AI: Animal Companions


The lives of non-human animals have been closely intertwined with our own for a very long time, be it for for nutrition, work, transport or companionship.

A recent conversation I had with a few new friends revolved around the idea of whether a person could ever love a non-human animal as much as a person. The responses to this were quite varied, from an emphatic yes, a downright no, to somewhere in between. While the reasons people gave were varied, it seemed their opinions correlated with how they were raised to see and treat animals. If they were brought up with, say, a dog that was ‘one of the family’, they could very easily see themselves having close emotional connections with an animal. Whereas another didn’t think that they could ever like an animal as much as a person, as what they valued most was philosophical connections with other people.

I always wanted a dog growing up, but the apartment we lived in prevented us from doing so, and hence never grew up with that reverence for the animal companion some people seem to have. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I moved in with a friend and her cat did I realise how much an animal could influence (for better or worse) your emotions, your state of mind and your life. I would say that living with an animal was a huge influence on my road toward wanting to understand more about the nature of our relationship with animals, which eventually resulted in me turning vegetarian, and much more recently, vegan. It’s been a great learning experience for me, and one that I’m extremely grateful to my feline friend for.

So, today’s question is: Animals! Can we live with them? Can we live without them? Is there a special animal in your life and have they had any affect on it, for better or worse?

The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 3pm ET.

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  1. Interesting. I definitely lean more towards the deeply loving animals. My boyfriend and I treat my five dogs like our children. They bring us a lot of joy and cause us a lot of irritation–just like a human child!

    That being said, I’m not sure I could love a dog as much as a person. I think if/when my bf and I have a child, that would be a different kind of love. Not so much the companion sort of love that I share with our dogs, if that makes sense.

  2. I don’t know that I could love an non-human animal as much as I could another person, but I certainly love my cat Pixel. Living with another animal does bring to light the fact that while they may not be human beings, they ARE actual beings; they have personalities, preferences, and moods.

    You can even communicate with them pretty well once you get to know them. I can tell if Pixel is asking for food, or clean litter, or is just wanting to play, for example. It’s not philosophy, but it’s also not a complete void.

    Having pets has without a doubt made my life better.

  3. I certainly love my cats like people. I grew up with cats all through my childhood, and once I was living on my own, I’ve always had a cat (or two, or three). When you’ve had one for a while you really get to know each other. My cat Max had been with me for about thirteen years now, and he is a big mush. He knows when I come home from work and waits in the window for me. If I feel bad, he’ll lie on me and purr. He sits on my lap and looks up at me with big googy eyes and my heart melts. He’s my kitty boyfriend. 🙂
    And it’s definitely heartbreaking when one of them dies. We had two other cats, Tails and Amalie, who were litter mates. Amalie had always been kind of sickly, and a few weeks ago she just faded. She was only seven years old. We had to put her down. Her brother seems to know something is different. I’m not sure he knows she’s dead, but he knows my husband and I have been sad, so he’s been extra sweet.
    Their personalities are so amazing. Each cat is so different. I’ve had ones who were bossy, prissy, mean, outgoing, dumb as a box of rocks… Each one has been great to know and love.

    • Thanks for sharing! I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Hope your family gets through it. And yes, coming to terms with their different personalities is really strange (and awesome)!

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