I love cats.
I love dogs
—lots of them (if I can afford the time).
Each and every one of these beasts of any temperament and color.
Even with these animals in mind, I am pretty sure they have a place in all of our hearts, especially mine. With that in mind, I want to address something that is particularly important, namely the author portraits. Why exactly do authors constantly use pets as a type of shield whenever they expose themselves to the writing world? Do they think someone is interested in knowing about their pets first rather than the authors themselves?
Personally, I like keeping some anonymity with my audience, preferring that my members would meet prefer to meet me in person. Others like taking photos of themselves, and lots of them to post on their face book wall. Then there are ones who like to use their pets.
Unfortunately, cats are used way too often.
Though I personally would rather own one big dog (preferably a Great Dane or New Found-land) and a cat (with a good personality), I do not intend on using them as personal shields to protect my identity. I may take photos as portraits so everyone can be identified in my family or, use them to be humorous. If there is a reason to protect myself with identity, I would prefer to take a photo that slightly obscured my face (eliminating the idea of having a pet).
Nevertheless, there are times and places to have pets used in portraits.
Using them to shield your identity as an author is not one of them.