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How is bonding to a goldfish different from bonding to cats,dogs,rabbits?


larryngu

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To me there is a huge difference.

To me raising a goldfish is like raising a plant.

I do my best to keep it alive and healthy.

I get upset when the goldfish are not doing well.

When the goldfish passes on, I got about as distraught as losing a plant. On a??distraught scale of 1-10 (with ten being the most distraught) , I give losing a goldfish between a 1 or two.

I was much much more attached to my rabbits. They have so personality. I love them and know they love me back.

When I lost my last rabbit my distraught level was at a 10 for a month and gradually went down in the months after.

How is bonding different for you to an animal with higher intellegence (cats, dogs, birds, rabbit etc.) compared to animals with lower inteligence (fish, frogs, pet insects)?

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Guest Jessie

Well, i get SUPER upset when losing a fish, too. I treat my fish like they're real life human babies. for me, goldfish are the same. But i guess when you have a goldfish, and losing it in a few hours, or a day, would be less upsetting, because you haven't really bonded with them much. I just really love goldies. :)santa

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I get distraught when losing any of my animals but much more if it were one of my cats or my dog. It's not that I don't view them at the same level, but I have more personal interactions with my furry friends. I hold them and cuddle them when I am sad, pet them to calm down and talk to them when I feel lonely. It is easier to tell that they love you more than the fish do. Fish have a very subtle bond, pretty much they live in their own separate world. Whereas I see myself as an equal with my other animals, for fish I sometimes feel more like a captor. I want my fish to have a comfortable life all the same but the ways I interact are completely different. For me, fish are intellectually and artistically stimulating, where as my other animals are emotionally and physically stimulating. I can't very well cuddle a fish or take it on a walk now can i? (: They are no less of a life than my animals, but I do admit that I bond more with my dog and cats rather than my fish.

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I'm not sure if bonding and loss have any sort of connection for me. Danger tends to invoke more of an emotional response or at least urgency for me. I also don't think that the amount of emotion expressed or felt during a loss correlates to the amount of bonding there was. You can be really close to someone or something and be ok with the reasons why they are no longer in your life. You can also not have any emotional attachment to someone or something and not be alright that you are no longer able to be with them.

There's a lot of reactions that come from the topic of loss and I think as an outsider to the loss the role is mainly to not judge how one should react and find the right way to comfort the person.

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I don't bond with my goldfish other than handling them once a week.

I follow the fish with my hands until I corner them, then I lift them up gently to the surface. I look for any odd bumps, red spots, etc, and then i lower my hands and let the fish do what he/she wants to do.

My Black Moor (Now just a weird orange Telescope) will immediately swim away, but my Pearlscale will stay on my hand and just hang out there until I remove my hand from the water. She is really a friendly thing and will allow me to gently stroke her and will stay still during this process.

The Pearlscale was kept in a 1 gallon tank on my bookcase next to my bed for a week before she went to the 10 gallon. During that time she became extremely friendly and I thought she was the cutest thing-- a fat little Pearlscale goldfish that was pure white with blue eyes is about the cutest goldfish you can possibly find! And she was only an inch long!

Houston the Moor didn't get any of this closeness. When I bought him, about 2 months later, he was popped right into the 10 gallon and then was left there. That's why I think he's so shy when I put my hands in the tank.

And as for plants...there was an experiment done where harsh heat was burned into a plant after making a loud noise. The electrical waves were measured in the plant during this time.

After burning, the plant went berserk and waves of energy were sent absolutely everywhere. The next time anyone ever made that noise again, the plant made the same insane signals it made during and after the burning.

I believe plants, like any other animal, when kept in an environment of people, at least like to know SOME of what is going on.

It's weird and you don't have to believe me, but when I got a Bonsai plant I kept forgetting to water it every day so I put it on my bookshelf next to my bed so I'd remember to water it at night.

Every morning when I woke up, the FIRST thing I thought of, was the Bonsai plant. An image and a "feel" of its energy shot into me and I'd feel desperately thirsty. When I watered the plant the thirsty feeling went away immediately.

I still get very thirsty in the morning, though the feeling to the plant is less "attached" and strong because I keep the plant outside in the summer so it gets to grow very well in the sun.

Once the top layer of leaves got burned by the sun and when the plant started to burn I got a major headache that lasted until I brought the plant inside at night so I could give it a bigger pot....

I love all of my houseplants like pets. I talk to them.

Right before I water them I say loudly, "Are you thirsty? Here's a drink" and I feel the energy "dancing" around when I say it.

I like knowing that I'm caring for a living thing, but it's different form having an animal that moves on its own.

