Some parents get legitimately angry when a childfree person refers to their pet as their baby, or talks about having a pet as practice for when they become a parent. I’ve had my cat since I was a single gal in my 20s and having a kitty was an unwritten rule, like having Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer and watching Friends. I’m a mom now, but I still think of my cat as my firstborn. Obviously I fell head over heels in love with my children when they were born, but caring for a mini human is hard work. Cats are just as cuddly and on days when the kids are being extra fussy, it can be easy to compare the two and realize how in some ways having a cat wins out over having a baby.
1. Cats are quieter than babies. You know what’s peaceful? A purring cat. A wailing baby- not so much.
2. Cats understand the concept of independent play. I love my kids, I really do, but sometimes it seems they choose the exact moment I need to do something as the moment to demand I hold them, dinner preparations be damned. My cat on the other hand, will disappear for hours on end.
3. Cats don’t destroy your property (as much). With the exception of Mylar balloon string (it’s a delicacy) and my knitting stitch counter (must.be.destroyed), my cat doesn’t mess with my stuff. The list of things my boys have ruined seems to grow exponentially day by day.
4. Cats eat what you give them. Kibble, wet food, that pea you dropped- unlike babies, cats eat what’s in front of them and clean up after themselves.
5. Unlike babies, cats don’t have milestones. Just when I feel like I’m finally settling into a rhythm with my kids, they have a huge surge in development that leaves me scrambling to think of creative baby-proofing solutions and new ways to entertain them. Cats are cats, so the same feather on a string that thrilled them three years ago is going to be just as exciting a month from now.
6. Cats don’t require baths. Sure, some cats actually like being in water, but most think anything wet is actually acid. Luckily, cats are self-cleaning. I wish my kids could also lick themselves spotless after a dinner of pasta with tomato sauce.
7. You only have to clean cat poop once a day. No, scooping the litter box is never the highlight of my day, but it is nice to know that once the job is done, the cat’s good for another 24 hours. As for a baby, you never know when they will decide to call your diaper changing skills into action.
8. Cats give great massages. Hoisting a baby on your hip and constantly bending down to retrieve dropped binkies causes havoc on your lower lumbar. But my cat is always happy to knead my sore muscles for me in exchange for a pat on the head.
9. There’s no pressure to have a smart cat. With my kids I do flashcards and sing songs and try to teach them their letters and numbers and still worry that they won’t get into a good college. My cat is a dummy who thinks every time the can opener goes off, it’s tuna, but I don’t lose sleep over it.
10. You can leave a cat overnight without someone calling DCF. Leaving the kids with a sitter requires a list of emergency phone numbers, writing out a schedule and making sure my phone and iPad are charged so I’m reachable in case of an emergency. Leaving the cat while we go away for the weekend requires pulling out an extra litter box and making sure he has food and water.
Related post: 8 Reasons Every Family Should Have a Dog
This first ran on Mommyish. Read more here.