Small Talk

Cats are good prep for parenthood

I’ve never written about cats before. I have kept my distance from felines since, as a teen, my nose decided that cat dander was the enemy.It was a very sad day. I was cuddling a boxful of adorable kittens when my eyes decided to swell up and itch like fire. Despite my deprivation, I have the next best thing now, as my daughter acquired not one but two cats.

I thought cats were aloof, independent creatures that ignored you and slept all day. Somehow my daughter got two of the Three Stooges in cat form. She has me in hysterics all the time with updates on their hi-jinks. To my astonishment, cat ownership seems a perfect preparation for motherhood.

These cats do naughty but kind of hilarious things all the time. They poop and then run through the house to celebrate. They refuse to be left in a room alone and cry when you leave. They “talk” all the time, whether you are on the phone, trying to sleep or they’re just feeling a little bored.

My daughter’s cats must come from royal Egyptian ancestors — demanding royalty. Basically, they never, ever suffer in silence. If they want food, a clean litter box or attention of any kind, they give the cat equivalent of “Mom, mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, moooooommmmmmmyyyyy” until you figure out exactly what they are asking for.

The younger cat is all action and little thought. He regularly runs smack into things as he races around. He is not happy unless he can see your face. If you roll over in bed, he will hop up and relocate nose to nose. Another trick he adores is too plop down next to a full glass of anything. He is quite comfortable. The glass, however, tips over. The cats show the same indifference to stacks of papers, clothes, a bowl of fruit or a pizza. The world is their pillow and nothing is sacred.

They find small hiding places to pout and refuse to come out. If you let them loose near a tree, they will climb it and then howl to get down. One will do anything to eat what has been given to the other, no matter the gastric consequences.

They love to sleep in your bed and find ways to wake you up as often as possible. In a doglike turn of personality, the older cat will actually let you take her for a walk. The younger cat, however, pitches a temper-tantrum and makes everyone around you think it is a cat-abduction, complete with dragging feet.

I have to try really hard not to remind my child how much like toddlers these creatures are, when she shows up with bags under her eyes. If I’m not careful, I’ll never get grandchildren.


Jean Gillette is a freelance writer becoming a cat fan from afar. Contact her at