Everyone knows when you are looking at getting a puppy or dog there will be work involved. It is like having a new born child. They require a lot of attention, training, and can’t be left alone for extended periods of times.
Cats are more like teenagers. Moody, prone to extremes of affection, self-sufficient except for when they don’t want to be. There is no extensive training involved and cats are generally content left on their own and do their own thing.
Or at least that is what I thought before Opal.
Here are 5 ways I learned having a cat is like having a small child.
1. Early Morning Wake-Ups
When I first took on pet-parenting Opal our schedules did not match up. She wanted nothing to do with me during the day and had no interest in her toys. Until 3 am. That was when she decided she needed to run from one end of the apartment to the other as fast as possible. She’d cry for food at obscene hours and decided that the noisiest of toys were best used at 5 am.
In the almost two years I have had her our schedules have synced up but I still get early morning wake-ups. Like a small child jumping on her parents bed too early in the morning, Opal comes and sits on my chest at 4 am. She then demands I give belly rubs.
2. They Leave Their Toys Everywhere
This is partly my fault. I leave her toys our for her during the day so she has something to do while I am away. Inevitably additional toys find their way to the centre of the room. I am constantly stepping over toy mice, teasers dragged throughout the apartment, and crinkle balls that crop up in the strangest of places. When I tidy I always find toys she dragged out from her toy bucket. I often come home to find her favourite teaser waiting for me by the door.
3. Sometimes You Have to Clean Their Butts
Opal is a long haired cat- she gets poop stuck to her butt. She’s pretty good about letting me take care of it with a damp paper-towel; the alternative is letting her sit on everything with poop clinging to her butt. If she is a real mess she just gets a bath.
She is also prone to constipation which can lead to unpleasant half-pooped situations. This means sometimes I have to “soften” things up for her with a damp paper towel and force feed her water to help move things along. It’s a very unpleasant job for both of us, but her pitiful cries of discomfort are harder to endure.
4. They Can Be Fussy Eaters
Like many children cats are notorious for being fussy eaters. Opal has no taste for human food, which is great because it means I can leave many items unattended without fear of her eating something she shouldn’t. She hasn’t been overly fussy with her dry or wet food. What she is really fussy about is her drinking water. She used to be a great drinker, but a year ago she decided that she no longer liked her water bowl. I tried cleaning it with different soaps and natural cleaners, got her an entirely different bowl (glass instead of plastic), and even got her a fountain. Nothing worked.
Instead, she preferred to drink from the faucet in the washroom and bathtub. After cleaning the washroom one day I left a Ziploc bowl/container in the shower full of clean water (I used it to rinse hard to reach places). That is now her water bowl. At first I was not a fan of her drinking in the bathtub, but it’s easier for me to change her water in the shower each morning.
5. They Put Stupid Shit Into Their Mouths
Much of my time is scouring the apartment for things Opal will chew on that she shouldn’t. Like many cats she likes to chew on wires and anything that dangles. She is also obsessed with eating plastic. Doesn’t matter what plastic, she will chew it and recently she has taken to trying to hide it from me. This explains why, even though I am diligent in ensuring there’s no plastic she can get, she will appear with a week old strip of packaging in her mouth. Many nights I am awakened by the crunching of plastic, followed by a ten minute game of “give that to me” as I flail for her under the bed or couch.
All that aside, she brings me a lot of joy, entertainment, and legitimizes the amount of time I spend talking to myself. Having a cat means never having to say you drink alone.
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