Why Do People Have Pets?

Personally, I feel pets are always a burden financially, emotionally, and environmentally.

I am totally in support of native species who got destroyed by pets turned feral. If there is no demand there will be no supply. People who breed these dogs or cats do breed specifically because there is a demand. Humans already go through a lot of trauma and personal losses, why add a few more (pets) to your life which is totally avoidable. Is companionship a reason? Or do humans want to feel special? Domestication is fairly recent in our evolutionary past. No other animal will take care of another species in the wild(If they do, we will consider as a wonder). Then why do humans do it? Is pets are one of the side effects of having an analytical and creative brain like the creation of religion or have people fell for marketing fairly recently like diamonds and Halloween or Fathers, Mothers, Valentines days, etc.

Can you tell what is the reason why you have pets because it is beyond my sense why people have pets?


      • +10

        Some will say your kid is far more of a burden than a pet, why did you have a kid?

        • +4

          100% right. OP probably does see kids as a burden but had them to comply with cultural norms, so in fact probably shouldn’t have had them.

        • +5

          It was an accidental kid

      • +8

        So sad. My father was the same. Had no love for anything, pets and family included. I think your attitude speaks volumes about your compassion and love for life.

      • +2

        You're either a troll or a really bad parent.

        • +1


  • +7

    My bird shits everywhere but he makes cute noises that make me happy so its a fair trade.

    Bird Tax: https://imgur.com/a/gedvjy7

    • My chick does the same, but she makes me happy too

  • +3

    Wanted more comedic value in the house, got 2 cats and they're making me laugh my head off doing silly stuff. Low maintainence, quiet, self-cleaning, affectionate (surprisingly). Best thing ever

  • +2

    Because Pets are for companionship, just like having friends or children. You dont have to have either, you have a choice, you choose to do it because you see a benefit in having them around or spending time with them. And with friends and children, you also have to put in time, effort, financial and emotional, otherwise it doesnt work. I make sure to always get a rescue Pet.

  • +4

    I think op is just being miserable because he realised he can't comprehend some things and then somehow needed justification for being so.

  • Op must be young still

  • +4

    I have a pet because I can spend time with someone I love that won't tell me bullshit

  • Best thing we ever did was adopt a pet from the rspca. Give an animal a forever home who, through no fault of its own, found itself abandoned.

    The question is, why would you not do such a thing if you are in a position to do so?

  • Why do people seek a partner? Pets offer companionship simple as that. Those that have them consider them apart of the family and as such they aren't looked at as a burden.

  • +10

    OP, if this isn't a troll post then your inner sociopath is showing. Please don't ever get a pet, and probably don't have kids either as they are also a financial, emotional and environmental burden.

    Pets aren't for everyone as they <i>are</i> a burden. They take time and commitment. In return, you get the satisfaction of caring for something other than yourself and exercising love and compassion - something you seem to lack.

    I got a kitten about 8 months ago from the RSPCA and it became apparent early on that there was something wrong with her. $2000+ at the vet over a stressful few months later, she took a turn today and began getting ready to die. I just got back from euthanising her and I am gutted. During her short life I took great joy in looking after her and spending time with her, and she gave me love and affection in return. Would it have been easier not to have adopted her? Sure. Much less expensive and much less painful. But I accepted that burden willingly because I received a companion in return, and like I said, I'm not a sociopath and have the capacity to care for other creatures.

    We could get into an argument about moral relativism etc…. I acknowledge that we all have lines etc.. and society and people accept different levels of harm when it comes to animals. I'm not PETA or a vegan so I won't argue that all animals deserve or are treated like pets are. But if you truly don't understand the value of a pet and why people accept the burden of caring for one, then get help.

    • +3

      I completely agree about the sociopath. Now that you mentioned it.

    • +2

      Sorry to hear about your cat.

      • Thanks :)

    • +1

      Not judging but just to give you a perspective…

      Some see this as such a waste of time, effort and money - resources that could be spent pursuing more pressing needs.

      • +3

        Which I understand. Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I'd hoped to be. My point was that I understood that by stating that pets are a burden ie. something you priortise resources for but that many people take on that burden willingly due to love, compassion, companionship etc… I called OP a sociopath because it's obvious from their phrasing and responses that they completely disregard and cannot (or refuse to) understand how or why people would have a pet… or children… or relationships or hobbies or anything in life that you could describe as being a burden or having an overall cost/benefit imbalance.

