Sunday, January 26, 2014

Day 174 of 365: Why Cats Might Be Better Than Children

I had always imagined that 28 would be a sensible age to start trying for children. When I was a kid, 28 was so old that of course that's when you would have kids. As an adult, I see 28 a little more pragmatically: if it takes a few years, then, at worst, you start your family in your early 30s, which no one blinks an eye at. If it happens right away, then, at worst, you start your family as you toe into 29, which, again, no one blinks an eye at. But, the more I close in on 28, the more unsure I get about motherhood.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love children, but, like every other sound mind on the planet, I am petrified that I am completely and woefully not ready to children of my own. I have an extreme confirmation bias when it comes to every potential setback -- emotionally, financially, setting-plans-ally. "I can't get the dishes washed in a timely manner! Obviously this is a sign that I would be a terrible mother." "That sudden expense set us back financially! Obviously we cannot afford to have children."

Today, I was interacting with my cats, and part of me went, "Who needs children when you have cats?" And while that mindset has a solid place in Crazy Cat Person Land, it did make me think of all the ways cats are better than children. Which leads me too...

Why Having Cats is Better Than Having Children

Reason #1: Dealing with their (literal) shit is a lot easier.
As much as I don't like cleaning out the litter box, it sure as hell beats changing diapers. Grab an old plastic grocery bag, scoop some poop into it, and toss said bag into the garbage. VĂ­ola. And I'm only doing that once every other day or so. Compare that to every 3 hours (and compare a scoop to a blowout) and this is really a no-brainer.

Reason #2: Dealing with their (metaphorical) shit is a lot easier.
Having a cat who tries to steal human food, or meows in the middle of the night, or tries to dash out when you open the door, is nothing compared to what every single child goes through in the various stages of their life. Terrible twos, horrible threes ... obnoxious "tween"hood, adolescence, teen angst, teen rebellion, young adult "I'm an adult and can do what I want -- but can you give me money?" Again, a no-brainer.

Reason #3: Going on vacation alone is a lot less of a hassle.
Sure, I can leave a huge bowl of food for my toddler (and ask a friend to check in on them once a week to make sure they're not dead). I'll get a lovely call from the DCS, but I could totally do it.

Reason #4: I don't have to worry about their role in society.
Being a shitty mom not only affects my children; it affects the society around them. Think of all the people you know -- the messed-up, closed-off, emotionally-unavailable, mentally-unhinged people -- and think about how many of them came from crappy backgrounds. Even the more adjusted people I know can turn to their parents' way of raising them and go, "This right here is why I do X, Y, and Z, instead of the healthier A, B, and C."

And we all are going to do it. We will all fuck up our kids in a way that makes them resent us on some level, or swear up and down that they will never do that to their own kids. Meanwhile, I can call my tubby tabby a fat-ass and know that he won't grow up with an eating disorder. I can be too wrapped up in what I'm doing to give an affectionate cat the scratchies he needs and know he won't grow up a commitmentphobe.

Reason #5: It's a lot easier to accept when a cat is using you for something.
My cats love me about an hour before their usual dinnertime. And they love me when I come home and it's clear that I bought catnip. My black cat loves me when the weather is nice and he wants to go on a walk (which is something we can discuss much later). I recognize that they are simply using me to get what they want, and I am perfectly fine with it. They're cats. They're little shits like that.

However, it's heartbreaking when you realize that your own children are acting a certain way around you because they want a toy, or money, or permission to go on a trip with their friends. Hey, I birthed you! Dealt with your shit -- literal and metaphorical! I sacrificed vacations alone and fretted over how my every move with affect you! And you're going to pretend you love me so you can get a Hot Wheel? I know I should've gone to the ASCPA instead.

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