The Crazy Cat Lady is a comical figure we’ve all encountered, with her wild hair, threadbare clothes, and faint odor of cat urine. You might have passed her in the grocery store with a cart full of liver snaps and Whiskas, or moved in next door to her and received a juicy, headless welcome gift on your back porch. Chances are, if you stopped to chat with her at the park as she walked all six of her cats on individual leashes, you’d have learned each of their names, favorite television programs, and political affiliations (one of the cats is a rabid Trump supporter, and it caused quite the hubbub during their morning yoga class).
I used to wonder what unfortunate turn of events could lead someone into a life of feline fanaticism, but then I had children of my own. I now suspect that what appeared to me to be a woman who was a few clowns short of a full-blown circus, was actually wise beyond her years. Perhaps she was the oldest in a family of 12 siblings, or the last of her group of friends to procreate, but it turns out she was blessed with nine lifetimes of wisdom.
I’ve decided that in my next life I’ll have cats instead of kids, and here are a few reasons why:
Kids and cats alike are terrified of vegetables, but at least when my cat freaks out about a cucumber, it results in a hilarious viral video.
When my toddler is presented with a terrifying vegetable, he just screams until he vomits.
2. Potty Training
Cats at least have the decency to crap in a box and the humility to cover it up afterward. The last time my toddler pooped on the floor he announced it with the pride of a new father and then proceeded to track it all over the house.
Cats and young children hate riding in cars, and neither one is shy about staging a protest in the backseat. However, at least when my cat has a conniption fit before we drive across the country, I can take him to the vet where they will drug him up like a 1950s mental patient. I’m fairly certain that if I tried that with my kid there would be some unpleasant repercussions.
4. Sleep All Day
My toddler will fight me like a gladiator—complete with hulk-like shirt-tearing, wielding of blunt objects, and fierce war cry—every time I suggest that perhaps the reason his hair feels too tight is because he needs a nap. Cats have a type of snooze named after them. They’ll sleep anytime and anywhere, and they do not insist on using the toilet the second you lie down to join them.
Apparently it’s unsafe to tie a bell around the neck of your toddler, but how else am I supposed to hear him coming in the middle of the night? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been roused from a deep sleep by a shadowy figure mouth-breathing in my face and creepily stroking my hair.
6. No Therapy
Speaking of my kids materializing in my bedroom unannounced, at least when my cat walks in on my husband and I having sex he isn’t traumatized by it. Though sometimes the evil stares and fervent paw-licking throw my husband off his game.
7. Bed Sharing
Even if we manage to complete coitus without interruption, chances are my toddler will be visiting my bed at some point in the night. The excuses for his visit are unimportant, because he knows I’ve got the cure for what ails him: approximately 93 percent of the space in my bed and all of the covers. When my cat gets lonely in the night and wants to be close to me, he sleeps in my laundry basket.
8. Sex Education
Anyone currently raising tweens and teenagers will appreciate this one: spay and neuter. Need I say more?
9. Bath Time
If putting my toddler to bed is like jumping into the fighting ring with a gladiator, washing his hair is like trying to mud-wrestle the gladiator instead. Cats clean themselves, quietly, all day long, and the worst thing you have to deal with is the occasional fur ball. You should see some of the things my kids have hawked up.
When the cat gets infested by blood-sucking parasites, I just put a collar on him and make him sleep in the garage for a week. There’s no need to spend hours nitpicking until my eyeballs bleed or use enough water to power California for a week laundering everything we own.
Unlike kids, cats are resourceful. If I forget to feed my cat, he just begs at the neighbor’s house or eats the family parakeet. How hard is that, kids?
With cats, there’s no need for an elaborate punishment process that ends up taking an hour and a half to enforce at two-minute time-out. When my cat destroys stuff in my house, I can just squirt him with a water bottle and I don’t have to see him for days.
13. Back Talk
My cat has never told me he hates me, shouted “No!” at the top of his lungs when I offered him dinner, or dropped the F-bomb at a play date. Although, I’m pretty sure I saw him give me the finger once.
They say cats always land on their feet. Unfortunately, the same is not true for babies and toddlers. In fact, they will almost always land squarely on their head, every time, at least 14 times a day. And they’re magnetically attracted to sharp corners and hard tile.
At least when my cat drinks milk, my nipples don’t bleed.
After having three kids in five years, I already look like a homeless bag lady, smell like vomit most of the time, and haven’t slept past dawn in years. The Crazy Cat Lady can leave her cats home alone while she shops for their outfits for the family Christmas card photo, and no one will call child protective services.
I’d say she’s got it pretty good.