        Not that it's really relevant, but I agree with you that there are more pressing needs in life than a pet. My opinion is if a pet means you cannot afford a roof over your head or food on the table, then a pet is probably not a burden for you.

  • +10

    It’s simple really. I despise humans and love animals.

  • Domestication is fairly recent in our evolutionary past

    Evidence? I was led to believe that ancient Egyptians kept cats as pets a few thousand years back. Cows have been milked, horses have been ridden also for longer than written records have existed.
    I smell a rat, a pet rat….

  • +2

    Animals look after other species all the time.

    Given your train of thoughts expressed OP I think it might be a good idea to get a psychiatric evaluation. I'm not joking either, you may have a dangerous disorder.

  • +4

    Interesting read. My kelpie keeps me fit. She likes/needs a walk every day and I've gone from 110kg to 75kg just by walking. The look on her face as she runs around the gate when we are about to go for a walk brings me joy. Dogs bring you happiness.

    Feel sorry for you OP.

    • Sounds like you love your kelpie's company :D

  • Why do some people insist the world is flat?

  • just out of interest
    do people avoid having pets also avoid having a significant other with a pet?

    • From my, albeit limited, personal experience, I've noticed that men with cats for pets tend to be more intense, almost to the point of being neurotic. The strange thing is that I quite liked their cats but the relationship with their owners were emotionally draining.

      I married someone who didn't have any pets but have since adopted a dog and the next-door neighbour's cat has adopted us.

  • They say you can't buy friends, but you absolutely can with dogs.
    If you're willing to put in time and love, a dog will love you unconditionally.
    It will encourage you to get outside every day and be active.
    It will sense when you are sad and cuddle up to you.
    It will show appreciation every time you even give it food.
    It will alert you to home intruders.
    I can't think about my dog looking at me without feeling warm and loved.

    If you feel differently, then don't get a dog. Simples.

  • If you look at our ancestors, there are many evidence that suggest humans had animals as companions. Cats domesticated themselves in the ancient Egypt because they figured out hanging out with humans allowed them access to food by hunting rats.

  • +4

    "24-hours limit for voting negative on comments is currently capped at 5"
    and i used all 5 in this one thread lmao

  • OP are you really human? Not AI or a robot?

  • Personally, I feel pets are always a burden financially, emotionally, and environmentally.

    Yes financially, not sure about environmentally (how?) - but emotionally - I would say most who have pets wouldn't see this at all. If anything, the opposite.

    I am totally in support of native species who got destroyed by pets turned feral. If there is no demand there will be no supply. People who breed these dogs or cats do breed specifically because there is a demand.

    Not sure the logic you're going with here. But yes, I'd say most businesses a run based on demand. Not sure how relevant this point is to pets. You could say this about anything.

    Humans already go through a lot of trauma and personal losses, why add a few more (pets) to your life which is totally avoidable.

    I guess you're seeing the burden of the loss as being greater than the joy during the life of the pet. Like others are saying, you could say the same thing about kids.

    Is companionship a reason?

    Yes I think so for some, and also just social interaction in general.

    Or do humans want to feel special?

    I would personally never have thought of this as a reason…nor would I think that people have pets to 'feel special'. Perhaps this is a reflection on your own thinking? Do you think people have pets to make meaning of their life / feel special? I mean I guess it could be true for some.

    Domestication is fairly recent in our evolutionary past. No other animal will take care of another species in the wild(If they do, we will consider as a wonder). Then why do humans do it?

    Again, like your comment on supply & demand - not sure where you're going here. Are you saying that because animals can take care of themselves, then we shouldn't have them as pets? I think having a pet is not really connected to whether the animal is self-sustaining or not. Why humans have pets - I think is a question by itself.

    Is pets are one of the side effects of having an analytical and creative brain like the creation of religion or have people fell for marketing fairly recently like diamonds and Halloween or Fathers, Mothers, Valentines days, etc

    I find the logic/connection of this kinda strange here. Maybe it's the phrasing, but I don't think having pets is a 'side effect' to anything. It's not like if you're not creative, then you wouldn't have a pet. But if you're a creative person, you suddenly have the urge for a pet. Same for being analytical. I would guess, there is no causation (or even correlation) from being creative or analytical…although I'm not sure where you could find data to support this.

