I’ve always grown up with pets. Whether a cat a dog, a fish or a frog, I’ve been a parent to many a small creatures. So naturally, when I found out that I’m allergic to dog and cat hair, that was a sad day. Luckily, I already had three dogs – so I decided that allergies were going to take a backseat and I would suck up my fear of needles until my little fur-babies bought the farm. My kids, including the big hairy one, all whined and moaned. I want a cat, I want a dog, I want a monkey! Everyone wanted something I was allergic to and I gave my resounding NO to all who breathed an animal request in my direction. That is until…
Ok, so I lost my entire resolve when three small kittens found their way into our shed. Surrounded by dogs and all the wild creatures hanging out in our woods, we had to save them from a life of orphanhood until we could find them a good home (aka, our home). They were 3 or 4 weeks old, had an absentee mother, and they yanked on the part of my heart that still loves to foster small, needy things. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as you have to eye-dropper feed little creatures, you’re kind of attached… especially if you choose to name all three of them. (Let’s be real… this was a done deal from the first meow anyways.)
Ok, so here we are. A family of 2 adults, three kids, three dogs, three kittens, and we are moving into our new house with our two in-laws and a grandmother. I say I want to simplify my life, but I just keep adding things in threes! Yet their big, sweet eyes and tiny, pink noses bring me so much happiness that I’m contemplating getting rid of the three kids instead of the cats. (Because if we’re being honest, the cats are way cooler than my kids.)
Three reasons why I may like my kittens more than my kids:
1) My kittens were potty-trained in 12 hours.
Do you even understand the irony of this in my life?? I have been potty-training my toddler for 2-and-a-half YEARS! He is never going to be out of diapers or pull-ups. NEVER! I even tried to shame him into toileting.
“Wyatt, even the KITTIES go pee in their potty and they’re just babies.” But his response was this. “Mama. I’m not a kitten! I’m a little boy!” (I have no idea how he thought this fixed things, but it did in his mind.)
My son is the king of announcing that he peed in his pull-up. At the store, in the yard, next to the toilet, it doesn’t matter. I picture him in his cap and gown, shaking hands with the college president, switching his tassel to the other side as he proudly announces “I peed in my pull up!”
Or maybe he will be in his double-breasted tuxedo, standing in front of 100 of his closest family and friends, looking deeply into the eyes of his bride-to-be. Only instead of vows, I see him lovingly whisper to her that he peed in his pull-up.
And can we take a moment to remember Taylor being 6 before bed-wetting stopped? Not to mention that Cameron still has the occasional accident at age 11? Even my dogs can’t hold it anymore. All I do is clean up urine in my life. All day, every day, I deal with pissing and moaning in the most literal sense.
So yeah, I definitely like the kittens more.
2) My kittens are content to snuggle in silence.
Whereas my toddler chooses to use cuddle time to try out his WWF moves, the kitties snuggle sweetly into the crook of my neck. Whereas my toddler bites, pinches, sits on my head, and randomly humps things, the kitties stay in one spot, occasionally nudging me with a nose to encourage a head rub. They never leave me bloody or feeling violated, and that’s a huge improvement in my life.
And then there’s my daughter. She LOVES cuddling. Like, if she could crawl into my skin and join her cells with mine, it still wouldn’t be enough physical contact and emotional oneness for her. People talk about their children being up their butt all the time, however, I literally feel like my daughter tries to imitate a butt plug during 98% of her waking moments. She’s a human enema.
Finally, there’s my oldest. He refuses to cuddle or have physical contact in the slightest. His idea of snuggling is sitting on the bed and asking me 9 trillion questions as I lay there with my eyes closed trying to go to sleep. Does he not see? Does he not realize? Does he not think? The answer to all of the above is “Duuuuuhhhhh… I’m a pre-teen boy… I have no social skills… duuuuuuhhhhh.”
Do kittens ask me questions? Do they have to be inside of my body? Do they smack my back fat and laugh at the jiggling?
No. No they do not. Because cats don’t have an 18-year learning curve. And that is why kittens are awesome and kids stink.
3) Kittens are self-sufficient.
Seriously, have you ever had a cat ask you to wipe its butt? Or does your kitty scream that your neighborhood is stupid because there are no other cats their age to play with? How about this, has your cat ever thrown a royal tantrum and then asked you to give them money minutes later for a new toy?
No! Of course not! Cats are thrilled with whatever you serve them for dinner with nary a complaint! They go to sleep without a tuck in, 4 drinks of water, bedtime prayers, or a story! You guys, cats are quite literally over the moon with a piece of freaking string. On the other hand, my children require an entire circus, a posse of friends that rotate every 5 minutes, and mind-numbing electronics to keep them from complaining that they’re bored (and even these things only last for a half hour, if we’re lucky).
Kittens enjoy their shadows. Kids want constant entertainment. Kittens can play with a tiny piece of paper for hours. Kids can tantrum for hours when asked to pick up said piece of paper and put it in the garbage. Kittens smell like sweet fur and milk. Kids smell like neediness wrapped in week-old socks.
When it comes right down to it, don’t we all like pets just a little bit more than we like our children? You don’t have to speak your answer out loud, I won’t make you feel guilty about your secret contempt for parenting… but just remember that the next time you hold a little baby in your arms and your spouse looks at you with a glint in their eye that says, “You wanna?” – I want you to smack them square across the face and go get a kitten. It’ll save your life, I promise.