A friend of mine, who has no kids, recently mentioned that she loves her cat more than she could ever love a human baby. On the same day, another friend, who recently lost his beloved cat, described hearing phantom cat footsteps on his kitchen floor the day after the final sad visit to the vets. This got me thinking about how much our pets can mean to us, whether we have children or not, and I realised that one possible reason for this strong bond that people with pets develop is that there are many parallels that can be drawn between living with kids and being owned by a cat.
I have both a cat and a little girl, and in many ways they are strangely similar. Casper may have more fur and more legs than Emma, but between them they seem to be constantly finding new ways to alternately drive me insane or make me smile. Here are ten of the more obvious examples.
1. Inverse toy snobbery
No matter how expensive the toys that you buy them, there’s something built deep into the psyche of young children and cats that commands them to prefer things like cardboard boxes, bits of string, supermarket receipts and other household detritus. Emma spent two whole hours the other day playing happily with my wallet, whilst regardless of your fancy laser-pointers and small stuffed animal toys attached to plastic fishing rods, Casper’s favourite thing in the world to play with remains… a dressing gown cord.
2. Weird sleeping positions
Some of the positions that the two of them get themselves into while away with the fairies simply have to be seen to be believed. Legs akimbo, lavishly draped across the sofa, head shoved uncomfortably up Mickey Mouse’s posterior, bottom in the air, the “sideways steeplechase”, all of the above are equally applicable to either.