Right now I'm almost in tears over....guess what it is.....a GHOST SHRIMP. I've had it since March (his name is Ash--the Resurrection Shrimp) and right now he's turning white. I completely redid the decor in his tank and got rid of anything that could possibly cause illness.

I'm very antsy because even though he's acting fine, usually shrimp turn white when they're ill and about to die.

When I was little there was no more than a bit of sadness when I lost a goldfish.

Now, if one of my animals died (regardless of whether it would be my horse or my shrimp) I would cry my eyes out because it was a living, breathing being that deserved the highest quality of life.

I love all of my animals, even the ones that are not living.

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I try not to bond. Trust me when they get to 4-5 to 6 years old, the bond is there. When I lost my Pharoh it was like loosing a very dear friend of mine...and it hurt quite a bit for me and still does.

Now some fish im not that attached to as other, but i love them and will do what ever I need to do to take care of them. They are a responsibility the moment you take them home.

Sometimes certain fish just take your heart. :)

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I think we generally bond more with cats and dogs because they're social animals that (usually) want to be around us and return our affection. Whereas fish are just indifferent.

I do get upset when I lose a goldfish and like Koko said, when you've had them for years it can be very hard. But no, I definitely don't bond for them in the same way I do my mammalian pets.

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I am hard struck to try and define the difference. there IS a difference. I DO get over losing a goldfish sooner than I do any other animal.

But I get far, far more distraught if they get hurt or ill, and I outright cry when they die.

And considering how many poor plants under my care die, I would be crying a lot if I did over them. lmao.

Goldfish are nothing like plants, on the emotional level.

They are here, with their little personalities. Swimming, interacting. They are a life facet.

I'm devoted to them and their care.

I HAVE likened goldfish care to gardening before, though. I think the routine of caring for them is much the same. But I think I am as attached to goldfish as I am small animals. such as hamsters and mice, rats, etc. that's the emotional level they are at for me. yes.

I have sobbed over them before.

I don't even regret being this attached, either. Because when you become attached like I do they're more than just 'pretties' to have in your tank, show off and care for.

You enjoy them on a deeper, better level. I talk to them, and name them, and enjoy them more than I think a lot of people can comprehend. And I love it. c:

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I don't know if "BOND" is the correct word to use~~~~do I get upset when I loose a fish, yes. Haven't (knock on wood) lost a fish in a long time, other than royal (betta).......

I would be Heartbroken if I was to loose one of the dogs....(but I know I will have to face that too someday).............that's why when Hazel and Brutus pass...........only fish for me.............you don't seem to get super attached, they potty themselves, don't have to get back home in a hurry due to them not liking storms and such..............have had enough heartache in my life..................... ;)

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I cannot add a ton to this conversation because I haven't been keeping fish long enough to really have any major deaths. My first two that died were pretty devastating to me and I had only had them a week! I cried quite a bit (my bf was slightly disturbed by this :P)

I can say that I am very attached to my goldies and am definitely wayyyy more bonded with them than a plant ;) I am actually more closely bonded with my fish than my cat because I spend so much more time caring for and interacting with my fish. I do not necessarily believe that they have 'feelings' so to speak, but there is something that tells me they know who I am and are excited by me (I realize this is because I give them food lol). My fish have a lot of personality and I really can say that I love them. I will be pretty devastated when their number is called :( They have added so much to my life.... more than my cat has! (my poor cat lol)

Anyway, I can totally understand people not bonding with their fish, or even not wanting to because of previous trauma of a beloved fish dying. But I do absolutely think it is possible to bond with a fish in the same way that one can bond with a cat or a dog. :twocents

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I cannot add a ton to this conversation because I haven't been keeping fish long enough to really have any major deaths. My first two that died were pretty devastating to me and I had only had them a week! I cried quite a bit (my bf was slightly disturbed by this :P)

I can say that I am very attached to my goldies and am definitely wayyyy more bonded with them than a plant ;) I am actually more closely bonded with my fish than my cat because I spend so much more time caring for and interacting with my fish. I do not necessarily believe that they have 'feelings' so to speak, but there is something that tells me they know who I am and are excited by me (I realize this is because I give them food lol). My fish have a lot of personality and I really can say that I love them. I will be pretty devastated when their number is called :( They have added so much to my life.... more than my cat has! (my poor cat lol)

Anyway, I can totally understand people not bonding with their fish, or even not wanting to because of previous trauma of a beloved fish dying. But I do absolutely think it is possible to bond with a fish in the same way that one can bond with a cat or a dog. :twocents

this is VERY accurate.

I approach fish with the same feelings I approach my Leopard Gecko and Bearded Dragon.

