Let me admit this right off: I don't want a pet, and I don't understand pet people. I have enough trouble taking care of myself, my wife, and my two daughters; the last thing I need is the responsibility of taking care of creatures who can't talk to me! (It's hard enough dealing with the ones who WON'T.)
Here's what it all comes down to for me:
The decisive difference between the concepts of "inside" and "outside" is not what Barney taught about the appropriate voices for each. It's that that the latter is where all animals belong.
I don't care if it's a hyena or a tabby cat or a pit bull or a hamster or a chimp.
What separates humans from animals is that we build better homes -- and animals don't belong inside them. And we certainly shouldn't invite them in!
I don't care if it's a tenement or a mobile home or a McMansion. Each is far better than the best bird's nest or beaver's dam or bear's cave. Until the animal kingdom can develop indoor plumbing on their own, they belong outside.
Finally, if there are rules on the books about prohibiting the keeping of "exotic animals," don't make exceptions...exceptions only lead to horrific instances like the one in Stamford, Connecticut.