Have you noticed? We don't like to call ourselves "pet sitters." We really don't like to call your companion animals "pets." And we would never, ever call you guys "pet owners." So what's the deal?
You may think I have entirely too much time on my hands to ponder these kinds of details, but hear me out. At the Cat Lady of Frederick, we firmly believe that no one can or should "own" another sentient being. Just try asking my cats, they'll set you straight on who runs things around here! All kidding aside and continuing with the example of my cats, they are without a doubt my companion animals. We share a home out of a mutual love and bond that we forged together. Yes, I provide food, shelter, a clean litter box, and medical care. As their guardian I am also their advocate, even if that conflicts with what I want. As an ethical vegan, the source of many of these beliefs, I do not let any animal products into my home ... except cat food because my companion animals are obligate carnivores. If I owned them like chattel, perhaps I would try to force them to eat according to my needs rather than their own. In return for all I provide, my cats sometimes choose to cuddle, play, and otherwise brighten my life. I need them as much as they need me, much like the popular saying "who rescued whom?" There is no ownership here, only companionship.
The "owner" label is the easiest to shed, but it gets tricky as it sticks to other words like "pet." Surely, we call our companion animals "pets" because we pet them so much! They are sentient beings, not stuffed animals, who provide us with as much as we provide them. And though they are sentient beings, we hesitate to appropriate terms such as fur-kids and pet-parents. I have never parented a child, but something tells me it's a whole heck of a lot harder than raising a cat or dog! Out of respect for everything I've put my parents through (sorry, Mom), we stay away from parent-child labels for companion animals as well.
So there you have it. Guardians of companion animals hire the Cat Lady for dog walking and companion animal care. Too PC? Use whatever words you want! You'll probably even catch us slipping up from time to time, and we kindly appreciate your overlooking that! Please just know that there is a method to our madness, and everyone in your home will always be loved and respected by your Cat Lady sitter.