For several months after my then-infant son first learned the word "cat," it was the first word he used every morning after waking up. Over and over, he would say, "Cat? Cat? Cat?!" until we found our kitty so he could play with her. It was among the first of many signs my baby is going to be a cat person, which doesn't come as much of a surprise. I'm a cat person, the best cat ever is part of our family, and she's been his best friend pretty much since birth.
Like me, my son certainly loves dogs too. But cats — and ours in particular — are definitely his main thing, pet-wise. There are lots of stereotypes out there about cat people, which may or may not have some grain of truth to them. There's also some research out there which finds that cat people tend to be more intellectually curious, politically progressive, and open-minded, which is all fine by me. By all accounts, my kid is already all of those things, too. He even raises a little solidarity fist if you tell him, “Power to the People!” (Though come to think of it, making a fist does make his hand look more like a paw…)
If your little one has started nuzzling you with their head, or meowing in conversation, you might momentarily be a little concerned that they’re identifying a little too closely with the family cat. I wouldn't worry if I were you. Just the other day, I watched my little cat person cuddle up with his favorite board book, a blanket over his lap, and our purring kitty next to him. All he needed was a cup of tea to complete the look. There are definitely worse things he could be doing, or looking forward to in the future. If any of the following are true about your baby, you might want to keep your phone handy so you don't miss that photo op like I did. I’m still kicking myself.
They Like To Play With Kitties
No matter what my son is doing, he'll stop and switch gears if he sees the opportunity to play with a cat. Walking to the playground after begging to go? Nah, he'll take off running mere steps from the gate if he spots a stray cat or a house cat in someone's window across the street (which is basically how I meet my daily FitBit goals now). If cats are your baby's top priority, they're likely training to be a cat person. I foresee lots of #Caturday posts in both of your futures.
They Like To Play Like Kitties
If your baby sees loads of possibility in a paper bag, or a toilet paper roll (OMG, the shredded toilet paper piles. Why? Why?), that's a huge sign they're going to be a cat person when they grow up. Or that's just a thing that all small mammals are into, and nobody knows why.
Either way, keep a close watch on your TP if you actually want to have any left to wipe your behind. We have all of ours up on high shelves, which doesn't always stop the cat, but at least stops the toddler.
They Enjoy Boxes
If your baby sees your #BoxedCats and thinks, "If we fits, we sits," they're well on their way to becoming a cat person. (Also, welcome to the "I'm spending as little as possible on toys 'cause my kid just likes boxes anyway" club! We meet weekly by the exit at Costco.)
They Enjoy Yarn
If you're a knitter mom who has to hide your good yarn from your cat and your baby or toddler, you may end up springing for a gift subscription to Catster at some point in the future.
They Consider All Animals Cats Until Proven Otherwise
Overgeneralization is a thing most children do as they learn language, so it didn't surprise me when my son called lions "cats" at the zoo, or even when he labeled all non-human animals cats for several months. Most kids will do that with whatever animal name they learn first. What was special was the way he started meowing, quite sincerely, at passing squirrels and birds when we'd walk around our neighborhood, convinced that this was an effective way to spark conversation with them.
They Meow More Proficiently Than They Speak
At seven months, my son started saying "Mama!" on a regular basis. He didn't have many other words for a while after that, aside from "Cat!" (and, eventually, "Dada!"). But one morning, while making breakfast, he and our cat were playing on the kitchen floor when all of a sudden I heard two cats instead of one. I looked down and saw them crawling around together, meowing back and forth. So if your baby is like mine, and meows convincingly well before their first birthday, they're probably destined to be a cat person.
They Have A Bit Of A Loner Streak…
The streak is more pronounced in some cats and babies than others. For instance, both my cat and my son are pretty social and friendly — to a point. But if there are too many people around, or they're tired or hungry, they will definitely retreat to be by themselves (or if possible, snuggled all over me). If your baby is the one who nopes out of the big circle during Mommy & Me, they might be a burgeoning cat person.
...And A Wicked Side-Eye
Cats are notorious for having a bit of an attitude, and cat babies are no different. They may not show it all the time, but when it does appear, it feels way more sophisticated than a regular baby attitude. That's to be expected. They've learned from the best, after all.
Because to a cat person (or a cat), few things are better than snuggling and being lazy AF amidst a warm pile of blankets.
...But Not With Just Anybody
Cats and the babies who will probably grow up to collect them definitely have a little bit of that "you can't sit with us!" vibe, at times. It's not that they're totally unfriendly, it's just that they're choosy. Not just any lap will do, whether it's for napping (cats) or stories (babies). That's why you can and should feel totally honored if you earn their trust and friendship. Unlike dogs, they really make you earn it.