we ever had, bar a rather shortlived goldfish, were cats. We were a household that played host to a series of deeply idiosyncratic, capricious feline boarders. It may be for this reason that I often find myself comparing my offspring to these pets.
Cats are the only other creatures I’ve shared a home with that approach the same level of confusion-making inconsistency mixed with pure narcissism that babies are so gifted at. At least that’s what I tell myself when I occasionally slip and refer to my son’s hands as “paws”.
But I’ve given it a little more thought and there are actually quite a few things babies and cats have in common. So much so that if they ever bridged the interspecies communication barrier their resultant plotting to overthrow us would lead to our downfall. It would be as quick as it would be adorable.
Things cats and babies have in common
1. Fit nicely in your lap like a living hotwater bottle
2. Are especially keen on whomever feeds them most
3. Will fixedly stare at things that only they can see
4. Profound love of cardboard boxes
5. Make godawful howls in the middle of the night
6. Will eat catfood if left in a bowl on the floor (cats slightly more fussy about brand than babies)
7. Make the most horrific pre-vomit gagging noises
8. Will happily wander into the bathroom and shamelessly watch you do your thing on the toilet
9. Have sharp little talons that can draw blood
10. They will sleep when THEY want to, thank you very much
11. Often look as if they know a lot more than they’re letting on
12. Poor manual dexterity and inability to walk upright, sometimes able to stand
13. Will shed hair all over your couch and clothing (for babies this only happens during a brief period but it is very catlike all the same)
14. Without them Facebook would be practically empty
Regarding the last, cats may have the upper paw as Chrome extension Unbaby.Me was created specifically to replace baby photos on Facebook with photos of cats (though it can sub in anything, like Benedict Cumberbatch, for instance). And once again cats reign supreme on the Internet.
Obviously there ARE differences. I mean, you rarely hear of a baby happily jaunting about the neighbourhood grooming multiple feeding people thereby enjoying 3 lunches a day. And it’s unusual for cats to be strapped to their person’s chest and carried around a shopping mall. But wouldn’t it be a slightly more awesome world if those things werepossible?
So obviously my view of this is somewhat clouded by experiences with cats. But maybe babies are actually more like dogs? Or guinea pigs (I have sometimes wished I could just mount a baby bottle to the corner of The Master’s playpen like the ones they have in guinea pig cages and he could just sip away to his heart’s content but that’s probably bad parenting or something).
HANGING OUT SINCE 1924: A kitten and a baby chillax in a suitcase 90 years ago. Vintage. Photo: Getty.
Are babies really like cats? If so, if they team up just how much trouble are we in?