' 'hamster', 'fish' etc .... these work pretty well for me for things like 'cat' food, etc.<br><br><br><br>
and i feel that there is merit in discussing individual animal groups when talking of unwanted animals... the problem of unwanted stick insects is very different to that of unwanted ponies- i don't know that they always need clumping together like this.<br><br><br><br>
also, obviously its not a general 'broad category' style term... but i don't think you could talk about 'an unwanted family animal' as if its not wanted, well, its not entirely considered to be 'family' is it? (i know when people cut ties with a family member, they'll say 'you are no longer part of this family' as a form of 'discommunication' of sorts... if you don't 'want' your cat, i'd see it as being similar- its no longer part of 'the family').<br><br><br><br>
i can't think of a term that'll work here... 'household animal' makes me think it comes with the house, doesn't get to leave the house, or is like a mop- a tool or utensil, or something.... while 'domesticated creature' conjures the image in my head of a trained husband.... lol.... everything has a connotation, like i said earlier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Peace</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I don't get hung up on the word pet. Insisting that the word pet be purged from the English language will only further cement the general idea that animal protectionists are lunatics.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
I think it's pretty far-fetched to think that people are going to jump to the conclusion that animal protectionists are "lunatics" because they choose to use a different word than "pet". If people were to shout and scream at people for using the word "pet" or were to get into a huge fit over people using the word "pet" then I could see people thinking that's pretty strange, but this is just a matter of choosing to use a different word because there are some problems with the existing word.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>hoodedclawjen</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
erm, i know i'm not jessica, but .... what about 'cat', 'dog' 'hamster', 'fish' etc .... these work pretty well for me for things like 'cat' food, etc.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
Hoodedclawjen, if we only used the specific animal names, then how could a person refer to a "pet food shop"? I think having a general term could be useful for this and some other things.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Hoodedclawjen</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
i don't think you could talk about 'an unwanted family animal' as if its not wanted, well, its not entirely considered to be 'family' is it?</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
I realize that it does sound pretty strange to refer to the problem of "unwanted family animals", but the word "family animal" is not being used to say that the animal belongs to a family but instead it's being used to refer to animals that humans commonly treat like family members.<br><br><br><br>
It's hard to think up a perfect general term, but I think family animal is a pretty good term and I'm definitely not a fan of the word "pet" but I might use it occasionally just to avoid complications when talking to someone and not having to explain my reasons for using a different term.
 
Joined
·
11,550 Posts
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Hoodedclawjen, if we only used the specific animal names, then how could a person refer to a "pet food shop"? I think having a general term could be useful for this and some other things.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
we buy ours at the supermarket, or if its posh food, at the vets, ... but you could always go with the store name, like 'kibbles r us' for example.... or use 'animal food store' - especially if it sold cow and sheep food and the like as well as 'pet' food (would a cow be considered a 'family animal'? if it was treated like family? or is it depenedant on how many you have, what they are there for, if they sleep on the bed, etc?)... or maybe just go with 'i'm going out to buy some cat food/we need to stop off and pick up food for tigger (with optional + at the shop /at the store that sells cat food') if you we're so inclined.<br><br><br><br>
there are plenty of store types that don't have a well publicised or used 'type of store' descriptive term like this.... one i can think of the top of my head is 'canadian tire' which sells all kinds of car stuff, house stuff, pet stuff, workwear, sports wear, and cold weather stuff... i don't need an overall broad spectrum name for a store like this, i don't say i'm going to the 'mainly aimed at sociatally deemed masculine pursuits and associated products (with some kitchen stuff and cushions thrown in there) dominated store'.... i can make myself understood without a broad spectrum term for it.<br><br><br><br>
i still don't see the disasterous connotations of the word 'pet' though... *shrugs* maybe its just me, though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,067 Posts
I think 'pet' is not among the most problematic words we use for non-humans. Words like "food animal" or "game" are much more problematic for example.<br><br><br><br>
And of course, one issue here is that since I personally don't want non-humans to be bred as our companions in the first place, I'm not even sure if I want a word that makes companion animals seem like such a good kind of animal use - 'pet' with some of its negative connotations can reflect the fact that companion animals are often just another use of animals (merely) for human ends.<br><br><br><br>
On the other hand, it is true that there are pressing problems of abuse and neglect that could be avoided if people were to view of non-human companions as genuine family members. But it is another matter how much that view hinges on the connotations of a word, and whether this will outweigh the harms of more difficult communication (due to using an unfamiliar term).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Humans get way to hung over on labels. Fight the real battles then change what these animals are called. I think they would rather be called pets and have a good loving home then be called "family animal" and conditions still be the same because everyone was debating what to call them. If someone is so stupid to think a cat is only for petting because you call it a "pet" then, they shouldn't be trusted to take care of anything living. Maybe even themselves.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
I just call them by their names. I never say "my cat" or anything, I'll say their names. I don't see a problem with the term "pet" because it has a different meaning than to pet something, really. It's just a term for animals that live in someone's house. And as someone else said, saying "my pet" or "my animal" is the same as saying "my boyfriend" or something like that. It doesn't mean you own it really.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,348 Posts
You could call pets Kibble Conversion Units or Carpet Staining Devices and nothing would change fundamentally. There's not a problem in the world that has ever been solved through euphemisms and obfuscation. (Deeds, not words, etc.)<br><br><br><br>
Assuming, that is, that calling a dog a pet is a problem. Which I don't think it is. So...yeah. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/blank.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":|">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Lumov</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Obladiblada, it does make a difference what words we use to talk about things since this can have an impact on how we think about the world. Cats do often like to be petted but that does not mean we should think of them as just objects to have around that are meant to be petted and using the word "pet" could encourage people to think about cats like this.</div>
</div>
<br>
Well, instead of calling them "family animals," which would encourage people to think that they are actually in the same family, which is not the case, since they are different species, lets come up with a completely new term for them. How about boogaboogas? Phew, problem solved. Now people will no longer believe that cats, dogs, etc. were only put here to benefit humans.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,067 Posts
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Obladiblada</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
How about boogaboogas?</div>
</div>
<br>
Why do you have to bring my first name into the discussion?
 
1 - 20 of 81 Posts
Top