Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote in wordspy,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.


furkid n.

A pet treated as though it were one's child. Also: fur-kid, fur kid.

Example Citations
My name is Brenda Mejia and I'm owned by two Australian cattle dogs.
I don't have kids, so I call my dogs my 'furkids.' They keep me as
busy as a soccer mom.
--Brenda Mejia, "Pet stories," The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, CA),
April 30, 2004

Most everything I ever needed to learn about babies I learned from my

Although I never went as far as calling them my "fur kids," dogs long
predated babies in my life. Indeed, in other pages of this newspaper,
I am a pets columnist, writing about everything from bearded dragons
to border collies. But as I begin to compose the occasional mothering
column as well, I've discovered that there's plenty of crossover
wisdom between species.
--Denise Flaim, "Triplet Chronicles; Dogged lessons in baby care,"
Newsday, May 17, 2004

The code of politically correct speech has come down against the word
"pet," which at first blush seems about as inoffensive a term as
there is in the language. It has referred to a domesticated or tamed
animal since the 16th century, and has even branched out to mean a
favorite person, or one who is treated with special kindness. What's
wrong with that? Plenty, say the animal-rights activists. "Pet"
implies the human ownership of an animal, and that just won't do. The
preferred term now is "companion animal" (1977).

The term "furkid," of course, takes us beyond the treatment of the
animal as a mere companion and into the realm of surrogate kid-hood.
Now we "animal guardians" (1997) can apply our hyper-parenting skills
to our dogs, cats, and other four-legged members of the family.

That some of us are doing this is further evidenced by the fact that
a number of synonyms for furkid exist, including "furbaby" (1993;
also: "fur baby") and "furchild" (2000; also: "fur child").

Many thanks to Denise Flaim for passing along today's term.

Earliest Citation
At least one major consumer advocacy organization advises against pet
health insurance. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the
Washington, D.C.-based Consumer Federation of America, one of the
nation's largest consumer advocacy groups, expressed his group's
view, which is likely to outrage animal lovers who think of their
dogs and cats as their "furkids."
--Christine Winter, "Pet health insurance plans grow by leaps and
bounds," Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), March 26, 2000

On the Web

See Also
animal hoarding:

cat typing:

counter cruising:

dog whisperer:

latchkey dog:

poo X:

puppy leave:

Subject Categories
Culture - Pets and Animals:

Sociology - Pregnancy and Parenting:

Words About Words
The whole subject of linguistic investigation may be conveniently
summed up in the single inquiry, 'Why do we speak as we do?'
--William Dwight Whitney, American philologist and writer, _Language
and the Study of Language_, 1867

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