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Want to have kids? Get a cat first.

Updated on September 12, 2012
Willa Catter, one of my many cat friends in Front Royal, Virginia.
Willa Catter, one of my many cat friends in Front Royal, Virginia. | Source

One day, I think it might be nice to have children. At times, I go “baby crazy,” which freaks out my boyfriend and roommates. It is a temporary feeling, but I know that in the future, I will have children.

That thought is both comforting and terrifying. CHILDREN.

Would I ever be able to go anywhere?? Would the house be clean? Do I need to put plastic sheets on my furniture?

After working as a substitute, I’ve seen some awful behavior from the younger generation and there are times that I think it’d be best to just take the option off the table entirely.

Outside of the school setting, I feel much better about it all. Before any babies happen however, I need to be prepared.

So, I got a cat.

Well, the cat didn’t come into my life as a pre-baby test subject. Not at all. He was a wild-eyed stray from the streets of Albuquerque’s South Valley. He’s orange and whiney. He’s also the sweetest cat I’ve ever met.

When my friend delivered Henry to me, my first reaction was to put this thing back in her hands. How would I handle a cat?

He would rely on me for his every need?

HOW?! I know nothing about being a responsible adult. Sometimes I even eat Cheetos as a real meal. And I like to travel.

I ignored that initial twinge of fear that spread through every cell of my body and decided to keep the creature.

I slept on the floor all night since I hadn’t even moved my own furniture into the house, and I had nightmares that he was going to turn into a demonic monster and kill me in my sleep. Yes, these were exaggerations, but I seriously had no idea what I was doing. We never had cats growing up and I’d heard mostly awful things about them.

Immediately, I realized that my life had changed by the inclusion of 14 pounds worth of fur and meows. Since then, I have learned countless things that I know will come into use in the future. Today, I’d like to share some with you.

They cry all the time.

Not all cats are talkers, but the ones who are do it loudly. My cat has learned this trait from me, I know, but he was already a little chatty when I adopted him. He loves to talk and tell you absolutely everything. It’s great if you enjoy having an open line of communication with your furry or non-furry spawn, but it can take a long time to figure out exactly what his problem his.

Is it food? Does he need to go to the bathroom? Is he feeling unwell? Is he just sad? These questions all rush through my mind and I know that a newborn baby will be like this and much more. Current parents, do you agree?

They don't sleep through the night.

As cats are nocturnal predators, they tend to get most riled up in the evenings. It takes discipline and structure to make these creatures sleep through the night, but it is possible. When they do sleep through the night, they’ll learn to take up as much of the bed as possible and you’ll never rest your head upon those soft, comfy pillows again.

It is hard to figure out what they want.

As I noted in the first example, cats are communicative. It takes time to figure out their language, but eventually you can. Henry has a list of things he likes to do in a given day and I have learned to help him achieve these goals, and thus minimize the crying. Other examples of his finicky nature is his odd ways of coping with physical displeasure, specifically regarding his bowel functions.

This cat will dart around the house, jump and startle at nothing, and just be ornery. When Henry starts galloping, we know. This guy’s up to a good old-fashioned shimmy! He’ll work it all out; just open the bathroom door and get ready for post-poop cuddles.

They like affection and will whine if they don’t get the right kind.

It make take time for your cat to trust you, but once they do, be ready for cuddles. They will not accept brief back rubs. Henry and other cats I know expect you to serve them as their rightful “owners,” and touch them in whatever way they like. Henry is very thankful and appreciative, so after you feed him or change his litter box, he usually wants to sit down and rub his gums on your glasses or nose.

If you try to stop the affection, they will force it until it happens. They are very needy and sometimes unruly because of it. I assume children are like that, especially when Henry gets mad at me for not touching him right.

Henry never wants to be in a car again. How are we supposed to travel?? My life is over! Not really. Not at all.
Henry never wants to be in a car again. How are we supposed to travel?? My life is over! Not really. Not at all. | Source

Their poop and pee reek.

Everyone knows that cat droppings smell to high heavens. Seriously, it can be like pure ammonia. The smells are even worse for males and it took me quite some time to get used to the stench.

Fortunately, there are many products to help minimize the smell and a healthy diet with regular exercise seems to help as well. Any cat owner knows, though, that you have to stay on top of the stink. You can’t run from the responsibility and often, the cat will find you and yell in your face if you have.

You will also become acutely concerned about their digestive system and you will become obsessed about removing all threats (strings, dustbunnies, floss, dirt, pieces of food, anything that shines or moves or can be touched, etc).

Sometimes they'd prefer not to be seen with you.

Just like teenagers, cats do not always want to be associated with you. They can be very reclusive and sometimes hide in box springs, hard-to-reach areas, and other places that will make you feel like they are trying to do anything to avoid being seen with you. Then, they come running back and will sit on your shoulder and purr for hours.

They never chip in, apart from a few found bugs or vermin.

Don’t expect cats to help out with the bills or food. They’ll eat your portions, especially if there’s cottage cheese or yogurt.