    You're linking 'having pets' to:
    * Being analytical
    * Being creative
    * Having a religion
    * Influenced by marketing
    * Participating in Halloween
    * Celebrating parents
    * Celebrating with your partner

    Not sure about everyone else, but that's a pretty widespread set of attributes which I see not much linkage to having pets at all.

    Can you tell what is the reason why you have pets because it is beyond my sense why people have pets?

    As others have said - why anything? Why do you have children - is probably the easiest parallel to pets.

  • +3

    It helps with my mother’s depression. I am glad I got her a companion :)

    She has no regrets and lives a happier life. Motivates her to go for walks and get out of the house with the added emotional support.

  • +1

    Op - I am totally in support of native species who got destroyed by pets turned feral.

    Me - What!?

    Op - That's the reason our kids feel special and get arousal when we see the opposite sex and juices activate when we see food.

    Me - What!?

  • OP lets just use dogs as an example. Dogs were domesticated about 20,000-40,000 years ago when we were still hunter gatherers. Working dogs gave humans a massive evolutionary advantage. Their hearing, sight and smell are like 100x supercharged versions of what we have and they work all day for back rubs and some bones. Give a stone aged hunting party a pack of trained dogs and they'll outhunt a dog free group at least 2:1. In a violent conflict a pack of dogs will turn the tide of any battle. Think of the farmers who herd with dogs, the eskimos who use pack dogs for long distance transport, all the working dogs that fulfill essential task that humans can't do. You sit behind your computer in your airconditioned home forgetting civilisation as we know it is only a recent thing and for 150,000 years humans struggled for survival in a harsh, competitive environment where everyone and everything wanted us dead. Having a buddy that can smell, see and hear things from a distance with vicious teeth who was willing to die to defend your group was pretty good advantage to have. Humans and dogs evolved together and so the presence of one provides comfort and security. Also, I don't trust people who dislike dogs (using this example, they're an evolutionary dead end).

  • +10

    From OP's comments, you can tell he's the epitome of the type of guy that thinks he's above average intelligence but it's just illusory superiority.

  • +4

    People have pets for many reasons; domestication of animals has been an evolutionary trade with those domesticated animals for a good 20,000 years or so.

    Pets offer plenty of benefits to their hooman companions in a purely domesticated sense; all scientifically and medically backed through a multitude of studies including:

    • Reducing stress.
    • Lower blood pressure.
    • Increase physical activity.
    • Boost heart health.
    • Ease loneliness and depression.
    • Help specific health concerns.
  • +4

    If you're looking for scientific reasons, it's for the same reasons we're biologically wired to have kids - pets effectively tap into our same familial/social systems.

    Our species wouldn't continue if we didn't place high value on infant care… & this is partially because we walk upright - our smaller hips mean our offspring have shorter gestation periods; we give birth to babies whose brains have not developed as much (compared with other mammals) & they require a lot of care.

    In addition, our large brains have come at the expense of strong muscles, so, in the past, we need to form strong social bonds to survive… that continues in the modern world (EQ=success).

    Pets of course provide an easy way to win at infant care and social bonding (and our brains are evolutionarily wired to be validated by that).

  • The world is not just for humans, unfortunately humans think other way

  • You could ask the same thing but with kids too

  • There's a lot of evidence that supports the theory that humans are domesticated animals, domestication is not at all recent in our evolutionary history. Humans are inherently social and we are inherently drawn to other social people, for very obvious evolutionary beneficial reasons. We are also drawn to other social species for just as obvious reasons.

  • I know an ex-army guy who has a companion dog, a huge help with his PTSD.

  • Wait til you experience kids

  • Pets bring joy. Sorry for you that you can't see that.

  • Why do people marry and have kids? it comes with massive burdens in just about every possible way - emotionally, financially - especially if the relationship breaks down.
    Such a silly question. Sounds like the best solution for OP is to cut all ties with the society, family and live in a cave by him/herself.

    • Can we find a cave bargain for OP?

  • +1

    A burden emotionally? Stopped reading after this point.

