I simply cannot stand it when pet owners refer to their pets as “it”. Pets are not “it”, even when they are neutered. They are “he” and “she” and a proper name or a cute nickname. “It” distances the person from an emotional involvement. “It” means that the pet is a thing, not a companion or a friend. “It” means you can’t even remember whether your own pet is male or female, or it doesn’t matter to you.
It even bothers me that animals are referred to as “it” in veterinary journals. I really want to change all of the “its” to “he” or “she” when I read these articles.
We don’t call our friends “that man” or “the subject”. We save that for people we don’t know or care about; strangers. Pets should be close to us, tied to our hearts. We should know their personalities, their foibles, their likes and dislikes, and we should strive to make their lives pleasant and fulfilling. If we have this relationship with animals they aren’t objects, but little furry beings that deserve better than to be called “it”.