Question about paragraph 2418 in the Catechism

[quote=Catechism of the Catholic Church]2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.

Does this mean that we should not buy toys for our pets and treats and only give them food, water, litter, and medicine if they’re sick?

Also, when it says that one can love animals but one cannot direct to them the affection due only to persons, what does that mean? If I love my cat very much is that a sin or something?

Thanks for your time.

Holly, knowing your scrupulous background I am going to encourage you to take these questions to your priest.

No, this does not mean you cannot buy a toy for your pet or give it a treat. It is talking about a disordered and inordinate amount of money, not the occasional toy or treat or cat scratch pole. Those who spend thousands on pet manicures, spas, clothes, or other such items would be in the “inordinate” range.

No, Holly it isn’t a sin. We all have affection for our pets, they can bring us joy and comfort.

If you confuse pets with people, love pets to the exclusion of people, etc, then you need some spiritual direction.

I think it just means use common sense in how we treat animals.

you have to use some common sense. you could probably buy one or two toys. however you should remember that it is not a human being. you are not its pet-parent.

When we think of health, we often think of physical well being but mental well being can be just important. I know in dogs, if they don’t get proper mental stimulation it can lead to destructive behavoir like chewing, barking, and digging. All of these are normal dog behaviors but can become out of control if they are left with nothing else to do. A wild dog would spend its day hunting and finding shelter etc. A pet doesn’t need to do these things because they are already provided but since their minds are not occupied on survival they need to be occupied on something.

For example, if I give my dog a squeaky toy it feeds their instinctual side to kill animals for food. The high pitched squeak being similiar to the cry of an animal. My dogs will run around squeaking the toy and when they puncture the squeaker will settle down to rip the toy open and pull out the stuffing, which is what they would do if they caught a small animal. Kill it, then rip it up into bite size pieces.

Likewise treats can be used as training tools as well as behavoir modifiers. If you have a cat with a scratching problem that destroys valuable human items, then buying a scratching post that has catnip on it could be the solution. Dogs that chew can have chew bones. You can hide treats in toys that have small holes so they have to move the toy around and figure out how to get the treat.

Pet toys and treats are often part of important and essential pet care. I feel the difference comes with how much you buy and how you use the items. For instance I buy dog snacks every so often and you can go with the basic box of milk bones for $5 that last a month, or buy the box of 12 super decorated dog cookies that are made with all natural organic highest quality ingredients for $10. Dogs aren’t really going to be able to tell the difference and will find both delicious,the second option appeals more to humans. Likewise providing a handful of toys that are in good conidition, replacing them when they wear out, is different than buying toys they don’t really need just because you feel they need more.

I find it helps to ask if you are doing something for your pet because it makes yourself feel good, or because it is something that will benefit them. Dog nail trim? healthy for pet. Dog manicure with nail painting? human benefit.

I hope this helps!

What this refers to is the proportional amount of our own resources we should be using for humans vs. animals. IF we are buying our dogs and cats fancy collars, buying “premium” foods (that in many cases are not that much better than “regular” brands), spending money on grooming, day care, etc. to the exclusion of using our resources to help the poor and needy, then we need to reconsider our priorities.

This is not to say that it is an either/or situation; we can, for example, give to animal charities along with people charities. When one gives to animal charities alone and ignores the needs of their fellow man, that is not acceptable.

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