It was 11 a.m. on a beautiful Saturday morning. Humming a little ditty about Jack and Diane, I opened the blinds in my teenage son’s room. As the sunlight streamed in, I changed both my volume and my tune, belting out Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi in hopes of waking my sleeping son.
Neither the sunlight nor my singing roused him. He slumbered deeply, his head cockamamie, pretty much at a 90-degree angle to his neck. His limbs splayed under the bed covers in all directions.
I glanced at the chair in his room to find our cat snoozing, her belly exposed, legs jutting every which way. Her head was cocked to the side. She was equally as dead to the world.
That’s when it hit me. Teens and cats are the same creatures.
It’s not just sleeping at all hours of the day, in the craziest positions. No, there are a lot of ways my teen and kitty are alike.
For instance, both will swat you away when they don’t want to be touched. Yup, there was that moment the other day when my son’s face looked just like it did when he was a toddler. Lovingly, I reached out to touch his cheek. Swat, swat. Just like, oh, pretty much every time I think it would be nice to pet my cat and she disagrees. Swat, swat.
Then there are all the times I come home from work or the store. I’ve heard dogs welcome you with love and affection. But cats and teens? Nothing. In fact, usually, I call out to both, hoping to see them as I walk through the house. Just when I think my teen must be lying on the floor choking on a pretzel, because why else wouldn’t he answer, he replies with a subdued, “Hi.”
Sort of how the cat barely opens her eyes from her nap when I find her.
Of course, that indifference melts away when it is dinnertime. Suddenly, both teen and cat are extremely affectionate and interested in what I’m doing. “This lady gives me food!” you can see them both think, the teen hovering around the kitchen as I get out ingredients, the cat winding her way through my legs, purring.
Until they realize it’s meatloaf for the teen and Savory Seafood Guts for the cat. Suddenly, I’m persona non grata with such unfathomable mealtime choices. They both sulk away with nary a backward glance.
(I can’t serve pizza and Tantalizing Turkey pate every night, can I?)
Teens and cats are night owls, too. While I’m struggling to keep my eyes open after 10 pm, these two kindred souls are just getting going. Run through the house jumping on the furniture and playing with a dust bunny at 1 am? Check for the cat. Play video games hooting and hollering at friends through a headpiece at 11 pm? Check for the teen. Maybe if the cat and teen just played quietly with each other in the midnight hours I could get some sleep.
I could go on and on about how teens and cats are similar. Both still surprise me with the mess they make after eating. They are easily distracted by text messages or bugs, especially if these appear while I am expressing affection to them. Neither one can make a doctor’s appointment and go without me.
Yet, just one look at my teen and my cat and I am filled with love for these amazing creatures. I am proud to be their mom and have them in my life. And those sweet times they tell me they love me, whether through actual words or purring? There is nothing better.
written by Katy M. Clark Featured in BHParent Spring 2020