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 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Animals


You can always tell about somebody by the way they put their hands on an animal. ~Betty White

The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude. ~Robert Brault,

A house was not a home without animals. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

Animals are such agreeable friends — they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. ~George Eliot

Nature reminds us that the dog will wag its tail, the cat will sing, and the horse will neigh as we approach if we are only kind to them. They do not forget kindness, and that is more than some of us can say. ~Charles F. Raymond, "A Desire," Just Be Glad, 1907

I am an animal person, which, I suppose, is one way of saying that, when I'm unable to find any redeeming traits in myself, I declare that I am kind to animals. Of course, human beings are also animals (we aren't exactly plants), but I am arrogant enough to mean "lower forms of animal life" when I refer to animals. Thus, when I say that I like animals, I do not necessarily include my own species, among whom are large numbers of individuals for whom I have no fondness at all, and some whom I hold in utter contempt. Indeed, I sometimes wonder why "You're an animal" is an insult; it seems to me that, if animals could talk, "You're a human" would be one of their favorite insults. ~Richard E. Turner (1937–2011), The Grammar Curmudgeon, a.k.a. "The Mudge," "Animal People," 2004,

To insult someone we call him "bestial." For deliberate cruelty and nature, "human" might be the greater insult. ~Isaac Asimov

Man is rated the highest animal, at least among all animals who returned the questionnaire. ~Robert Brault,

The long-suspected meanings
of rustlings, chirps, and growls!
Soliloquies of forests!
The epic hoots of owls!
Those crafty hedgehogs drafting
aphorisms after dark,
while we blindly believe
they're sleeping in the park!
~Wisława Szymborska (1923–2012), "I'm Working on the World," Calling Out to Yeti (1957), translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh

Animals have a great advantage over human beings: they never hear the clock strike, however intelligent they may be: they die without having any notion of death: they have no theologians to instruct them on the Four Ends of animals: their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and often objectionable ceremonies: it costs them nothing to be buried: no one goes to law over their wills... ~Voltaire, letter, 1769, translated by S. G. Tallentyre (Evelyn Beatrice Hall), 1919

It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions. ~Mark Twain

Animals!... Ever considered what they must think of us? I mean, here we come back from the grocery store with the most amazing haul — chicken, pork, half a cow. We leave at nine and we're back at ten, evidently having caught an entire herd of beasts. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth! ~Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist, 1985

I had to have company — I was made for it, I think — so I made friends with the animals. They are just charming, and they have the kindest disposition and the politest ways; they never look sour, they never let you feel that you are intruding, they smile at you and wag their tail, if they've got one, and they are always ready for a romp or an excursion or anything you want to propose. I think they are perfect gentlemen. ~Mark Twain

The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk.
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "The Cow"

There is no mode of action, no form of emotion, that we do not share with the lower animals. ~Oscar Wilde

Uncle Hank says he doesn't reckon his dog has human feelings, but he sure lets you know when you hurt his instincts. ~Robert Brault,

The lizard struck an attitude — sleek back a little arched, legs in odd, uncouth positions, tail set stiffly in a queer curve. They are brilliant little creatures. "Pretty little chap, isn't he?" said Jonathan. "Stylish," I said, "but foolish. They never do anything that I can see, except attitudinize." ~Elisabeth Woodbridge, "In the Rain," 1911  [a little altered —tg]

The very dogs and cats incline to affection in their relation to man. It often happens that a man is more humanely related to a cat or dog than to any human being.... we grow to love one another. ~Henry David Thoreau, journal, 1851 fact, cows are amongst the gentlest of breathing creatures; none show more passionate tenderness to their young, when deprived of them; and, in short, I am not ashamed to profess a deep love for these quite creatures. ~Thomas De Quincey (1785–1859)

I subscribe to the theory that Mankind never domesticated any animal. They came in from the cold and looked cute until they were fed. ~David J. Beard (1947–2016), @Raqhun, tweet, 2010

