My Kids Are Turning Into Cats

My daughter making side deals.
“Sorry ’bout your bird”

As mentioned in an earlier post, our cats like to babysit our children. Since John is gone at work most of the day, that leaves just me and four giant cats to raise the baby monkeys. I’m clearly outnumbered and think my kids are  starting to go native.

Case in point: Bridget loves apples (and I like to provide them,  because they keep her occupied for ages). Before eating them, however, she has a strange habit of bouncing She them a couple times.

It’s possible  she views apples as edible playthings (like a tasty baseball), but I’m convinced she just wants to make sure they are completely dead. Where else could she picked this behavior up, if not from the cats? John and I never bounce our sandwiches.

But that’s not all:

  1. They love being naked

Ever see all those cute photos of cats wearing sweaters and raincoats on Facebook? Yeah, me neither, because CATS WON’T PUT UP WITH THAT SHIT. Cutesy sweaters are for frou-frou little dogs that run in circles making little dog toenail noises. Try to force a sweater on a wriggling cat and you’re likely to end up with shredded forearms.

My kids feel the same way. It all started when they suffered from terrible diaper rashes as babies. We heard that the best way to handle it was to let them “air out” in the buff. You want to do this in the backyard because babies aren’t potty-trained, so our kids got to spend a lot of time outside in their birthday suits. Brontë absolutely loved it and in her childish innocence, couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t let her immediately strip her clothes off, anywhere she went.

Eventually, I convinced her that being naked was for the backyard only, and only when other people weren’t around. But whenever she and her sister go out back, they first thing they do is strip down to their skivvies and tear around in their own private Eden, as our forefathers did before the Great Apple Mishap.

“I will brainwash your kittens, BWAHAHAHAHA”

2.  They still won’t keep their shoes on

Though I’ve managed to roadblock public nudity, my kids couldn’t keep their shoes on if they were crossing a broken-glass lemon lake. Putting kids’ shoes on is a pain in the butt. You have to find matching socks and wearable shoes (toddler shoes fit for approximately three days before they grow out of them), then you have to keep your kids sitting still while you loosen all the tiny laces, work each shoe onto wriggling feet, lace it all back up and try to make a knot that’s secure enough to last without being so tight that it’s like trying to unravel a rice grain later.

After 20 minutes or so of the Getting Both Kids Into Shoes drama, we get them both out to the car (along with diaper bags, snacks, toys, extra clothes and whatever else they need), snap them into their respective car seats, and finally start the car…  within 30 seconds, we invariably hear their shoes hit the floorboard. Sigh.

We have tried flip-flops to expedite the process, but it only makes shedding them easier. Once we finally arrive at our destination, they will take their shoes off the moment they get more than 2 feet away from us.

Every park visit includes the Where Did You Put Your Shoes treasure hunt before we return home. It’s exhausting, but parents of young children quickly learn they must pick their battles if they are to retain any sanity at all.

I’m not certain of this, but I bet cats won’t wear shoes either. In fact, I doubt anyone has ever attempted such a thing.

“First, we recruit the kids. Next, we take on those damn chickens.”

3.  They are unusually fond of boxes and bags

Sometimes I wonder why we bother wasting time and money buying our kids fancy toys when nothing makes them happier than a cardboard box. Discard an empty box on the floor at our house? Our kids will be entertained for days.

They jump in the box. They sit in the box. They stand in the box. They try to push each other out of the box. Our cats watch them the entire time, nodding, as though they completely understand how having a box at your disposal is one of life’s great pleasures.

Once, I even saw Brontë struggling to cram herself into a shoebox. It was possibly the most feline behavior I’ve ever witnessed.

Same goes for empty bags. Whenever we return  from grocery shopping, my husband and I toss empty Trader Joe’s and Safeway bags on the floor as we put away groceries. Brontë and Bridget  grab handfuls of bags and run off into the next room, giggling. They will slap the bags together, try to crawl into them, stick them on their heads, and otherwise play with them the same way I imagine cats would, if cats had thumbs.

Sometimes we overhear hysterical laughter and check on them, only to find that all the paper rustling has attracted the cats, who are jumping into the bags. If their laughter is anything to go by, this is clearly the funniest thing my kids have ever seen.

4. …And of cat toys in general

One time, we were at Petco when I told Brontë she could pick out a toy for the cats. She deliberated long and hard, wandering from aisle to aisle, then finally came back to the shopping cart with a pink feather-tailed toy bird. “Cat toy!” she announced, while dropping it into the cart.

On the way home, she wanted to hold the cat toy. She batted it around, felt the soft feathers, and made “peeping” noises. When we finally arrived home, I told her to give the toy to the cats and she shouted, “NO! This is MY bird!” before running away, clutching the toy bird to her chest.

That’s exactly the sort of thing I’d imagine a cat would say, if a cat could talk. She still keeps that bird in her toy box.

5. They eat spiders.

Well, this one is not a habit so much as an unfortunate incident. About a year ago, I was showering with Brontë when I saw a big, nasty spider crawling outside the shower door. Planning to grab it momentarily, I shut my eyes to rinse shampoo out of my hair, only to open them and discover that Brontë had slipped outside (silent as a kitty).

I scrambled out to get her, just in time to watch spider legs vanishing into my baby’s mouth. AAAAAAAAAAAAH! I opened her tiny jaws, but it was already gone.

All I can figure is that she had seen the kitties eating spiders and wondered what all the fuss was about . So the next time a spider walked by, she popped it into her mouth, then sat there, confused, as her mother freaked out and frantically tried to find pictures of common poisonous spiders on the internet.

Luckily, she was fine and hasn’t done it again. But I totally blame the cats for this.

Recently, Bridget has picked up yet another cat behavior… she asks to go outside, so I open the sliding glass door. She steps onto the door track, staring outside, and then… just stands there.  “Do you want to go outside or stay inside? In or out? You can’t just stand there. In or out?” I ask her. But she just stands there, blinking at me.

This is the same conversation I routinely have with my cats. And they have the same expression on their faces as Bridget does as I beg her to make up her mind. Eventually, Wylie (who is not supposed to go outside) jumps over her head and bolts into the backyard.

IMG_0848
“Pssst, kid! Over here. I got a deal you might be interested in…”

I think they’re in cahoots.

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