We should have PETernity leave because "a pet is like having a child".

Fleur, 35, is never going to use her maternity leave and wants a new type of leave for pet owners instead.

“There should be peternity leave. When you get a kitten or a puppy, they [animal welfare] always say that you should spend the first two weeks with them so that you can really bond with them and socialise them, and so they know you’re their owner and you strike up a better relationship –  like having a baby,” she said.

The 35-year-old owns two cats with her partner, Mark, and took some of her annual leave when she re-homed her cats.

Taylor Swift’s is a proud cat owner. Image via Facebook. 

“We both took two weeks leave but we overlapped the second week. So we ended up having three weeks overall that the cats had with us. But we only got to spend one week of that all together,” she said.

Fleur* believes there should be allowances for her family to spend time together – especially because she is not planning on having children or taking maternity leave.

“We should have peternity leave because if you get time off to have a baby why not have time off when you get a pet?” she said.


Pets can become part of the family. Image via iStock. 

"Having a pet is like having a child. You have them long-term.  Cats can live 18-20 years, that’s like having a child and raising it. They’re are part of the family - like a child is.

"You love them unconditionally, you have to feed them, they’re dependent on you - unlike a child, they’re dependant on you for their entirety of their life," she said.

The RSPCA's Education Officer, Kelly Walton, says she'd be "pretty keen" to take up peternity leave if there was such a thing.

"Apart from spending time with your new animal to help comfort them in their new surroundings, peternity leave would be good for making sure your home is cat-proof or dog-proof," she said.


The 31-year-old owns three dogs - Abby, Annie and Poppy - and took leave when she re-homed her second dog.

Before we close our eyes we always say to each other, 'Meet you at the dog park!' And that's where we meet up in our dreams.

A photo posted by tobywigglebottom (@tobywigglebottom) on Jun 14, 2016 at 2:24am PDT

This dog, tobywigglebottom, is said to be a brother. Image via Instagram. 

"School holidays are a good time to adopt a new animal because people are at home and they can keep an eye on the animal and make sure they’re not trying to escape, and give them that attention if they want," said Ms Walton.


The education officer says the settling in period for animals is individual and depends on a variety of factors including the home they are being settled in and if there are other pets.

"You obviously have to think really hard about before bringing a new animal home. If you were coming to an RSPCA shelter to adopt we recommend that all the family members come in to meet the new animal just to make sure everyone gets along," she said.

"If you’ve another dog at home and if your adopting a dog, bring them in as well to meet because it’s just like people - some dogs may not get along."

However, she says cats are pretty good at avoiding one another if they don't like each other and benefit from being introduced in stages if there is already a cat in the house.

"Keep the new cat in a separate room for about a week, so that the existing cat can get used to their smell and presence in the new home and then by having such a gradual introduction it can help to lower anxiety for all of them," said Ms Walton.


Having a pet is a "great" responsibility says the RSPCA. Image via iStock. 

The call for peternity leave follows a controversial argument that childfree women should be given time off work to pursue their goals.

In a NY Post article, Meghann Foye, coined the term "meternity” leave for a sabbatical-like break to make it fairer for people without children.

Foye faced criticism from parents, who said maternity leave was not a holiday for navel gazing.

However, 35-year-old Fleur insists taking on the responsibility of a pet compares to having a baby.

"When a child gets toilet trained, you don’t have to clean up after them anymore. Then they get to the point when they’re teenagers that they do their own thing and then they’re not really dependent on you, you can buy food, and they can make it themselves," she said.


"Whereas with a cat you’ve got to do that constantly.  You’re always cleaning up the litter tray, you always have to feed them and you do that for their entire life."

The RSPCA's Kelly Walton agrees that having a pet is a "great" responsibility.

"I think having a pet is a bit like having children except pets don’t ever get old enough to feed themselves or clean up after themselves so it’s kind of like having toddlers for 10-15 years," said Ms Walton.

Fleur couldn't be happier with her decision to take on two cats.

"They’re just as much part of the family as a child is, but you don’t get peternity leave. Peternity leave for all I say."

*Fleur's name has been changed.

If you are looking to adopt a cat, all cats and kittens at RSPCA NSW are $50 until June 30 or watch the post below to find out more about The Sydney Dogs and Cats Home.