Everything native to Oklahoma was tough and warlike. Only the strong survived here. Our snakes came with venom and a warning signal. Our insects were armored against predators and dehydration. Our birds possessed talons, telescopic vision, and hollow bones. These animals were designed for hardship. All weakness and softness had been beaten out of their genetic lineage by the dust storms, the droughts, and the tornadoes. Disaster was as much a part of life in Oklahoma as the weather-worn sky. The crayfish were plated with complex carapaces. The coyotes were shy and clever, as elusive as dreams. The groundhogs dug deep burrows, safe from heat and wind. The turtles and frogs lived a halfway existence, dipping between tepid water and balmy air. The porcupines carried weaponry on their backs. The mule deer had lightning reflexes. The alligators were stupid but heavily armed. I was jealous of them all — their savage strength and vivid senses, their power and tenaciousness. The way they were born was the best way to be. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

I believe in animal rights, and high among them is the right to the gentle stroke of a human hand. ~Robert Brault,

Mother knew every chicken on the place — yes, by name; and they would eat from her hand, and would light on her shoulders, and would come to her buttery window for a crumb. And I am inclined to think that they came very near to learning to talk English. ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "An Old-Time Thanksgiving," 1904

If what are miscalled the lower animals were as silly as man is, they would all perish from the earth in a year. ~Mark Twain, 1898

I have been scientifically studying the traits and dispositions of the "lower animals" (so-called,) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result profoundly humiliating to me. For it obliges me to renounce my allegiance to the Darwinian theory of the Ascent of Man from the Lower Animals; since it now seems plain to me that that theory ought to be vacated in favor of a new and truer one, this new and truer one to be named the Descent of Man from the Higher Animals. ~Mark Twain, "The Lowest Animal"

The friendly cow all red and white,
      I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
      To eat with apple-tart...
And blown by all the winds that pass
      And wet with all the showers,
She walks among the meadow grass
      And eats the meadow flowers.
~Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Cow"

ZEBRA. An animal used principally to illustrate the letter Z. ~Noah Lott (George V. Hobart), The Silly Syclopedia, 1905

When a cow laughs, does milk come out her nose? ~Author unknown

Be it human or animal, touch is a life-giving thing. Has anyone ever had a stroke or a heart attack while cozied up with a pet? I doubt it. ~Robert Brault,

In the country sometimes I go about looking at horses and cattle. They eat grass, make love, work when they have to, bear their young. I am sick with envy of them. ~Sherwood Anderson

Concealed within the brushland were white-tailed deer, javelina, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, ocelots, weasels, opossums, badgers, gray foxes, ground squirrels, cottontail rabbits, jaguarundis, skunks, kangaroo mice, field rats, and shrews. And rattlesnakes, coral snakes, garter snakes, lizards, skinks, and frogs. Critters small and large, nocturnal, diurnal, crepuscular, walking and sliding, barking, howling, hissing — all of them beneath a raucous umbrella of calls and whistles from hundreds of birds that hopped from branches to pads and nested among protective thorns. ~Arturo Longoria, Adios to the Brushlands, 1997 [Texas –tg]

There is in all animals a sense of duty that man condescends to call instinct. ~Robert Brault,

"The Purple Cow"
Reflections on a Mythic Beast,
Who's quite Remarkable, at Least

      I never Saw a Purple Cow—
      I never Hope to See One;
      But I can tell you Anyhow
      I'd rather See than Be One.
~Gelett Burgess, May 1895

(Confession: and a Portrait, Too,
Upon a Background that I Rue!)
      Ah, yes, I wrote the "Purple Cow"—
      I'm Sorry, now, I wrote it;
      But I can tell you Anyhow
      I'll Kill you if you Quote it!
~Gelett Burgess, April 1897  [Sorry, Sir, please send me no disdain for quoting your famous quatrain, but now that it's in the public domain your duly lawful loss is our glad gain. —tg]

It is a perversely human perception that animals in their native habitat are running wild. ~Robert Brault,

There is something wholly likeable about most people who write about animals. ~Eric Duthie

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