11 Times When Babies And Pets Are Exactly The Same

Ad failed to load

Sometimes, friends of mine who are dog owners but who don't have kids will notice something about their pets' behavior, or the level of involvement and investment they require, that reminds them of the responsibilities of parenthood. Because they're good people, they'll always go to great lengths to assure everyone else that they do not believe owning a pet is the same thing as raising a child, because of course it's not. Still, while parents definitely feel more strongly for their children than their pets, and while the complexity of human society makes parenthood difficult in ways pet ownership could never be, I must admit that there are times when babies and pets are exactly the same.

I used to joke to myself that my incredibly social, occasionally needy cat felt more like a human toddler at times; a thought I didn't dare speak aloud before having kids of my own. If I were working at home, she'd do everything she could to get my attention, including making mischief all around me. She'd whine at me until I played with her. Now that I do have a toddler who does basically the same thing, I'm willing to admit that I was not that far off about her. I also find myself giving the same exasperated instructions to my cat and son at least twice a week. (They know they're not supposed to get on the counter. It's all just dishes waiting to be washed up here anyway. If they're going to get up here, they could at least help wash and dry, you know?)

So yes, while there is no direct comparison of our actual feelings for our babies versus our feelings for our pets, they're all treasured members of our families. They also definitely have some things in common, like:

Ad failed to load

When They Pee On The Floor


If you have a baby, a cat, a dog, or some combination thereof, you will end up cleaning pee off your floor at some point (read: all the time). It’s going to happen, but if you’re fortunate/especially good at house-breaking, it won’t happen that often. Probably. Maybe. Just, good luck.

When They Eat Off Of The Floor


Babies and pets have a sixth sense for finding food that has been dropped by bigger animals. They're also equally willing to eat said food, no matter how old it is. A wish for all my fellow parents of humans and pets: May none of your “eat off the floor” days coincide with “pee on the floor” days. These incidents almost never happen in the same place, but it’s still an uncomfortable correspondence, even if the food and pee zones never actually touch.

When You Go To Great Lengths To Stop Them From Scratching Or Hurting Themselves


Whether it's giant cones around their necks, or tiny mittens on their little hands, pets and babies sometimes need to be protected from the consequences of their fearsome teeth and claws. (Also? Someone needs to answer for why human baby nails so ridiculously sharp. I understand why the cat’s are, but my infant never had to hunt his own dinner in an alley. What gives, evolution?)

Ad failed to load

When They Climb On Things Where They Don’t Belong


They also totally know they’re not supposed to be up there. My cat immediately gets that deer in headlights face when you make eye contact with her while she’s on the dining room table, even if she knew you were right there when she jumped up there. Meanwhile, my son, who’s been climbing stairs and anything else in reach since he was seven months old, will actually climb up onto the same table to tell the cat to get down. (Like, really? Adorable little hypocrite.)

When Friends And Neighbors Are Way More Interested In Them Than They Are In You


I am notoriously awful about bending down to play and gush over every dog I see on a walk, and spending comparatively little time or attention on their human. My cosmic payback is having a really cute kid whom everybody tries to chat and play with, while completely forgetting that I exist. I guarantee more of my neighbors know my son’s name than mine. And my friends pretty much only invite me places so they can play with him. I'd probably write more rants about that if I didn't totally see their point.  

When You Have No Idea What They’re Saying


Babies and pets make a lot of mouth noises that don’t necessarily correspond to any language we speak or understand. Fortunately, they’re usually pretty good at getting their points across in other ways, whether it’s scratching on the door, picking up their leash and whimpering towards the door, or wailing while trying to pull your boob out of your shirt.

Ad failed to load

When They Have Tiny, Adorable Belongings


Not only are all of their things cute and little, but they treat their things interchangeably, making the whole enterprise extra cute. Baby stuff is almost perfectly cat-sized, so I wasn’t terribly surprised or upset when my cat swore all of the baby stuff belonged to her when we first started setting up my son’s nursery. She still tries out all of his toys before he does, and sleeps in his stroller at every opportunity. For his part, he loved (and still loves) all of her tiny toys, especially the ones with bells, and all the little DIY cat beds my partner and stepdaughter make for her. Because perfectly baby-sized.

When They Put Everything In Their Mouths


Like, everything. If you pick up anything from the floor to waist height in a house with a baby, a dog, or a cat, just know that it is covered in slobber. Dogs and cats do this because that’s the best way for them to carry things, so they get a pass. Babies, on the other hand, have hands and opposable thumbs, so they mostly put things in their mouths just to make their parents nervous. (Yeah, OK, and because it’s a way for them to get to know new things and train their immune system and blah blah blah. It’s still gross.)

When They Lick You


I can’t decide whether older babies lick you because they share the dog’s limited understanding of a kiss, the cat’s affinity for grooming their loved ones, or both. Either way, when pets or babies lick you, take it as a wet, slimy expression of love. Aww.

Ad failed to load

When They’re So Cute And Funny And Sweet You Can’t Even Handle It


Way back when, my students had a pet dwarf hamster that eventually became my pet. He was the funniest, cutest little creature, and when he eventually decided he liked me as much as I liked him (trusting me enough to eat from my hand and give me little nuzzles with his impossibly teeny nose) I’d get so overwhelmed by cuteness that I’d become temporarily unable to speak.

That happened to me more or less all the time once I had a baby of my own, especially once he became able to express affection. Like when he hugged me around the neck and said "Mama!" for the first time? I'm basically writing this from the grave because I died of cute that day. Died, people.

When They Steal Everybody’s Hearts


Basically, being cute and sweet is their job. It’s literally their only contribution to the world and they are doing it to the max. In exchange, we give them free food, free housing, and we'll move cars off of them and run into burning buildings for them and pretty much anything else they want or need just because we love them so damn much. It’s nice work if you can get it.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Umm, Toys "R" Us Has A BOGO 50 Percent Off Deal So You Better Stock Up

After the holidays, you were probably hoping that your kid's massive toy collection would keep him entertained for a little while, at least. But that was wishful thinking, wasn't it? Because now that a couple of months have passed, all those must-hav…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

A Hot Mess Mom's Guide To Surviving Winter

As I sit here at my home office in Connecticut, it's cold. Damn cold. Winter is a rough season in New England and it's even worse when you're a parent and have to manage cooped up, restless children. It's even worse when you're a hot mess as it is, u…
By Jamie Kenney

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

8 Reasons I Let My Toddler Play Outside Unsupervised

I'm not a helicopter mom, but I'm not exactly a free-range parent either. I like to think of myself as safely ensconced somewhere in the middle. I insist on certain safety measures, like car seats and helmets. I prefer to keep my 2-year-old in my sig…
By Kimmie Fink

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack