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Pets fill void for childless couples
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08:58, December 18, 2007

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Qiu Xiaoming and her husband live what could be described as a typical DINK (double income, no kids) life in Guangzhou.

They are both well educated, have white-collar jobs and are very business oriented.

But when it comes to the question of whether they might one day sacrifice a little of their material comfort by having children, the two say they are content to lavish their attention on their pet cat.

"I love kids. But I'm afraid I would look less attractive if I had one, and I would have to shoulder a lot of pressure at work," Qiu, 30, said. "Dora is a good substitute."

Qiu is apparently not alone in her take on family life.

Chen Danmian, a representative of the Guangzhou Pet League, said: "Having a pet rather than a child is gaining popularity in DINK families in Guangzhou."

He said most DINK couples that choose a pet over a child are white-collar workers born in the 1970s and early 80s.

"Some of them are pet lovers, while others daren't give birth for physical or social reasons," Chen said.

He said DINK couples often mention the expense of raising a child as a reason for having a pet instead. Healthcare, education and housing are all costly, they say.

Others, however, say DINK couples are making a mistake.

Tong Jingjing, the mother of a four-year old boy and a doctor with Guangzhou Maternity and Child Hospital, said: "I just can't work out how a pet can be a substitute for a child.

"Pets can be fun, but having a child is a responsibility."

Tong said people who decide to have a pet instead of a child should be more open to the possibility of starting a family.

"They could end up regretting it later, but by then it might be too late," she said.

Source: China Daily

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