  • +1

    If you're going to put peoples pets under a financial / emotional / environmental / evolutionary microscope, I think pets are a really weird place to start at.

    For example, look at you making this post on the internet:

    • Paying for your computer / internet / power bill to post this is not financially smart at all.
    • Arguing with strangers in this thread is not emotionally fulfilling at all, even detrimental to your mental health (this thread could be used as a case study).
    • Environmental footprint of your PC, the server this website is hosted on, electricity, internet cables etc.. is terrible for the environment.
    • Evolutionarily humans have had pets for longer than they have worn shoes, learned to read/write, used computers, machinery, cars etc..

    Is this just as bad as a pet?

    Life is weird. Everything we do can be explained away as an financial / emotional / environmental / evolutionary waste. Your brain is a big piece of fat sitting in your skull with some electricity going through it. You're going to be irrational.

    One thing I know for sure though is that I'm going to enjoy my short time on this earth with my dog.

  • It sounds like you're already aware of the direction that your personality leans OP. Stop baiting a bargain forum for gratification

    When you say something that goes against people's sincerely held beliefs and frame it as matter of fact,of course people will get offended. That's no indication of our character but instead your inability to frame a discussion in an approchable way (if that's what you're really trying to get out of this at all) .

  • +3

    Is that you Sheldon?

  • Why Do People Have Pets?

    For the same reason many have kids: to love and (hopefully) be loved in return.

  • +5

    THIS IS A TROLL POST. /thread

  • Companionship. Sometiime a toy for kids. Sometimes (quite often actually) a substitude for people who have no kids or kids moved out. It's natural for people to take care of someone.

  • To keep up with the Jones's

  • +5

    trolling, I mean look at the name and the comments, has to be troll or a sociopath (or both).

  • -1

    Dunno man, I think people that think that their pet is the greatest and can do no harm, letting them run unleashed in national parks and sensitive nature areas are worse.

  • +1

    I can't buy a best friend.

    I can buy a dog.

    • +1

      So you CAN buy a best friend!

  • +2

    Domestication is fairly recent in our evolutionary past. No other animal will take care of another species in the wild(If they do, we will consider as a wonder).

    Not sure about this one. Humans evolved alongside dogs for tens of thousands of years now. Both species benefited from this arrangement.
    Humans supplied food and shelter to dogs. In return they hunted, guarded camps and played with the children etc.
    And they both like the companionship. And our sense of smell isn't that great because we didn't need good smell as we had dogs.

  • +1

    I had a German Shepherd for years, and as a student at the time, on limited income, it did become a burden, as you say. But it was her and I that went on this journey for eight years of moving house, moving cities, just her and I. When she eventually passed away, there was a sense of peace, but I may not have endured the hardships without her.

  • It's pretty sweet you can help the environment, another individual being AND your own wellbeing by adopting a cat, getting it de-sexed, and keeping it indoors.

  • +5

    I was indifferent to getting a cat, but my housemate wanted one and at the same time one of my friends had rescued a couple of cats out of a car at a wreckers (probably abandoned by their mum) so we got a cat.

    My housemate has moved on but the cat is still with me. He's always by my side no matter what. He's moved house, he's moved state. He's been through new relationships and breakups. He's the most affectionate and playful little thing, I couldn't ask anything more of him. All he wants is food, love and attention and in return he gives love and attention (he doesn't give food)

  • I think the answer you want is because people are selfish. People do what makes them feel good and what benefits them rather than anything else. Travelling is another example, high CO2 output, can cost thousands of dollars, environmentally destructive, but does anyone care? Not really. Their response is 'each their own' as if that's a logical argument for it. Another one is vaccines, why are people vaccine shopping? Why do people refuse vaccines? I haven't heard a convincing argument yet and people even say it's not selfish when it is.

    But when it comes to pets, I think the answer is simple as well. It's mainly companionship.

  • I have some chickens and 3 of them,i love more than some of my family members…..
    This one time i got a new rooster and he started getting jealous and would prevent my hens from coming to me (he would do that dance around them to stop from coming to me).
    I ended up eating him for dinner that night.

  • Well pets are a bit of a burden, but there are proven significant psychological and wellbeing benefits to having a pet.

    I am in a good situation where a neighbour's cat, which is quite a nice cat, spends about 50% of it's time here.

