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Interspecies Parenthood

This series explores the concept of interspecies parenthood and families. Interspecies parenthood goes beyond what the word “pet” implies. These parents view themselves as no different than those of human children. It is not that they believe their children are human, it is that these beloved animal children are equal. They don’t recognize a hierarchy of species. Some interspecies parents have both human and non-human kids. In this series I am focusing on those who have chosen to adopt and raise non-human children, committing to the care of their adopted children for life.

I begin this project at home, since I am one of these interspecies parents. I am a mother. I adopted Merlin and Gracie Belle with my husband in 2013. I was already a mother before that, having cared for my first feline sons Juneau & Jarvis until old age and illness took them. I knew the heart shattering grief of losing them. I was still a mother after they passed. Now I am a new mother again, to kittens, about a year old. I see them as mine, as precious as if I birthed them. I’m not trying to pretend they are human babies. I never wanted those. I only ever felt maternal instinct toward non-human animals. I am happy for those who do choose to have or adopt human babies and I also celebrate same-species parenthood. I am able to understand their joy because of the incomparable joy motherhood has brought me. I imagine that they must look into their children’s eyes as I do and see amazing beings with worlds of potential, gifts from the stars. That is what I see. I feel gratitude every day that I’ve been graced with the honor of being a parent to my incredible cat children.

As the concept of “traditional” families evolves, interspecies families are becoming more commonly accepted, yet there is still a lack of recognition that we are no different. This project seeks to visually present moments in the lives of interspecies families.

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