Like our families and our children, our pets are extremely interesting and important -- to us. A writer has to sweat to make an editor and readership care about our housepets as we do, mainly by presenting a unique and dramatic story, if there is one. Start an essay by describing a pet cat, and then for comparison, describe a previous pet cat that let itself get dressed in doll clothes, and the reader will think, "This is old news."
Housepets are not a good subject for fiction, either. We love them but they say nothing, do little and mostly go nowhere, and that doesnâ€™t make for enjoyable fiction. Fiction narrated by a pet is old-old news. Think Black Beauty (1877).
Famous writers have published books about housepets. Virginia Woolf wrote Flush. I haven't read it. May Sarton wrote The Fur Person (a cat). Some people love it; there's even a gift edition. I haven't read it. Same with Doris Lessing's On Cats. I'm inclined to read about people, and then maybe animals other than housepets, as in Call of the Wild, Giraffe, and Watership Down. Readers are still recommending Watership Down, a misleading title for a novel about a colony of wild rabbits, published in 1972. I heard it recommended just yesterday. I have even read Will I See Fido in Heaven?, a work of nonfiction. (BTW, the answer, just as I had hoped, is "Yes.")
Having had pets I know how dear they are, and their lives have a few dramatic moments, but a reader is thinking, â€œWhatâ€™s in this for me?â€ The author bursting to tell a pet story should write it, but for a readership, prepare to deliver a story never before told.