    I can go on a holiday without worrying about a cattery, and don't have to worry about vaccinations/registration etc..

    So a good middle ground is to befriend another person's cat. This can also work for the cat owner, for instance if the cat owner went on holiday they could leave it for us to care for it.

  • I love how every reply of OP's attracts negative votes :/

    • +1

      Have you seen the responses? They're not a well individual.

  • BRB, OP.

    Gonna ask my cute little bitch why I give her and her brother free board.

    OK, back.

    "Because we're cheaper and less demanding than kids, you dumb human!"

  • +2

    if the dog keeps the mother in law out of the house im happy

    dogs help the blind
    dogs help people with mental issues
    dogs keep the airport safe you commute through
    dogs may cost money, but so does every hobby, they are awesome, and the return is unreal… my dog costs me a fortune and shits like a demon, but id have more if i could

    • Funnily enough, my mum doesn't visit my house ever due to her lifelong fear of all dogs, especially large ones. I have a golden retriever that is perfectly behaved, spent time and effort training her to not jump on people. My dad visits often though, he's raised many during his childhood on a farm.

      My wife is super pleased at her MIL never coming inside her house and thinks she's subtle about hiding this fact, she's not lol.

      • Ever considered donaldhump may be your wife’s account?
        All joke aside, I can understand how your mother feels. As a kid I was cornered by not just one but 2 huge, blood thirsting neighbour dogs. I’m now mostly okay, but I still get tensed unconsciously around big dogs and my body automatically moves away (or even crosses the street) when I spot a large dog walking by.

        • I empathise with that, with my mum she obviously experienced a lot of childhood trauma with neighbour dogs too. Very possible to overcome this trauma, of course, but obviously a lot easier said than done.

  • +3

    The bond between a man and dog is not something that words can describe.

    Many amongst us know this bond well. The same bond can apply with other pets. OP, I sincerely hope you one day can experience and understand these feels.

  • OP Watch the Netflix “Explained” episode about dogs
    Will answer your question

  • Dogs were domesticated >10,000 years ago, i.e. prior to ancient Egypt. I'd consider that long enough ago- I'd imagine you haven't been around that long? Look at dogs against the source material (wolves). There's some pretty marked changes. This is something that's been happening for a long time. Cats too.

    I guess it's each to their own. Why spend time with a person you like, why pursue a career you enjoy, why play games you enjoy, why keep a pet, why have children, why have friends, why spend money on hobbies, why eat foods you like… Because people like these things. By all means, if you don't like these things, don't do them.

    You sound like a pretty fun person to be around though!

    Edit: wait, you have kids? Kids are just more expensive pets that don't give unconditional love.

  • +2

    Why do people have relationships or friends? These both lead to trauma and personal losses…

    I think you need a firmware update.

  • +2

    My bad, I was looking for Ozbargain but I've clearly accidentally stumbled into /r/im14andthisisdeep

  • personal choice - for companionship mostly, choosing to care and love someone who will unconditionally love you back isn't that hard to understand.

    They generally are loyal and smart and protective of the owners.

    Imagine you had a sh1tty day of work with colleagues, boss, clients, customers etc and you know there is always be someone at the doorstep waiting for you to come home and give you a hug.

    To your demand/supply question, I agree hence my current dog was adopted.

    To the extent of this question, everyone is entitled to have their own point of view on every subject.

    Why do people buy luxury cars, bags?
    Why do people do dangerous sports?
    why do people smoke or drink?

    Because they choose to, sometimes there is just not objective reasoning but rational ones.

    I personally argued with myself to not have a dog with all the justifications you listed out 6 months ago, but yet we have one.

  • We have an amazing Akita who is growing up with our boy and will be the saddest time in our lives when she goes, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

    If a pet is a financial burden, you shouldn’t get one.

  • i notice everyone seems to have a puppy these days rather than an older dog. those puppy farms must be doing some good business

  • wish i never had any pets :)

  • +1

    I think all of you are being unreasonable and I absolutely agree with OP. IMO pets are absolute burden and I can't imagine having something to feed/clean-up/think about for 24 hours a day.
    -If I clean the house, it stays clean
    -If I go on holiday, I will just book and go
    -Don't have to buy pet food, grooming, clean up poo
    -Only thing that wakes me up is my alarm clock
    -Kick back and relax with no disturbances, i.e. cleaning up after the pet, going for a walk.