Cats do carry their own weight when it comes to tidiness, however. They will make sure your new minimalist way of living is preserved by always knocking any clutter onto the floor. They do not discriminate regarding quality of the items they prefer to remove, but they tend to go for more expensive, harder-to-find collectibles.

Plus, they bathe themselves regularly and mine never poops or pees on the floor, unlike our dogs.

They're picky eaters.

Fine paté from an all-natural cat food line? No thanks. I’d prefer cheap meat chunks. Thanks for spending $20 on expensive, healthy food, though! I’m never going to touch the stuff, so how about we just get rid of it? Mmkay? Thanks, mom.

I’m pretty sure this is how Henry thinks about food. His tastes change on a semi-regular basis, but he always enjoys inedible substances and things that feel good along his gums (gooms, as my grandmother says).

Why do cats groom themselves?

They really like to gnaw on things.

On that note, I’d like to emphasize the gnawing. It’s not really a small thing. Henry spends his day sleeping, grooming, laying around, watching cars, eating, and gnawing. He gnaws on any and everything. If it feels good, he’ll go for it. This includes remote controls, furniture, dishware, clothing, noses, toothbrushes, toilets, dog faces, and more. It is like a really severe face rub, which he also enjoys doing.

I imagine babies also like to gnaw, especially when teething. If you can stand the gentle cat chewing, I think you can handle the ways babies gum up everything. Well, at least Henry doesn’t chomp down with his hard-as-steel toothless gums. Maybe I need to get a snapping turtle before I have children, too.

Henry hates books, but loves bookcases!
Henry hates books, but loves bookcases! | Source

My All-Time Favorite Cat Care Products

Feline Pine Original Litter, 40 Lbs
Feline Pine Original Litter, 40 Lbs

All natural, fragrance free, absorbent, environmentally friendly, and reasonably priced. I love this litter! Shop around for the best deal and don't hesitate to try other pine litter brands. Petsmart's Exquisit brand is great, too!

NATURVET 978320 Sft Chw Calm Aid+ for Cat 50-Count
NATURVET 978320 Sft Chw Calm Aid+ for Cat 50-Count

These saved my life during a four-day road trip (there and back). Henry nearly killed us both and these made the trip much, much safer.

Taste of the Wild, Rocky Mountain Feline Formula with Roasted Venison & Smoked Salmon, Net Wt 15 Lbs
Taste of the Wild, Rocky Mountain Feline Formula with Roasted Venison & Smoked Salmon, Net Wt 15 Lbs

This is the best cat food I've used to date. Other brands are more expensive, but Henry digests Taste of the Wild better than others. He seems happier and shinier.



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    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

      Henry sounds like an awesome cat. And he is like mine. Loves the books, but mostly to knock off and he will cozy up on the shelf. I don't know how many times that has happened. And if I leave the books astray, my cat will eventually go after another set of books to knock out of the way.

      Great laugh at the cat getting a bath video. I have found my cat likes baths now that he is older and the bathroom door shut so the dogs don't bug him.

    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Although Henry himself is pretty mellow, the chihuahua, pug, and collie give me a run for my money. The collie has taken on many of the cat's traits however, so it is getting a little weird over here.

      Thanks for all of the comments, everyone! I love hearing about your experiences.

    • swellgal profile image

      swellgal 5 years ago from Kentucky

      My 19-year-old Siamese, my childhood pet, squalls for hours on end. She always has. I suspect this would prepare one for a baby! Nonetheless, I found this an insightful and amusing Hub. Thanks for the extended simile!

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Henry sounds like a really great cat. The videos are really good. Cat poop and pee sure does smell, and the pee smell is so strong, you can really smell the amonia in it. I recently got some kitty litter that has an amonia shield for my two cats' litter boxes. So far it seems to work. Its called, Scoop Away with an amonia shield. Great hub.

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Ah, love this. Love cats too, and children! Just know that there's no way to truly prepare for learn as you go, but it is very wise to do what you need to do to help prepare for the responsibility because it changes your life forever--in many, many good ways. I gave you thumbs up because this was well written and constructed. Thanks much.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Fun read! I'm a cat person, have had several, and everything you say is sooooo true. I admire your pre-child approach to parent education, and I agree that you might want to add a snapping turtle to the family before the human baby arrives. Up and funny. :)

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      I love Henry and the hub! Voted up!!!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      Funny Hub. I have two children (18 and 20 - yikes), I've had a cat (he lived to 19) and now I have a 1 1/2 year-old beagle. If you want a trial run for motherhood get a beagle puppy - a cat is way too easy!!!

    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Scribenet, you're definitely right! I hope that many young people see this article and realize they should make room for a child in their life. A cat is a good starting point.

      teaches12345, it seems like prime time to adopt a sweet cat! I recommend orange tabbies. They are revered for their gentle, friendly nature and my cat exemplifies this.

      Thanks for commenting! :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I agree, there are some cats that meow loudly. I have had some wonderful cats and they were all so loving. I currently do not have one in the home, but my husband is really wanting another one. Sigh.

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Well, Henry seems to keep you busy...however, children may be even more time intensive :)