Comic Talk and General Discussion *

Discussion on future tech - Saturday Sandbox!
sunseeker25 at 3:53PM, May 12, 2018
posts: 204
joined: 4-24-2018
Hi everyone. I'm starting twice-weekly discussions on tech topics of the future, as are featured in my webcomic Utopia Next. The one today is “Saturday Sandbox” and the other one is called “Monday Musing”. I hope to have some good discussions on that and see how people feel about it, as it is my mission to get people thinking about these things.

Here's today's topic:

I myself have always been leery of getting a pet because I really hate it when they die. I used to have fish as a kid but they died so fast I swore I'd never have them again. I also had parakeets, but they never lived for more than a few years (I don't know why, they're supposed to live several). All of this made me have only plants for pets because they actually survived - I have some that are well over ten years old. If I could have animals able to live longer, I would really consider having animal pets again.
last edited on May 12, 2018 3:55PM
El Cid at 1:15PM, May 13, 2018
posts: 1,275
joined: 5-4-2009
Pets present an interesting moral dilemma. Most pet owners view their pets as members of their family; almost like additional children. From that standpoint, the death of a beloved pet can be devastating because it is like burying one of your children.

But it's hard to say the alternative is any better. I have an older friend/ neighbor who recently had a bad stroke and she had a lot of pets. It's not entirely clear what's going to happen to them. Pets, unlike children, do not grow up to a stage where they can take care of themselves after you are gone. They are forever dependent.

So watching them die before you is terrible, but you also don't want to leave them behind… so what's the alternative? Have them buried with you, like some pharaoh's favorite servant? There are no good answers (maybe you can arrange for someone to inherit them? …but then, that's only passing the buck!). Life is messy, and you can only control what you can control. If having a pet makes you happy, then get a pet. Take the joy and the good, and deal with the bad when it comes.
usedbooks at 4:01PM, May 13, 2018
posts: 3,321
joined: 2-24-2007
Depends on the pets. I think their part in my life would change if life expectancy changed. I love my rats. They get about two years each. If they were five to ten times as long lived? I would have fewer, think much more critically about getting a new one, and probably not breed them. (Somewhat fast generations are a breeding draw.) They also taught me about the progression of life and mortality. There is merit to living with and being attached to the fleeting beings of the world. They help me appreciate life and accept death.

My previous cat was my world as is my current one. They are/were much different cats. I'm a much different person. Cats (and dog) mark chapters in my life. As much as I have loved every pet I've owned, I feel that not knowing the others would have caused me to miss something wonderful. I can provide a happy life for only so many pets at a time. One cat for 70 years or five cats for 15 to 20 each? It's not a clear cut choice.

I sadly missed a third of my last cat's life due to going off to college. Sometimes life is too much in flux for a long-lived pet, a naturally fleeting companion can be a better fit.
KimLuster at 8:39PM, May 13, 2018
posts: 795
joined: 5-15-2012
El Cid hits it! We often treat our pets like we do our very young children… They get no say-so on when they get fed, get taken to the vet, got put in a box when travelling (er… I never put my kids in a box, but a car seat is even more constraining…)

I had lots of kept pets when younger, but these days, I generally just befriend and encourage stray cats to hang out near my house. I feed them, pet them, they rub up against my legs… But they have their own lives outside of mine… They honestly feel more like visiting friends than pets!
bravo1102 at 5:13AM, May 14, 2018
posts: 5,439
joined: 1-21-2008
There are pets that live as long as a human and are from the examples I've seen come to be treated as adult dependent children. ;) Birds, especially certain breeds of parrots can live into their 70s and one was supposedly over a century old. In evolutionary terms becoming domesticated is a plus as many pets live longer than their relatives in the wild.

But with all the abandoned pets if they routinely lived longer we would soon have a world overrun by dogs and cats and be looking at mass extermination of most small animals and birds. Introduction of animals to isolated ecosystems serve as an example and a warning for similar catastrophes of drastically changing an animal population.

If people really wanted a long lived dog they would have been bred for longevity long before now. Mixes do live longer. Cats live longer and their lifespan shows some evidence of having gotten longer so in a century or so we may see cats living as long as 20 years but 70 would require such modification to the animal it might not be the house cat we know and love anymore. Humans have the brain to adapt, but small mammals? I doubt it.
last edited on May 14, 2018 6:07AM
sunseeker25 at 3:58PM, May 14, 2018
posts: 204
joined: 4-24-2018

Okay, so I'm seeing here an assertion that them dying on you is terrible, but that whether it happens sooner or later it's going to be an issue either way. Also, if they outlive you, then it becomes someone else's burden, and it may contribute to the number of unwanted pets there are. I'm also seeing an indication that some pets live longer, so if you want a longer-lived pet, they are available.

Good discussion, now I'm going to post the next one.
Ozoneocean at 9:40PM, May 14, 2018
posts: 27,842
joined: 1-2-2004
Winston churchil's parrot is still alive today at over 100 years old. He's still healthy. :)
Turtles can live over 200 I believe.
The thing about animals that live longer is that they don't breed as much.

I'd love my cats to live to 70 or 80. My Simon, a lovely black and white tomcat, is 18 now and having health troubles. 18 is not enough… it feels unfair that I should go on fine while he's at the equivalent of a human at 80, and yet I'm much older than him.

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