Okay, so it’s never a good idea to leave a child alone with any animal. Children can be pretty rough little characters, and critters can handle only so much Play-Doh in their fur before they act out. If you’re diligent about teaching your children to respect creatures and their space, you’re setting your child up for a successful and loving relationship with a pet they’ll remember for the rest of their life. That aside, I’ve come to realize letting my child spend too much time with the cat is having … interesting consequences, to say the least.
Toby and Willow Bean (Bean is not her name, but a cute additive started by one of her grandparents) have been glued to each other from day one. Toby was going on six months old when we brought our little one home, and I think he was amazed to have something smaller than himself in the house. Everywhere Willow went, there was Toby. Snuggling on the couch, playing on the floor, and even bath time (although he sincerely regretted the day he decided to hop in with her).
Toby quickly became a constant shadow. This seemed all well and good — until Willow Bean started making sounds. She didn’t coo. She didn’t laugh. She purred. Yep. The language of a cat. It should have been a lesson in parenting. We should have known something devious was going on. But we were much too distracted by the cuteness of the whole matter. Of course, I tried to capture such moments on video, but Toby continually foiled my attempts.
Taking advantage of our rose-colored glasses where our new little bundle was concerned, Toby continued his assimilation of his new charge. He was proud of his accomplishment in teaching the tiny human part of his language. It was time to advance Bean to the next stage in his plan. Before we knew it, Willow had added a mewing sound to her growing vocabulary. When she started grabbing faces, she would pull them toward her just so she could rub her own against them. It was super cute, but this is certainly typical cat behavior. Toby’s influence was clearly growing stronger.
Our tiny human is nearing the six month mark, but she has yet to master rolling over; however, she’s perfected the lazy cat stretch. You know the one, that full bodied, legs and arms extended, back arched, face-to-the-sky kind of stretch. What rolling/scooting motions she has mastered she utilizes to steal my warm spot in the bed when I roll over. While she is grasping objects, she finds they are much more fun to put in her mouth and shake. Ah, and I can’t forget to mention that baby toys oddly resemble cat toys — they hang from things, they rattle, and they crinkle.
Even under careful supervision, it seems that Toby has been able to teach Willow Bean his language. I’m not sure what the master plan is, but I’m sure it’ll be revealed soon … most likely involving much mischief!
What about you? Do you remember your first cat? Do you have a cat that tries to “influence” your baby? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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About Meghan Lodge: Fits the Aquarius definition to a fault, loves animals, and is always pushing for change. Loves ink, whether it’s in tattoos, books, or writing on that pretty sheet of blank paper. Proud parent of Toby (cat) and Axle (dog). I’m a former quiet nerd who’s turned bubbly animal-obsessed advocate.