There are those individuals who obsess about their pets, even leaving them an inheritance in their wills, taking family photos with them, and barraging the general populous by posting numerous pictures of their pets online. But the pendulum swings both ways, since there are also people who genuinely don’t see what the enthusiasm and fuss is all about. Though the majority finds cuddly little fur babies to be endearing, others are disinterested, or completely repulsed by the dog hair, noise, clean up and inconvenience that goes along with pet parenting. Animal-lovers find the animal-ambivalent (or zoophobic) people to be insane; but instead of calling these people crazy, let’s investigate some reasons why an individual might justifiably be uninterested (or opposed to!) dogs and cats.

  • They had a traumatizing experience. Though this certainly does not apply to the masses of people who are not keen on animals, in some cases the avoidance of pet could be based on a negative memory or a traumatic experience. People who have been chased, scratched, bitten, barked at, or even startlingly approached by a large animal when they were young, are much more likely to have fear ingrained in their mind in reference to pets. Maybe they watched their sister get bitten by a dog, or maybe it is simply a negative memory of an Aunt’s unruly, unkempt and smelly pup constantly shedding or tracking mud into the house. One could also associate a pet with a particularly unfortunate experience, such as a death, losing a pet in a natural disaster, or being moved away from an animal due to divorce, etc.For example: A child that had no pets when his mother passed away, may remember that the grandmother came to live with them, bringing her feisty and mean cat. Maybe this child would grow up and subconsciously associate that tragic time of his life with felines, and want nothing to do with them.
  • They had no positive pet experience as a child. For some individuals, the ambivalence towards domestic pets is not based on an aversion at all, but rather a lack of exposure. If a person grew up without any pets, did not really play with cats or dogs, their connection to animals may be psychologically distant. Flying birds, racing squirrels, people walking their dogs, or seeing livestock grazing all involves an area of separation and personal distance from animals. If a child is not socialized with a pet, their perception of them will always be impersonal rather than personal. That is to say, not everyone who grew up without animals will be disinterested in them. It is just that people who are simply may be that way because they were never presented the chance to emotionally connect with an animal in a formative way.
  • They find pets to be impractical. When someone is not naturally drawn to a pet or desirous of ever owning one, it may be that mentally they do not see how this is a practical move. Perhaps they are very pragmatic, have demanding jobs or prefer to invest in human relationships rather than seek companionship from a voiceless, short-living creature. Pragmatic people often look for the best return on their investment, whether that is financially, physically, mentally and emotionally. For certain people, that equation just doesn’t include a highly dependent relationship that might last no more than a decade.

Whatever the reason for an apparent lack of enthusiasm someone may have about pets, remember not to take it personally. There are reasons why people feel or fail to feel a certain way. It is important to remember that just because someone does not specifically like animals, does not mean that they would wish them harm! It is best always to be understanding and gracious without judging another person’s standpoint. Plus, there are plenty of people in the world who are just as pet-crazy as you!