They recognize me. I feed them, they know I care for them.

they don't love me, and they wouldn't care if I were disappear one day as long as they continued being fed and cared for. xD

I think when animals get to the level they have the brain capacity to recognize and care for you in RETURN is when you get truly attached.

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I value my goldfish and other fish just as much as my cats and dogs, but I don't have as strong of a bond as I do with my dogs and other mammalian animals. From purchasing them it became my prerogative to make sure they get what they need and get help if they become ill, and I have carried that stance for all animals whether it is a dog, a betta, or a goldfish that I own. I guess you don't have to necessarily bond with them as such, since just through caring and maintaining their tank, treating them when they are ill, and occasionally taking photos is enough to draw in some sort of attachment to them :)

Edited by Narny105
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I am definately more attached to my dog than any other pet (especially now that I know he has cancer). The cat is second. The rabbits are third. And the poor goldfish is last. It's not that I don't care greatly about all my pets, I think it's about how much time I spend with each one. My dog is my shadow, he follows me everywhere. The fish is stuck in his tank. He does recognize me, I think. And I'm happy when I see him in the morning doing his little food dance. I love doing water changes; sometimes he nibbles at my hands. But I know that I will be a major nutcase when my dog dies, whereas not so much when the fish dies.

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I just lost Fraggle, we had him for just over a year. I'm still sad. :( I do bond with the fish, I spend a lot of time watching them, maintaining the tank, feeding them. I talk to them (my kid thinks I'm weird..lol) I do bond, but probably not as much as with a furry or feathered pet. And any fish loss has made me sad...and even more obsessed with improving care....

We have a crested gecko...we are not bonded. She is scared of being handled, so we just enjoy watching her and maintaining her environment.

We used to have 2 birds, a budgie that passed away several months ago, that broke my heart. And recently decided to rehome our parrot (conure) as she was alone far too much now, after the budgie passed, and life changes came into play. That was a very hard decision. Hubby & I were both very bonded to both birds :(

Edited by Red
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Personally I think it's about the value you place into your pet/plant, that will cause you to "bond" to it more or less.

It's like someone mourning an art piece if it got damaged, or destroyed. Obviously it isn't a living thing but if you enjoy something well enough it causes you to be depressed about it. For example if I heard news of the Sistine chapel getting burned, or collapsing from a terrible earthquake, you can bet I'd be torn about it. That ceiling's fresco isn't giving me any "love" or what not but it's a beautiful piece of history, and art that would be an awful shame to lose.

Now getting back on topic with our animals; My Fish, dogs, and parakeet give me the same level of emotional satisfaction that will cause me to grieve for them if something should happen to them. Of course my dogs reign king on this department but because each of these little creatures fulfills an emotional need in me and I value/love them for it, I'm going to mourn their loss when the time comes regardless of where they are at in the hierarchy of life forms.

As for plants, I have gotten incredibly upset over a beautiful 120 year old tree that was cut down in our park. Everytime I pass by where it was I still feel sad over it.

In my case I know that what I feel for my animals is proportionate to how much I value them.

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I lost my little Kimi not that long ago and I am still upset over it. To be honest if Shiro died I would be really depressed. Even though I may not "bond" with them like I would with my dogs or bird but I have anger issues and just hearing my filters running on my tank brings me peace and calms me down. Even thinking about my fish chills me out. My anger has calmed down quite a bit since I got my fish and I can't think how upset I would be if I lost them all. It is quite relaxing to care for them and I really love doing it.

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i can't keep serveral different pets because i am too attached. it kills me inside to lose any pet, it kills me inside to lose a goldfish. i do emotionally suffer with each that i lose particularly after a battle to save it's life. i have raised children and i consider myself to be just as dedicated to my goldies.

they are my buddies, my responisibility. i bond with them muchly, i talk and laugh at them, i interact with them, i spend as much "free" time with them as i can. i love them to bits, it pains me to see them ill, it kills me to watch them die.

i know i am not obsessed, i just value a life for a life and cannot see a difference between types of pets. they are all equally attached to my emotional self.

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I lost my little Kimi not that long ago and I am still upset over it. To be honest if Shiro died I would be really depressed. Even though I may not "bond" with them like I would with my dogs or bird but I have anger issues and just hearing my filters running on my tank brings me peace and calms me down. Even thinking about my fish chills me out. My anger has calmed down quite a bit since I got my fish and I can't think how upset I would be if I lost them all. It is quite relaxing to care for them and I really love doing it.

sometimes anger issues are had because you've not found another way to spend your energy and that creates frustrations sometimes resulting in anger... it seems you have found a way to spend your energy... in being responsible.. congratulations :)

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i can't keep serveral different pets because i am too attached.

