Words To Avoid: Please Don’t Call My Cat, Dog or Baby “It”

This morning, as I was going through my Facebook feed, I noticed someone’s comment about a cat.  The cat happened to be wearing clothes, unusual, yes, but the cat happens to embrace them. In reading the comment, I noticed the cat was referred to as “it.”  When thinking about words to avoid, “it” is one when referring to pet companions.

This always bothers me, whether in written or verbal form and was happy to see the person the comment was directed to correct the pronoun to “she.”

words to avoid
My crew: Marty (left), J.R. (top right), April (bottom right. Not an “it” in the bunch!

I found this definition for “it” on dictionary.com:

“Refers to a nonhuman, animal, plant, or inanimate thing, or sometimes to a small baby: it looks dangerous, give it a bone”

Would you be upset if someone referred to your baby as “it”?  I definitely would’ve been if someone said that to me about my baby!  Maybe “your baby” or “the baby” but “it”…nope. Impersonal, to say the least.  Many of us consider our dogs and cats family members, too, and referring to them as “it” can feel demeaning, minimizing their value as family.

Not a fan of babies, cats or dogs?  That’s ok, not everyone is. When addressing someone about their child, cat or dog, don’t be surprised if they correct the usage of “it.”  It’s not a matter of being a crazed rabid parent or a crazy cat lady, but more a show of respect for their place in the world.

They All Have A Place

Whether we’re discussing babies or companion animals, they each have their own personality, their own voice and place here. For example, I was never a fan of rats until I met Abby and her therapy rats from Healing Whiskers. Upon meeting them, I was smiling and cuddling with them.  Abby and her “team” have done so much to make life a little brighter for those they’ve visited. Small beings that’ve made a big difference.

This post wasn’t meant as a lecture but as a reminder.  When referencing words to avoid, “it” is only two letters, but this small word can be hurtful, even if you didn’t mean it to be.


Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.