I had a major revelation this week. I was hurrying through the kitchen (clearly not looking where I was walking) when I stepped on a sharp object lying carelessly on the tile. Ouch. What was that?
Agitated (and very late for work), I searched for someone to blame. Is this a cat toy? A baby toy? Which one of them left this here for me to step on? That’s when it hit me – my cat acts exactly like a baby.
Okay, okay – I know what you’re thinking.
It’s true, there are some key differences between cats and human babies. But if you really think about it, there are some serious parallels between baby behavior and cat behavior. Both cry when they need us, let us know when they’re hungry, and… leave their belongings in the middle of the floor… just for fun.
Additionally, the way that we care for cats is super similar to the way we care for our babies. We feed them, tend to their needs, make sure they are comfortable and happy, and give them all the early morning snuggles.
I could truly write a novel on the topic, but here are just a few ways our feline friends act exactly like a baby. Let me share a few of them with you. Maybe you’ll agree with me on any of the below?
Cats Cry When They Need Something
A lot like babies!
Whether they’re hungry, tired, agitated, uncomfortable, or just want attention – babies cry out for help when they need us to do something for them (and sometimes, for no reason at all!) It’s usually impossible to tell what they actually want, so we just play the guessing game until they’re satisfied enough to stop.
If you’re a cat mom or dad, this scenario is pretty familiar to you, too. When your cat wants to go outside, what does he do?
According to experts, cats typically give their owners verbal cues (meows) to “solicit attention, ask for food, or change their environment.” As a matter of fact, recent studies found that cats learn to mimic the tone and pitch of a baby’s cry to solicit a response from humans (AKA – get us to fill up their food bowls). Like babies, cats are pretty relentless in this pursuit of happiness. Both creatures will continue to howl and wine until their needs are met.
And as their caretakers, we do whatever it takes to make them stop. Lucky us. I for one know that I’ll do pretty much anything to make my cat happy.
Cats Are Super Picky Eaters
Have you ever heard of Neophobia? In a nutshell, it’s a super high maintenance fear and an “unwillingness to try a food that is new or different to their normal food.”
Guess what? Most babies have it and most cats have it. Surprise, surprise!
This means that we can probably stop with the fake airplane noises (let’s be honest, that never works anyway). Babies would rather not eat than eat something that looks or smells unappetizing to them – and in my experience, silly noises just don’t do the trick.
Similarly, I had to learn to not take it personally when my cat turns her nose up at a new bowl of food. Cats can be super selective eaters and actually prefer to eat the same types of food each day. They are creatures of habit and when we change up the food options, we are bending and breaking their routine – apparently.
Cats Are Quick To Show Emotion
Babies cry, pout, and kick to let us know that they are displeased with what’s going on around them. If they don’t like the new split pea-flavored baby food, they’ll probably turn their head in disgust (and I totally don’t blame them for that). If they are excited to play with a new set of blocks, they will smile and dance with joy.
No matter the emotion, babies are quick to show us how they feel – and cats are no different.
Just like babies, cats are not shy when it comes to displaying their emotions – and the proof is in their common and urgent reactions. Cat’s purr to show us they are content and comfortable with their environment. If a cat is unhappy in your arms, he’ll wiggle and bite his way out. Isn’t that what we adore about cats in the first place? Their undying affection…
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Cats are infamous for appearing emotionless, but, interestingly enough, cats do show emotion through facial expressions – just like babies do. Your cat wrinkles his nose or raises his upper lip to show frustration and blinks slowly to show that he is relaxed and calm.
As caretakers, our job is to read these displays of emotion and act accordingly. Needless to say, this can be a tricky task for both babies and cats. Have you tried it before?
Cats Don’t Want To Travel With You
On a plane, bus, or just maybe in your own car – we’ve all seen the close-to-tears, exhausted mother desperately trying to soothe her screaming, crying baby.
Infants and travel plans do not mix. It’s just a fact. And if you’ve ever tried it, you’ll know.
