The Not So Great Debate - Sans Pareil

The Not So Great Debate By Emma Raho

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Of the many pointless and internet invented arguments swirling around us at the tail end of 2017, the kids vs pets debate is up there with the most ridiculous. This whole thing-that-shouldn’t-be-a-thing revolves around two equally shouty sides arguing passionately (online of course) over which is better: To have children or to not have children and have pets instead. Under close examination neither side have any strong arguments past mudslinging and foaming at the mouth whilst typing “breeder” or “weirdo” until their keyboards smoke with impotent rage. However, as I have both human and fur babies I’m going to take a look at both sides of the argument.

Cost – Although I made both kids for free and cruised through their pre-school years on the cheap, by breast feeding and cloth diapering baby number two, all that stops the second they turn 5 and go to school. The cost of school donations and uniforms will make your eyes bleed and after school activities such as sport or music lessons run well over $100 per term. Then there’s all the extras like bake sales, a dollar here, a few dollars there… it all adds up. Cats are generally cost efficient as they don’t need to attend anything except their own weird growly meet ups at 4am in the back yard. They also don’t need to be registered like dogs do. The only time pets become more expensive is when it comes to sickness and medical. My daughter broke her arm and fractured her finger and she was treated for free. My cat Maisy injured her tail and her vet bill came to $320. Regular medicine such as flea treatments, worming can all stack up. However, even with vet bills when it comes to cost, pets win this round.

Mobility – I’ve only ever owned one cat I could take out with me, the rest are permanently on my property. If I want to go away I need to find someone to come and feed them every day or for longer they have to go to a cattery. Dogs must be cared for by a house sitter or at a kennel. Kids you can generally take away with you or send to the grandparents. Although it’s tricky with toddlers and babies it gets a lot easier as they get older and with the exception of bars, clubs and casinos they can be dragged along to whatever you’re doing. Unfortunately there are still a lot of places pets aren’t allowed making it harder to bring them along if you can’t leave them at home by themselves. For nights out kids are more of a tie, for holidays pets are more of a tie. This round is inconclusive.

Damage – Many landlords will take kids but not pets, which is hugely annoying for us pet owners. However I do see why. The worst either of my kids has ever done is doodle in crayon on the wall and spill food on the floor. Cat wee however has pushed me to the very brink of my sanity. Cats mark their territory by urinating so it contains properties that are next to impossible to remove from items that cannot be easily washed such as carpets. Then there’s the running up and down curtains, scratching furniture and their habit of pushing stuff off of tables and cabinet tops. When I was with an ex we had a Staffordshire Bull Terrier who ate the skirting board off the wall while we were asleep. I have a friend in the States who has a German Sheppard puppy who digs up the garden, ate his daughter’s phone then his lounge suite. Another friend of mine had a dog that pulled up the kitchen flooring in an hour. Although kids aren’t totally in the clear when it comes to the destruction of property they win this round.

Love – You will love your kids unconditionally, they will love you back however they will need you less and less as they grow and it’s unfair to rely on them to fulfil your emotional needs. Cats show love and loyalty in their own weird way and let’s be honest, a dog will follow you through the gates of hell. Both win this round because giving and receiving love is an awesome thing whether it comes from a human or a pet.

Conclusion – We all need to stop believing our way is the best way to the point of trying to force that onto others. If you don’t want to have children then don’t, if you do then do. There is no ‘right’ way to have a family. If you’re a dedicated fur mum and happy, that’s amazing, if you have kids that’s amazing too. If you have both, you’re probably insane but guess what? Also amazing. If you have neither, fantastic, do you. Now, let’s all have a mojito and leave the noisy keyboard warriors to it. Cheers.

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