Feb 042012

As you may know I have a couple cats living with me. They have been with me nearly ten years now and are as much a part of my family as any human. In fact, I’ve had a cat or two or three around most of my life. Their companionship and unique personalities has always fit in with my life. But looking at it from the outside, many would think that pets don’t fit in with a minimalist lifestyle. Well, it all depends.

What it all really boils down to is the kind of life you are leading, minimalist or not, and whether a pet fits in with that lifestyle or not. If you are living in the extreme end of a minimalist, and doing a lot of travel, particular overseas, then obviously, a pet does not fit in. On the other hand, if you are simply downsizing and staying in one place, a pet makes perfectly good sense if you are of a mind to having one.

As for myself, even though I tend to move a lot I always do so with the expectation that the cats will move with me. It’s not always easy. Pet friendly places to live can limit choices but I’ve always managed to find suitable arrangements. The fact that I have cats and not some other pet makes it much easier also. Cats tend to be low maintenance compared to other species. Mine have their water and feeders which can supply them for a week if needed. A litter box, a scratch box, and their carriers. They are content with that. A cardboard box or folded up pair of jeans makes a soft bed. A piece of string or crumpled piece of paper makes a simple play toy. Mostly, they just sleep, as cats will do. The one thing I don’t do is let them run outside. Between traffic, stray dogs, fleas and ticks, and feral cats, they are much safer inside and seem to do just fine.

I had dogs when I was a kid but never as an adult. Dogs are cool. I like dogs, but they are a lot of work to take care of. They require much more attention than a cat. They don’t use a litter box so you need to walk them. They do bark and potentially cause noise problems. And you can’t go and leave them for any length of time. A dog requires a lot more room to run around. I’ve never had the room to keep one properly so I’ve never acquired one.

As you might expect, here in the Keys, birds are very popular. Parrots are all over the place and make for some cool pets. But again, they are very high maintenance. A squawking parrot can be a real pain in the ass. Birds are attention whores demanding constant handling. They tend to be messy and live very long lives. They can be great pets but be prepared to spend a lot of time with them.

Aquariums are also popular down here given the whole ocean is just a few steps away. I don’t consider fish to be a pet but more of a hobby. Other exotic pets like reptiles and the like never held much interest for me.

As I said, if you are downsizing and your lifestyle allows it, a pet can fit right in. Remember there are no real rules here. Just make sure you can properly care for whatever critter you bring into your life. It’s not necessary to spend tons of money on fancy toys or other pet things. Most animals will adapt fine to whatever environment they are living in. As long as they are fed, watered, and loved, they will be quite happy. Hell, I’d be happy with that. Just make sure your pet is properly taken care of and has a happy home. A pet can add a lot of happiness to your life no matter how many things you own.

Capt. Fritter

Seriously, how can you resist a face like these?



  3 Responses to “Minimalism and Pets…”

  1. they are beautiful. but you’ve never mentioned their names? or is that too inquisitive?
    i must admit to being more of a dog person. though there is nothing sweeter than kitty faces and little velvet paws. i also like their little inside motors that run when you pet them.

  2. totally understand!