Babies are super sensitive to changing environments and cry to let us know that they are in distress. It’s an extremely stressful but, unfortunately – necessary struggle.
I don’t know about you, but when travel season rolls around, my cat is a big baby. Crying, hissing, biting, scratching – basically, full-on temper tantrums – and it’s almost enough to cancel the trip all together. Yep, it’s really tough taking them anywhere.
According to experts at Veterinary Centers of America, cats thrive on routine and tend to get very stressed when taken from the safety of their homes. When we suddenly change their environment (taking them along for a 7-hour car ride to Florida, for example), cats let out a high pitch cry to display their distress.
Whether you’re taking your cat with you to the beach or sitting with your baby on an airplane, the end result is about the same – a screaming, crying mess. Our only option here is to try to calm the temper tantrum – a bag of catnip or a pacifier might do the trick?
Cats Need Their Naptime
Naptime. Babies need it, cats need it, and we need it to finally get some peace and quiet.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably mastered the art of opening kitchen cabinets without making a peep. Let’s face it – naptime is a daily ritual that’s not to be tampered with. See, it’s not just my cat that gets unfriendly when he’s not had enough sleep. You wouldn’t want to mess with me, either!
Infants require around 4-7 hours of daytime sleep to regulate emotions, promote better nighttime sleep, and enhance their ability to learn. In fact, children who don’t nap well are often more agitated and fussier when they’re awake. Babies require this sacred sleep time, so we do everything in our power to ensure that they get it.
Of course, there’s a reason why daytime snoozes are called “cat naps.” Like babies, cats need to sleep during the day – and you’re better off if you don’t disturb them. Cats take frequent naps to conserve energy, regulate body temperature, and because – they just like naps. On average, cats sleep around 15 hours each day. Some cats sleep up to 20 hours per day – must be nice. Who wouldn’t want the life of a cat? It sounds dreamy.
Cats Love Warm, Cozy Spaces
If you scroll your social media feed right now, you’ll probably see an adorable picture of a newborn wrapped in a warm, cozy blanket. Who doesn’t love all those super cute baby videos? We spend countless dollars on snuggly onesies and tiny little socks to keep them warm and comfortable at all times.
However, these adorable little socks are not just for looks. Babies can’t “regulate their body temperature as effectively because their bodies have more surface area by weight, causing quicker heat loss.” So, don’t feel bad about your recent (expensive) Target trip, the cozy, cute baby clothes are totally necessary.
Similar to babies, cats crave warmth pretty much all the time – and they need it. Because cats are descendants of ancient desert animals, they are hard-wired to thrive in warm environments. In fact, cats have a low sensitivity to heat and only have a few points on their body where they can sense heat at all. This explains why your cat follows around the same patch of sunlight around the room all day. Cats will always find a way to reclaim the warmth of the couch – or your lap!
Cats Leave Their Toys…Everywhere
I’m in a never-ending battle with the toy box in my house. I spend hours of my day picking up randomly placed toys in various rooms and returning them to their toy box home. Just in an attempt to keep the house looking remotely tidy.
I swear – not 5 minutes later – the box is completely empty, and the floors are covered with toys for me to trip over. I can feel the ouch coming on again!
No, the toy box doesn’t catapult its belongings when I have my back turned. But then, I’m faced with the question: Was it the cat or the baby? Sometimes, it can be hard to answer that question.
Both are truly mess-monsters and, in my house, it seems like they both actually enjoy this annoying game.
Cats make toy messes for a variety of reasons – but, the toy placement is actually not random at all. According to experts at Animal Path, cats leave their toys in very specific locations to signal that they want to play, get a reward from their owner, express affection, or show that they know how to effectively hunt.
Throwing toys around the room is pretty purposeful for babies, too. Children between 18 months and 3 years of age are learning and experimenting with fine motor skills. This means that babies throw or let go of their toys to practice hand-eye coordination – and, it’s pretty important that they regularly exercise this annoying skill.
Sigh – I guess I can finally end my battle with the toy box.