No kids please, we’re pet parents—why some Indian couples choose cats & dogs over babies

Nishant Sharma, an animal and pet parent trainer at the Mumbai-based Ricky’s Dog Training, said that he’s observed many young couples adopting pets soon after marriage, often within the first year.

“Adopting a pet, particularly a rescue, can deepen the couple’s bond by fostering a sense of shared responsibility and teamwork. The process of helping an adopted dog unlearn unwanted behaviours, and develop new habits requires collaboration and strengthens their relationship, turning them into pet parents,” he said.

For many people, including myself, adopting a pet simply makes more sense.

Shifting family dynamics, with more women working and easier migration to metro cities, have made children less of a priority for many urban couples. Hectic work lives, lack of personal time, and the mental burden of child-rearing are also reasons that many cite for choosing to stay child-free.

Plus, pets provide companionship with fewer demands, fitting well with lifestyles that include travel, hobbies, and plain free time.

Also Read: Pedigree dogs are India’s new therapists. ‘Rent-a-dog’ latest business on the block


Kittens over kids

Some couples have chosen to channel their nurturing instincts towards animals due to rising living costs, the mental burden, and the long-term commitment associated with raising children.

For Mumbai-based media professionals Rony D’costa and Dipti Kharude, both in their 40s and each with a previous marriage, caring for their three cats is all the parenting they desire.

Their decision to adopt cats was inspired by a 2017 visit to Turkey, something of a haven for felines. Rony was also impressed by Kedi, a documentary about Istanbul’s stray cats. But it was only two years later that they finally adopted two strays that had climbed onto their balcony. They later welcomed a third cat, previously fostered by them, into their home.

Both D’costa and Kharude pointed out that parenting is a mindful, lifelong commitment that requires putting the child first and being vigilant about not passing on their traumas. Cats, however, are self-contained and content in their own domain.

“We simply fell in love with their ability to be both nonchalant and loving. We cherish the way they peacefully coexist with us,” D’costa said.

Babysitting is not an issue either.

“Our house help takes care of our fur babies when we are travelling,” Kharude said.

The couple maintained that having cats meets different yet equally meaningful emotional needs. Their cats provide companionship, joy, and a sense of purpose while allowing the couple to maintain their independence and lifestyle. Cats also offer the satisfaction of nurturing and loving another being, without the extensive commitments that come with raising children.

While their families are more approving of couples who have children, D’costa and Kharude brush aside such pressures.

They’ve worked with their financial advisor to plan accordingly, ensuring they manage pet expenses responsibly. “And unlike our parents, we don’t expect cats to take care of us in our old age” adds D’costa. They said they don’t expect their cats to care for them in old age.

For PT and RD, a couple in their 30s, bringing a child into today’s gloomy world with limited resources seemed unfair. This is why they’ve adopted two kittens. Perhaps it was serendipity. Their second date took place at a cat café, said RD, who recently shifted from Dubai to India.

PT, the husband, noted that a pet fulfills the same needs and desires as a child, with the major difference being cost. Raising a child from infancy to adulthood involves expenses for school, college, and clothing, unlike a cat that can get by quite happily for its entire lifespan with a few toys, kitty litter, and food.

The couple added that since both are introverts and homebodies, cats complement their personalities.

Also Read: What brings joy to India’s elderly? There’s more to them than RWA, bhajans, ashrams


Good for couples, good for the world

Ricky’s Dog Training’s Sharma offers advice for couples considering becoming pet parents. He recommends starting with a “pre-adoption consultation” to ensure they choose the right furry companion for their lifestyle.

He also strongly advises his clients to condition their pets for boarding or sitter services early on, as this will allow them to plan travel, dinners, and other commitments together without stress.

Overall, he said, pets, especially dogs, can enrich a couple’s life by giving “emotional support” and encouraging physical activity through walks and play sessions.

Nishant Sharma of the Mumbai-based at Ricky Dog Training | Photo by special arrangement

“They also foster social connections through pet groups, events, and communities, expanding the couple’s social network,” he added.

For me personally, choosing to adopt a dog aligned with my anti-natal stance for environmental and ethical reasons.

I chose to adopt instead of buying to help address pet overpopulation and the burden on animal shelters. Also, the carbon footprint of raising a human is way more than a pet, so it gives me a little selfish satisfaction that I’m doing my bit for the planet.

Perhaps the greatest kindness we can offer the world is to avoid burdening it with additional beings who will inevitably experience pain and hardship.

Vaibhav Wankhede is a creative marketer and writer. Views are personal. 

(Edited by Asavari Singh)

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!