Monday, December 05, 2005

Pets vs Children

Before the girls joined our family, our children were Sera and Toby, the cats. We were one of those couples who nauseate their friends with our cat devotion. Having no children at the time, all our parental feelings went to our little fuzzy babies and we spoiled them with abandon.

When I was pregnant, my husband was concerned that his love for Sera would change. He really doted on our white cat and I got disgusted and jealous of her preference of him. They would stare into each others eyes lovingly and she'd press her forehead to his lips for kisses. Ugh. Of course, I enjoyed her attention whenever he wasn't home.

But when I was pregnant, I had already fallen in love with the tiny ones in my tummy, and so when he voiced his concern about changing feelings for our pets, I just smiled. Turned out that I was right. When the girls were born, it wasn't that we stopped loving our pets, it was just that our love for our daughters was light years beyond. The cats were in no danger of being abandoned or unloved, they were just no longer the center of our universe.

That of course led to resentment by the cats -- "Who do these squeeling pink things think they are?" -- but they got over it and actually hang out with the girls now and we no longer find plans on how to get rid of them, hidden around the house.

But now that I have experience with both, let's compare pets versus children.

The cats are easier to care for. Put food and water on the floor and clean the litter box and they are set. Of course, the girls would also like the privilege of eating off the floor. In fact, I did put bowls of water on the floor for them the other day, but they said they were puppies at the time, so it seemed appropriate. The litter box is unpleasant work, but on the other hand I've never heard the cats shout from the box when we had guests, "MOMMY! I went POOOOPY and POTTTTY!!"

Children can talk, which comes in handy. While it's not comfortable to hear "Mommy, you have a booger" in a restaurant, at least you know they are honest and sincere. Cats are not honest and sincere, and although they cannot talk they seem to be able to communicate without difficulty. A cat owner knows clearly that they are accepted or despised at any given moment. It's a blessing that they cannot talk, actually. Toby, who's not the brightest bulb, would only say, "tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna tuna" until we were forced to feed him to a tuna. Children can say, "I love you" and ask "Do angels come from eggs?" and that far outweighs anything our cats could tell us.

Cats can be amusing. They have these episodes which Darby Conley of Get Fuzzy calls the midnight crazies. For no reason known to humankind, cats will start dashing around the house, looking psychotic. I mean more than usual. Children also do this but it can happen at any given time. I've been sitting in my home office when suddenly two tiny girls dash by, one wearing a swimsuit, hula skirt and fire helmet and the other in my full slip and her daddy's wingtips (that one can dash wearing shoes large enough in which one could sit kayak-style is a wonder all by itself).

So far, the obvious is obvious. Children are superior to cats. I only dare type that because the cats don't read my blog. That I'm aware. Sera and Toby will be a beloved part of our family until the mothership takes them home, but here's the tie-breaker: My children and cats both occasionally climb into our bed with us at night and both are snuggly warm. However, when I get uncomfortable I feel no guilt in making a cat go thunk on the floor in the middle of the night. The girls get to stay, charley-horse or no.


At Wednesday, December 07, 2005 7:01:00 AM, Anonymous lawbrat said...

Twin girls? WOW!

I really liked this post. I just gave my boyfriend a kitten about 6 weeks ago, and she is like a child. More like a princess. Sometimes a princess on crack...when she does her spazzy thing of running around.

At Thursday, December 08, 2005 7:41:00 PM, Blogger Sheryle said...

Yeah, why DO cats do that anyway. Sera is still a princess, even though she's 12. She doesn't seem to get that she's an old lady. Still acts like a princess on crack!


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