My cat was my first baby. He’s now 14 years old, an old man in cat years. My daughter is two years old, a toddler in human years. And even though they are separated by age and species, they are very much the same. Not saying having a cat prepares you for having a toddler. It doesn’t, and neither does having a dog by the way. I always chuckle when someone try to commiserate with me about how caring for their dog is just like a kid. Believe me, a toddler is a dog times infinity!
So back to my cat. While the time and attention my cat needs is a million times less than my toddler (doggie mommies and daddies I know a dog is more work than a cat), they share a number of habits.
- Both are never on the “right” side of the door. I’ve spent what probably amounts to hours of opening and closing the door to the porch, bathroom, basement, bedroom etc…as a toddler and/or cat either stands at the entrance and stares or crosses the threshold just to turn around again in two minutes or less. Before my daughter could crawl, we put a cat door in so that Milo could head to the basement for food and potty time without us worrying about a baby tumbling down the stairs. Of course she tried to crawl through the cat door too. Do they make them for toddlers?
- Both beg for food in a shrill whiny tone, particularly when you open a can, jar, or bag. Both come running to the kitchen to investigate, look at you with identical pleading eyes and say “want some, want some, want some” in their own unique way, both escalating in pitch while they wait. Furthermore, they both want what I’m eating, and will climb onto my lap to try to get it. At least the cat can’t grab my bowl and fork away. The toddler however won’t let up until you hand over your food, even though her plate has the exact same meal on it.
- They are always under your feet. This happens exponentially more when you are trying to cook, clean, eat, pee, and walk down or up the stairs. The toddler is a little easier to hear approaching, but it hurts a lot less when its the cat that steps on your toes.
- They both want to sleep in your bed. My cat sleeps with us every night, and until about 8 months old, so did my daughter. Even though she has her own room and crib now, she still asks to sleep in mommy and daddy’s bed. But unlike the cat, who stays quiet and sleeps at the foot of the bed, the toddler will sleep on top of us and talks in her sleep.
- They both occasionally puke, pee or poop on the floor. My cat is well potty trained, but the house is still littered (pun intended) with mounds of regurgitated hairballs and cat food. He knows enough to do it on the hardwood or tile floor so it’s easier to clean up and it’s usually out in the open. But occasionally I’ll find myself scraping cement like cat puke off the floor in hard to reach places. Of course it’s usually the toddler that finds it first. “Milo pukey,” she says, “no touch.” And then she does. While she pukes less than when she was an infant, we are potty training her. ‘Nuf said.
- You are constantly cleaning up after them. The cat is mostly hair, hairballs and turned over plants. The toddler is also the plants plus everything else. Invest in a good vacuum and do lots of core work because you’ll be bending over a lot.
- They both like shiny, bouncy objects and will chase said objects around the house until you put them away. Throw a rubber ball on the floor and both will race after it, batting it with their little paws/hands. Wave a flashlight on the floor and they’ll zig zag, jump, and run in circles trying to catch the light. Only difference is the toddler has just enough more gray matter to fuck with the cat. See video.
So while one is furry and four-legged, sometimes I swear they could be twins. Your personality is half nurture half nature right. Maybe it’s mommy to blame.