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Goku innocent

Having had both – a baby and a kitten – I’ve determined that, instead of getting a kitten, I should have had another baby.

Ah, but hear me about before you decide that I’m totally cracked!

I thought back on the babyhoods of my son, Tom, and my orange cat, Goku, and I noticed something – when they were little, they both:

  • Were cute, cuddly, and utterly irresistible
  • Needed to be loved and nurtured
  • Had cries that would put any horror soundtrack to shame
  • Puked everywhere
  • Needed their poop cleaned up
  • Barged in on me in the bathroom
  • Interrupted me at the absolute worst times
  • Woke me countless times in the night, and far too early in the morning.

Basically, I realized that raising a baby and raising a kitten have a great deal in common.

Even so, most people would recommend getting a kitten over having a baby.

Their arguments would look something like this:

A child is a huge responsibility

  • True. Very true. In hindsight, that would have been sage advice. But I wouldn’t have heeded it. I was too young.

A child is very expensive.

  • Again, true. Technically. But I’ve gotten a great return on my investment for the money spent on my son. And the long term dividends are sure to pay off in grandbabies!
  • Yet, while Goku has been a lesser drain on my bank account, his nighttime screeching and early morning wakeup calls have taken their toll on my nerves and my sanity. In a philosophical sense, he’s cost me more than Tom ever did.

A child ties you down.

  • True, I could never leave Tom alone at home for days on end while I took off on a sunny vacation.
  • However, although I was able to leave Goku alone for several days in a row, there was always a super, secret, torturous price to pay upon my return. One that invariably ruined whatever pleasant memories I might have had of said vacation.

In my opinion, the arguments for choosing a kitten over having a baby aren’t so very compelling

I would even go so far as to say that having a baby makes far more sense than getting a kitten. Let me tell you why:

  • Babies grow up to be adult humans.
  • Kittens grow up to be cats.
  • If you have a cat, I rest my case.

Otherwise, read on:

Poop:

  • I stopped having to deal with Tom’s over two decades ago. And even when he was in diapers, never did I smell anything like the foul, noxious reek that comes from Goku’s cat box.
  • I’ve been cleaning Goku’s every day, for fourteen years. There’s no end in sight, and the smell only gets worse.

Puke:

  • I’ve only cleaned up Tom’s once in the last sixteen years. And he thanked me profusely for doing it.
  • Goku pukes more every year. And I cannot help but notice the evil glint in his eye as he watches me clean it up, with nary a thanks.

Bathroom privacy:

  • Tom hasn’t barged in on me since I learned to lock the door – when he was a toddler.
  • Goku, however, is far too brilliant to be deterred by something as mundane as a locked door. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to try to pee with a cat pawing at the door and emitting a high-pitched, grating yowl? Let me tell you, very.

To be fair, cats do have some advantages.

One of them being that cats, unlike babies, can be cuddled forever.

Case in point – my son no longer curls up in my lap. However, he’s twenty-two, so this might be a good thing.

Yet, despite the fact that I have a cat, I’ve found that I don’t get to cuddle and snuggle, as I thought I would. Sure, Goku is more than happy to curl up on my chest, but only if I’m trying to watch TV. Or sleep. And not without pawing at my face. At any other time, like, say, for example, if I decide I’d like to pet him, he refuses to have any of it.

Another advantage to choosing a kitten over a baby is that if I’d had another baby (instead of getting a kitten) I wouldn’t be living the carefree, empty nest life right now. Yeah, about that. Let me tell you all about the joys of my empty nest life:

  • I spend my days trying to sneak into the bathroom to pee in privacy, holding my breath while I sift through cat litter, and washing puke off my carpet.
  • I spend my nights struggling to fall asleep beneath the weight of a purring cat on my chest, and wondering whether, if I do fall asleep, a sudden, heart stopping caterwauling will wake me before, or after, 0600.

My son has flown the coop, but although I may look like an empty nester, I have a cat. My empty nest life is nowhere in sight.

But do you want to know what the very worst part about having a cat is?

Despite everything, I love that wretched turd.

Yet, he’s getting older, and sometime in the next few years, he’s going to leave me for good.

When he does, I’m going to cry myself senseless. Then I’m going to cry some more.

And then, one night, when I’m lying in bed, unable to sleep because it’s too quiet and I’m worried that nobody will wake me up too early in the morning, I’ll find myself thinking about how much I miss that caterwauling little punk. I’ll think that kittens really are so very cute…

But I’m not going to cave in. I’m not going to get another kitten.

Because there was something I didn’t think about, fourteen years ago, when I picked out my feisty orange kitten.

Although kittens and babies are very much alike, they are also very different.

For, if we are lucky, our babies will grow up and outlive us.

Yet, for most of us, the same is not true for our pets.

I already have too many urns on my mantelpiece. My heart cannot bear the agony of even the thought of one day putting my precious Goku up there as well.

God how I love that orange cat.

I can’t help but think, I should have had another baby instead.

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