    I am 100% happy without a pet, and good on you if you actually enjoy having a pet. For me it's 1 less thing to worry about.

    • And kids don't come with those burdens, if not more?

  • -1

    OP sounds like a boring robot, is probably an IT programmer with zero social skills.

  • I am an animal and pet lover. However, because I love animals, I do worry about the impact of domestic or wild-domestic species on other animals. Domestic dogs can be controlled much better than cats. With cats it is the owners who may be irresponsible about not locking them up after sunset.
    Stronger laws may force city dwellers to de-sex their animals. However, out in the bush or when people don't have the money to de-sex pets, it can contribute to feral animal numbers.

  • Dogs are the best.

  • It's an interesting question. It's the kind of thing most people take for granted, but when you look at it outside of our current society's lens it is not readily apparent what the explanation for it is. Its the kind of thing I like to ask myself when I'm putting something off.

    To get even a shallow understanding of it requires considering the history of dog breeding, evolution through natural selection as it applies to human socialization, psychology, the complexity of reality and the processing power needed to effectively navigate it, taboos around intimacy in western society, and a whole bunch of other things. That's too much to go over in a single post, so I'll just try to answer part of the question: The 'companionship' part

    Many people (not all) like having a pet because it fills a psychological desire to be a good carer. It's an ego boost, basically. A pet that's happy and healthy is essentially proof that you're a good person who makes things better by existing. Now, is this 'real' in the sense of the likely logical reason for that behavior? No. It's a delusion. But it's a delusion that makes you better, and comes at a minor cost of a thousand, maybe two thousand, dollars a year for most people. So it makes sense that its taken up, even by those who know its a delusion.

  • Companionship. Responsibility. Empathy. Fitness.

  • This is the equivalence of asking why am I eating a bucket of fried chicken even though I can feel my artery getting blocked.

    Because I want it.

  • +2

    because my dog , for example, is cheaper , better behaved and eats more healthier than some kids.

    also cause John Wick owned and owns a dog

  • why do people have children?

  • Having pets could lead you to empathise with other animals and beings in nature. So not true that it is always damaging to the environment as long as you rescue and rehabilitate.

  • Pets are fine. Negligent / underprepared pet owners aren't.

  • +4

    The companionship is nice. Though honestly, and this may be an unpopular opinion, I think the vast majority of people who own pets shouldn't have them.

    People don't give their pets the love and care that they should, or are able to foot the high financial cost of owning a pet. Pets have high vetenary fees every year which include regular and optional vaccinations. Most pets need to be stimulated. Dogs need a daily walk otherwise they are bored and sad, and need to be played with on a daily basis. You need to accommodate for the pet in your life, being able to take care of it when you're not around and making sure they're trained.

    When I walk my dog, 90% of the people have pets that are under a year old. The whole pandemic has been a huge money making opportunity for breeders, despite how many people abandon their pet after a year or two and how bad the conditions are for the pets which have the litters. If you've bought a pet from a pet store, then you unfortunately may have contributed to a very horrible practice. But if you have the dog already then you now have the obligation to take care of it. It is not enough to 'want' a dog, you need to take care if it.

    Dogs for example need to be washed, but also have their teeth brushed regularly, fur brushed and occasional grooming if needed (especially if they have matted fur).

    Pets upon purchase are also very expensive. 'Pure breeds', named so because people purposely imbred the families of dogs together to get certain features, have an insane number of medical issues due to lack of genetic diversity e.g. Golden Retrievers have heart and lung issues, Bulldogs have breathing issues, Dashunds and German Shepherds have spine and leg issues. These are expensive things to fix. On top of that there are microchipping and registration fees.

    However, to answer your question OP, you get a dog because it's a friend for life. The dog will only be around for part of your life, but you will be around for your entire dog's life. Despite everything I do for my dog; the daily walks, expensive vet visits, waking up early to take her outside, cleaning after her, preparing special meals as needed or whatnot. My dog really is very special to me, and I wouldn't trade her for anything.

  • What the hell kind of question is this.
    You could say that having human babies is worse for the world.

  • OP sounds like a serial killer.