I agree with you 100% It isn't the same as a pet. I say this cause I'm not obsessed with tamas (although I do enjoy them), but I am obsessed with my animals!!! I've got a small zoo (ha, ha).
I dont know that neglecting your virtual pet is like kicking an animal because it is hungry. I get what you are saying but I dont think they are on the same level at all.
I care a lot about my Tamas, which is why if I am going through a period where I cant get very enthused about them I wont use them. I love taking care of them and treating them like my little baby. I definatly take breaks though, I cant be 100% into it all the time.
I take spells with my tamas. I'll be all in to them for a few weeks, or a mouth. THEN they get paused for a while. Some of you will hate me for this, but as for me there on the same level as video games.
*~*~*~*~* But I LOVE video games! *~*~*~*~*