I have always had a pet. When I was a baby, we had a hunting dog named Sam, and after that we had a whole menagerie including a rat, a turtle, fish, and tons of cats; all of whom were beloved and named either Sam or George. (What our parents lacked in naming creativity, they made up for in always filling our home with furry, scaly, and lovable friends). I have tried to do the same for my kids, but there have definitely been times when my family pet and my toddler conspired against me.
Having a pet can be wonderful, regardless of whether or not you make the life choice to procreate. However, having a pet when you have kids not only facilitates heartbreakingly adorable pictures, but can teach them about nature, life, responsibility, empathy, and most definitely ways you can conspire against your parents. Don't like your dinner? Feed it to the cat. Can't sleep at night? Blame the cat. Need snuggles? Pet the cat.Want to see mom squirm? Ask her to explain the reproductive cycles of fish, cats, or turtles and then ask her to explain exactly how the daddy cat sperm meets up with the egg in the mommy cat's tummy. "Is that how baby people are made, too?"
We were not ready to have that conversation, yet. Thanks a lot.
I love our kids and our pets, and while I can't imagine not having both I can do without all the times it seems like they are are actively conspiring against me (especially the youngest ones). They're trouble alone, and more trouble together.
The cat and our youngest child seem to have an arrangement. Youngest child doesn't finish his food, and then the cat jumps on the table to enjoy it as soon as I leave the room. "Get off the freaking table." Yuck.
Every night is exactly the same. Somehow the cat hides in our sons' room and wakes him up about 30 minutes after bedtime. Generally, it happens when mom and dad are trying to have sexy time or catch up on Netflix. Come on!
When They Keep Me Up All Night
Then there's the matter of children who won't stay in their own beds waking us, alternating perfectly with cat fights and howling at the door. It literally feels like they've made a deal to ensure that mommy and daddy don't get any uninterrupted sleep.
When We Got Another Cat
Get another cat, they said. It will be awesome, they said. Look at how cute she is, mommy. Can we have her? Please. She is cute, but also pure evil.
When My Toddler Thought The Cat Was Pregnant
Of course, I must include the time I had to explain, to my daughter's horror, that our cats couldn't have babies.
"Why would we ever do such a thing?" she sweetly asked.
"Because, there are more cats in the world than families to love them."
Great. Now I just made my toddler cry for all of the baby kitties without homes.
When They Make Me Fall Asleep In The Middle Of The Day
There is no stronger sedative in the universe than a child sleeping on you, except maybe a child and a kitten sleeping on you. I don't care how much work you have to do, you're gonna fall asleep.
When The Cat Scratched My Kid
I know we believe in natural consequences in our house, but did you really have to harass the cat until she scratched you? Leave her alone. And you, cat. Do you see what you did to my baby? Stop fighting. Damn kids.
When Our Kitten Caught A Mouse
I totally didn't want to have to teach my kids about the circle of life in an up-close and personal kind of way. Thanks, Molly the kitten, for teaching my kids that mice aren't our friends.
Youngest child, it was awesome getting woken up early when you found the dead mouse.
When They Try To Trip Me On The Stairs
Between the cats lurking on the step and the discarded shoes, roller skates and Legos, our house is like a damn obstacle course. For the love of all things safe, can you please stop trying to kill mommy?
When Our Fish Died
When Finsley the Plecostomus died, my husband and I thought we'd be smart and replace him with a new fish way before anyone noticed.
Spoiler alert: the kids noticed. Then, Finsley 2.0, a slightly smaller and more spotted Plecostomus died, too. After that, we tried to encourage them to pick out a different kind of fish. Mommy can't handle breaking any more bad news or driving to the pet store in the early hours of the morning to replace another dead fish.