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October 2017

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Cats and Babies.

A while ago one of my LJ friends was complaining about people who call their pet their "baby". She felt that they shouldn't do that because having a pet is not anything like having a baby.

On the one hand I can understand that. I feel the same way about people who say their pet is part of their family. No one in my family eats out of a bowl on the floor. I think I am a good pet owner but I know that I don't treat my cats they way I would treat a relative, or a baby.

But, I do call my Kip my baby. Why?

I am a single woman in my late 30s. I got Kip at the point in my life when I had just realized that I was never going to have a family of my own. I call him my baby because he is the only baby I am ever going to have.

Pets are wonderful that way. They are living beings who can benefit from the love and affection we can give them. But they are "safe" they will never say or do anything hurtful. Even if they run away you know it isn't a personal judgment about you. In that way they are even better than babies.

I think people need to express love. Everyone wants to be loved but I think we all need to love as well. I can express love for my cat by caring for him, feeding him, grooming him, and just holding him and telling him I love him. And I think he loves me, in his own way. He expresses his love for me by following me around the house, choosing to sit near me when I am on the computer or watching TV, and by head-butting me for attention.

Unlike some people I don't think love is a "higher" emotion, one that only human's can feel. I think it is like anger and fear, a base emotion that we share with other animals. I know that some people warn against anthropomorphizing animals and projecting our emotions on them. But I think in some cases they are protesting too much, and insisting on a qualitative difference that doesn't exist.

But back to cats and babies.
How are cats like babies.

  • Cats are about the same size as babies, relative to and adult human. Someone once mentioned that an adult human is about the same size as a mother cat relative to new born kitten. So maybe being near an adult human makes an adult cat feel a little like they are a kitten in the protection of their mother. (It's just a thought.)

  • Cats are totally dependant on us for food and care, like babies.

  • Cats can receive love, and arguably give it (as well as a human baby can).

  • I am willing to argue that cleaning a cat box is as disgusting as changing a diaper.

  • A well cared for cat will be with you till its teen years, some will be with you into their 20s a few will be with you till their 30s. So it is with babies.


How are cats not like babies.

  • Babies are more demanding. Cats sometimes wake you up at night, but nearly as often as a new born baby.

  • Babies can not be left at home alone while you go to work.

  • Babies can not be left alone for a weekend while you are out of town.

  • Babies have to be fed, you can't just put food down on the floor and expect them to find it and eat when they are hungry.

  • Babies learn to talk.

  • Babies learn how to use the toilet.

  • Babies learn to feed themselves.

  • Babies grow up.

  • Babies turn into functional adults, who should out-live you.

  • Babies turn into functional adults who could one day care for you as you cared for them.

  • Babies are much more expensive than cats.


Feel free to suggest other ways in which cats are or are not like babies.

Comments

Calling something "baby" doesn't indicate what kind of relationship you have. Other than the obvious meaning of the term "baby", baby has evolved into a term of endearment. And there's NOTHING wrong with using terms of endearment toward your pets.

As someone whose spent over a month ferrying her pet rat to doctors, sitting up with it when it had medication withdrawl, and sticking a cathedar into it's open wound to flush it-I feel very close to it. It's my fucking baby, OKAY? And I take care of babies for a LIVING now, so I know the work entailed.

Excuse me for saying so, but I think your friend needs to lighten up.

terms of endearment

Excuse me for saying so, but I think your friend needs to lighten up.

I honestly can't remember who on my friends list made the original comment. But I do agree that in this case she seemed a bit more upset than the subject warrented. That is one of the resons I didn't confront her about it. It is not a question of right or wrong just how people feel about things. "Chacun à son goût."

I haven't let it stop me from calling my Kip my baby, so no harm done.

I do beleive in supporting people in their personal choices. I would never critize your relationship with your pet rat.

I don't own a snake but I have always liked them. I know what it is like to have unusual tastes.

Re: terms of endearment

Oh sweetie, I never thought you WOULD criticize my rat. When I said this: I feel very close to it. It's my fucking baby, OKAY? I was using the editorial "you". I was speaking to the world-or to whoever would argue the baby point.

And I tend to get agressive when I argue a point...one of the reasons I never wanted to be on the debate team! :)

You forgot one way that Kip is unlike a baby

Kip likes to be spanked. ;-)

Let's see...

...there's spitting up after meals; that's another way cats are like babies, at least sometimes (poor Jetsam cat; sometimes he gobbles his breakfast or dinner too fast, and then...well...).

There's also the crying. It's not always, but there are times when a cat may make sounds that are very like a human baby crying. With mine, that's usually a precursor to #1, above...

And when they require your complete attention, both cats and babies are able to command it.
Back in the days when I could have cats (danged allergies!), we had a wonderfully intelligent Siamese princess that toilet trained herself one day when the door to the litterbox room was closed.

Show me a human kid that toilet trains itself...

(Okay, okay, if I had a cat, it'd be my baby. My animatronic cat, Pixel, will do for now...)

Actually....

On the subject of toilet training, cats can learn to use the toilet. There is a kit for it, but I never got it, since I found a grown cat, then she brought home a kitten! I do mean brought one home, since it wasn't hers, she was spayed. But I digress....
-Cats and babies both learn words, that they then choose to listen to or ignore for their own benefit.
-Cats continue to enjoy the same things, babies will like a toy one week, then never play with it again the next week.
My internet connectivity went down on Tuesday, and I didn't get back online until yesterday, so I'm catching up. Sorry for the late post, but I can't resist speaking my mind on this.

Both my daughter and my cat are my "babies". My daughter is going to be 25 in a couple of weeks, but she'll always be my baby. And my cat is definitely my baby, too. My feelings for my cat are very similar to my feelings for my daughter. I'm not sure if this is normal, or healthy, but it's the way I am.

My daughter has grown into a reasonably competent adult. She is capable of functioning on her own, even if she had no family support, she could go out and find more support by herself. Even though this process of growing and learning was hard for both of us, I'm proud of her, and the way she turned out. My cat has not had to mature into a toughened adult, nor do I want her to. She is kept in a juvenile state, completely dependent on a human for her food, shelter, and emotional needs. And she DOES have emotional needs!

My daughter was a surprise baby...using contraceptive foam and condoms together is not 100% failsafe. But I love her. I went down to the Humane Society with the express intention of getting a kitten to love, but it turned out that an adult cat picked me.

Human babies are MUCH more demanding than cats, yes. A new baby will really drain its parents of all energy for a while.
One more thing. My extremely clever little cat has learned to make a vocalization that sounds like "Mama". She knows that this sound WILL get attention, so when she particularly wants something, she'll say it. It's funny to hear her say "Mama" to my husband or daughter because she wants to be petted. She also has the endearing habit of stroking a human's cheek with her paw when she wants HER cheeks stroked.