In addition to pets inside our home, most of us like to make connections with the wild critters outside in the yard as well.
My bird feeding tendencies began back when my mother-in-law was living with us ... she loved to feed the birds. So we had a birdfeeder in the back yard, viewable from our screened porch, and a feeder right outside her living room window, where she could sit in her chair, reading and watching the birds. She would sprinkle seeds along the window sill and there was usually a squirrel or two sitting there enjoying themselves, too.
Once on her birthday we got the bright idea that we'd get her an in-window bird feeder. We thought that was the greatest gift idea we had ever come up with. Alas, she wouldn't let us put it in the window. She was convinced that the birds were going to get into the house. So it never came out of the box. Instead, it went to live in the garage and was forgotten about.
Months after she had stopped living with us, I ran across this forgotten treasure and brought it in and installed it. Instead of putting it in the window we had originally planned, I put it into a window on the back wall of the house, where it faces the woods and is two stories off the ground, so other critters besides birds can't easily get in.
It is really neat ... the front of the feeder has a reflective film on the inside of the glass, so you can sit just inches from it and look in and see the birds. All the birds see is a reflection of themselves. At first many birds will "fight" the other bird in the reflection, but they figure out quickly enough that's not a real bird and give up the fighting.
At night when it's dark outside and the inside lights are on, you can see right through the reflective film. It's not a problem for us since the back of our house faces the woods, but if it was in another window, we'd throw a towel over it at night for privacy.
It's fun watching how birds with different kinds of beaks eat. The cardinals sit in there and break the seeds open with their beaks and the titmice (titmouses?) and the chickadees and will sit on the edge of the bird feeder and crack seeds open while holding them with their feet. It always sounds like there's somebody knocking on the door, and when we first put the feeder up, it took me several weeks to get used to the knocking. I would be in my studio in the next room, hear the knocking and come to see who was at the door.
Some of the birds don't hang around in the feeder at all. Those will swoop in, grab a seed, and fly up to the nearby tree branches to eat. Occasionally, during really heavy rainstorms, a solitary bird will come and just sit quietly and wait it out.
It's fun to get a close up look at nature and feel that little connection with the natural world. It's not quite the same as the connection we feel with our pets, of course, but a connection nevertheless.
And sometimes, there is a definite overlap between the critters on the outside and the critters on the inside ...