I remember an old joke in my family where my mother said, “I’m just the mother!” I remember her saying this in some situation, with a hint of irony or (possibly) martyrdom in her voice. I don’t remember the context of the situation, but the statement stuck with me. Recently, I heard the exact same statement uttered in a movie. The person uttering it sounded exasperated.
What would you do if someone told you that you were “just” a cat mom? “Just” doesn’t even belong in the sentence, in my opinion. Cat mom (and cat dad!) is a huge, multifaceted, and honored role!
“Cat mom” actually encompasses many responsibilities and skills. Here’s what I’ve learned after years of being a cat mom.
With six cats, I HAVE to be super organized. Honing this skill has spilled over into other areas of my life, which is a bonus. Feeding, medicating, and caring for six very unique beings is a task. I take joy in it.
It’s long been popular for moms to say that they have eyes in the back of their head. Though I never had human kids, I understand this expression now. There’s a certain knowing that comes with recognizing the pregnant silence right before a cat gets into trouble, or innocently smacks a breakable off the counter. There’s the honed awareness I have of how my cats are acting and moving. I sometimes (I’d like to hope always) know when something is off with the cat, and I will investigate further. This is a sense that a parent has — whether your children are fur children or otherwise.
No, I am not trying to make myself sound like a saint. But sometimes I catch myself doing things that surprise me. I have one cat who loves to eat small meals all day. Yes, this can be inconvenient for me, but I am usually very cued into this cat. If he wanders by me a certain way, or stands and deliberately looks at me, well … it’s feeding time! Again. Off I go.
Keeping track of six cats keeps me moving! Movement is the fountain of youth. This is a good thing. Plus, the more I move, the more healthy I can be to be here for those fur kids when they need me.
Is there such a thing as a lay doctor? I’ve often felt like one, when I’ve traversed some interesting medical journeys with my cats. I am sure many of you readers will relate. How many of you remember the first time you gave sub-Q fluids? I almost fainted the first time I did it, even after excellent instruction. I’ve gone down medical paths — and caregiving paths — with my cats that still surprise me. I didn’t think I had it in me. But our human/cat bond has a way of propelling use to new levels, and bringing out the best. If we have to give care, or doctor at home, we do it.
I’ve done a bit of this, and I remember being surprised when I realized for the first time that this was akin to hospice work. Sometimes, I’ve wondered if I would be any good at it in the human arena. I have been through it with at least one human family member, and many cats. It’s an experience that stretches you, for sure, as anyone who’s done this would probably agree.
No, of course not in the yucky sense. But I have always firmly believed that our cats do an amazing job of teaching us about love and many other things. If that’s not a mom or a dad — what is?
Now, there! Don’t let anyone tell you you’re just a mom or dad. And don’t ever tell yourself you’re just a cat mom, or just anything!
Do you agree? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr, the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.