Cats and monkeys; monkeys and cats; all human life is there. ~ Henry James
Once upon a time, much longer ago than I care to remember, I adopted a kitten. He was a tiny ball of orange fluff, and I loved him desperately. I had just graduated college, and was going through a lot of really bad stuff, and this kitten and I needed each other. He was my first baby.
Later, after I married Loving Husband and convinced him that we didn’t need a dog, we adopted another cat. Though my relationship with that cat (he’s a Maine Coon, so we’ll call him MC) is not the same as the one with my Orange Boy, I love him very much and was quite happy for years with only fur babies.
But then I decided that I wanted a People Baby. So we headed to the shelter, where we were told how to go about obtaining one, since they didn’t deal in foundling humans. Who knew?
Thus armed with knowledge, we manufactured for ourselves a baby. A human one. And we named him Sausage.*
It wasn’t long, though, before I noticed that all of my babies, furred and not-so-furry, shared certain traits, behaviors, and tendencies. Since it cannot be genetic (the cats were adopted, but don’t tell them that — they’re not ready), I have decided that it must be due to our unique parenting style. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.
1. Sausage and the cats love to drop things and watch them fall. I’m convinced that this is some sort of scientific experiment, checking to make sure that gravity is still working properly. Presumably, they will be able to warn us of any fluctuations in the Earth’s gravitational field.
2. All three of them love to eat things off of the floor. I suspect that this is behavior that Loving Husband models when I am not looking.
3. They all walk on all fours. No matter how hard I’ve tried to teach my cats to walk properly, and even to dance, they cannot seem to learn it. I’m hoping that Sausage proves to have more aptitude in this area than his furry brothers.
4. They express love through biting. Sadly, this is a behavior that they have probably picked up from me. I really need to control my urges.
5. None of them realize that they can cause you pain. I’m not sure where this lack of empathy comes from, or why none of them respond to “Ouch! Claws! Hey! That hurts!” This may have less to do with my parenting and more to do with some sort of conspiracy on their parts.
6. They do not speak clearly. From Sausage, I can accept this, since he’s still new. But The Orange Boy is ten years old. There’s no excuse. Maybe I need to have him seen by a specialist.
7. Both Sausage and MC think soap bubbles are the most amazing things that have ever happened. The Orange Boy, being smarter than either of them, is unimpressed. Really, Sausage has more in common with MC than with The Orange Boy; including …
8. Neither Sausage nor MC are capable of getting past the baby gate. The Orange Boy leaps right over it, but they will sit and watch in wonderment, as if by doing so he had actually sprouted wings. I suspect that The Orange Boy’s over-achieving personality is a result of being the first-born.
9. They all love to play in boxes, but this is probably because that’s all I give them to play with.
10. Finally, all three of them meow. I became fluent in Cat back when The Orange Boy was an only kitty, and thus I do tend to speak it in the home. Sausage’s first word was Mama, followed closely by a sound best written as “Awr?” This is a term frequently chanted by his furry brothers, complete with their upward-inflected question mark. I’m hoping that his next word is in English, because I’m not sure that there are any preschools in Baltimore where they speak Cat. Maybe in New York?
Given all the things that my babies have in common, I’m fairly confident that Sausage will turn out alright. After all, his brothers are fairly well-adjusted, sociable kitties, universally loved by those who know them. All we need to do is figure out how to get him to stop coughing up hairballs.
* Not really. He does actually have a regular name that is not also a meat product. Sheesh, you guys are so literal.