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5 Lessons I Wish My Cats Would Have Taught My Young Children

I've done the parenting thing pretty well, but I wish I'd had a feline Mary Poppins for these things.

 |  Apr 10th 2014  |   5 Contributions


I'm bringing up kids as well as cats and, as you can guess, it's been much easier to raise the latter. Some things just come naturally to our kitty friends. Let's face it, they catch on to new routines and tasks much faster than small humans do. 

Sometimes I wish there had been a little feline Mary Poppins, who'd floated down with a tiny umbrella and taught my kids a few life lessons. I don't need dancing penguins or anything -- just maybe help with these five things:

1. How to nap

My daughter takes a cue from Grandma's cat.

My kids were OK nappers, but they didn't always want to go down when I wanted them to go down. And you know what? I needed a nap -- or at least some down time. You don't have to ask a cat to nap. If you did decide to ask your cat to nap, you'd notice immediately he'd already gotten a head start. Cats would be great nap coaches for little ones.

2. How to eat (enough)

Sometimes my young daughter and son would rather play than eat.

Kids are so excitable. They are out to have a good time 24/7, and sometimes don't want to stop for anything, including eating. Sometimes my kids would have rather played with their food than eat it. Of course, now that my son is a nearly six-foot teenager, nobody has to ask him to eat. He wouldn't hear anyway -- he'd be too busy putting away his third bowl of cereal. Most of my cats have never had any trouble eating, and they don't mind reminding me how much they love their food ... even at 5 a.m. I sure wouldn't have wanted my kids circling me that early in the morning (although they were early birds), but they could have taken a lesson from my cats in the way of focusing on their food.

3. How to entertain themselves

Entertainment!

I was and am an attentive mother, but kids need to learn how to entertain themselves. Yes, I will read you a story, but please play with this talking pig while I make dinner. My cats have always been great about entertaining themselves and each other. And they never even had a talking pig. 

4. How to bathe themselves 

Phoebe does a spectacular job bathing herself.

OK, this one is strictly selfish. I wish small children could bathe themselves ... of course without the chance of drowning. That sounds morbid, I know; however, little kids take forever in the bathtub. Sometimes they had quick baths, simply to scrub off the top layer of dirt and spaghetti sauce, but decent parents allow their kids to play in the tub. I was one of those decent parents. We even had a laundry basket full of toys. I honestly didn't mind sitting in the bathroom and watching them float boats and write on the wall with washable crayons -- I just didn't want to do it most every night. Cats are self-sufficient when it comes to cleaning. And there's no fear of drowning ... except maybe Cosmo; he's one hell of a drooler.

5. How to use the potty

Phoebe: "I'm way less messy than that!"

Ah, potty training. With most kids, this is a time-consuming process, and it's sometimes messy. You have to have saintly patience to do it correctly, and I think we did a pretty good job. It takes some demonstrating, cajoling, reward giving (read: bribery), butt wiping and -- in the case of little boys -- seat cleaning. Cats? You show them the box and they're good to go. Maybe they know a potty-training secret we don't know. If so, I wish they'd share it.

Are there lessons you wish your cat would have taught your children? Tell us about it in the comments!

Read More by Angie Bailey:

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About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (originated right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in a comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food. 

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