I felt exactly same way when I lost my last rabbit , Bagel.

The pain of losing Bagel was so intense that I vowed NEVER to get another one. The pain was so bad I had to join an online pet loss support group.

I kept posting over and over that I will never get another rabbit.

Someone from the group kept pestering me about " don't punish myself. Just keep your heart open to possibility another rabbit."

It took me three months to finally decide I was going to another one.

I really do think that without her pestering I would've had a 50% chance of never getting another one.

I don't think without that lady pestering I would've ended up getting Peanut, my rabbit. I give her a lot of credit for me getting Peanut.

I got really lucky with Peanut. I can't imagine my life without her.

I got to go look up that lady and thank her.

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i feel that way about all my pets.. i've never replaced dogs, cats etc.. ie, since the stepchildren grew and left our home :)

goldfish are a handful for me, they are the void to the kids leaving as they require as much attention.. i am their responsible person :D as much as i complain about it, i absolutely love it. it would take moving overseas or some serious health issue to end this hobby for me.

i need to control. it's in my nature, i am a buisness woman controlling our lives and responsibility where income is concerned, i raised kids that weren't my own, but i was in control. now, my goldfish community is in my control.

when they fall ill and don't respond to treatment, i control when it's time to say goodbye. sounds terrible, but i want none of suffering, not to me, not to them. so to control how much pain is felt by me or them, i have a way of saying goodbye, they must must must pass in the embrace of my hands. it's odd, caring for a pet is such a personal thing.. i guess, i am not the type to do things that i don't love to bits. therefore everything i do must be in tune with what completes me as a person.

i understand from what i explain above about myself what your rabbit means to you. if i were to have a rabbit, i would love it just the same. seeing as i have limited time with real life and business, i can't take anymore on.. but my absolute certain next would be a turtle. i love how Captain Findus Goldfish keeps her turtles and the dedication she provides. through her, i have learned to love everything about them and appreciate what they are including the maintenance they require to survive. turtles are cool little dudes :)

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Guest nicole*

i personally love animals and when they die its hard for me no matter what kind (dogs, cats, fish) i didnt used to think there was a lot of a bond but i started seeing it and then my fish titan tore his fin and (embarsassing to say) but i like had a melt down... he was having a hard time swiming and i thought he was going to die while i was asleep so (me being "nocternal") stayed up all night as "mental support" and got help from Kokos and titan fully recovered within a week! now 2 months later i can see even more of a bond! but my reactions to things are always strange (ex: dogs head starts bleeding i rush up and start dabbing it while my mom and sister try not to puke, cat dies no reaction, fish gets his fin torn and i cry? im confusing myself!) i can only hope i will be more stable when i become a vet!

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I have to say I feel a bond with most of my pets/friends :) my Dog,Cat and Fish are my friends :) they rely on me for their care and it hurts and saddens me to see them in any distress at all :( I have lost some tropical fish that upset me for a bit, but unlike the grief I felt for losing one of my special goldfish babies :( I still get a weepy eyed when remembering my Telescopes Bubbles and Blizz :( and If I were to lose Ollie now I would surly be upset for a time :(

I'm worried now about leaving them for a couple of weeks when we leave for vacation ;) even though I know I have a solid plan in place while I am away ;)

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What an interesting topic! I have yet to read the other replies though.

I do get attached to my fish, and upset if something happens to them, but honestly I cannot compare it to the love I have for my dog and cats. If someone was to ask me to either give up all my fish or my one dog, I'd let them take my fish without even thinking twice about it.

Still, I do care a lot for them and do not find them replaceable in any way. They each have their own personality (although I am having difficulties noticing this with fish like tetras where they all look so much alike and it is different for me to even see the difference).

Ok maybe small tropicals are "replaceable" to me, when it comes to "personality". I still do not like them to be ill or die though and I feel very upset if they do. After all they all are living creatures, no matter how much I feel for a particular individual.

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang
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I adore my goldfish [and my other freshwater/tropical fish] and I was distraught of about a level of 8 after losing my black moor. He got stuck behind the filter, but he was my favorite goldie, mainly because of the fact that he LOVED receiving attention from me and allowed me to pet him. He'd always swim through my fingers and laid on my hand when I put my hand in the tank. I could hand feed him and he was always at the front of the glass when I came home each day. I LOVED that fish, although I only had him for about 2 months, it seemed like years to me. I get the same way [if not more upset] with my bettas. Other fish like tetras and livebearers are more like a 4-6. I still feel bad, but it's not as heartbreaking as a fish that is always right there and loves to bond with me, rather then just swimming around doing whatever.

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