Parenting Lessons I Learned From Being a Fur Mom
Being a fur mom can give one a pretty interesting glimpse into what it’s like to be a parent.
While it’s not exactly the same as having a kid, being a fur parent does introduce certain aspects of being a parent. Millennials nowadays would prefer to start out being a fur parent rather than having kids right away. Somewhat like having a “practice child,” kind of like the movie Marley & Me. So here are some parenting lessons and insights I’ve learned from being a fur mom to a Ragdoll cat named Nancey.
1. (Fur)babies, even from the same litter or family, can have contrasting personalities
Similar to how siblings come from the same set of parents but not have the same personality, animals are like that, too! Before moving out of my house, I had two Ragdoll cats. One was a male who we named Gibson (after Talking Kitty’s Gibson) and a female, Nancey (the name the breeder gave her). The two were clearly different. While Nancey loved moving around and exploring, Gibson preferred laying on the floor. Like a rug. We had him checked and he was healthy. He was just that lazy and got used to us getting everything for him.
Even my mom couldn’t get him to move. Sometimes, she had to force him out of the room so the little robot vacuum cleaner could clean up the room he stayed in.
2. Once you’re so attuned to them, you can recognize what they want from their sounds.
Just like how a mom recognizes a baby’s needs through their cries, being a fur mom meant eventually learning that each of Nancey’s meows meant something. She had a meow for “play”, for “food”, for “squash” (she loves her squash), for “clean my litter box!”, for “ew, change my food”, for “where have you been?!”, and other needs. She’s more expressive than any of the pets I’ve had in my lifetime.
3. You’d do anything for your (fur)baby
Fur parents will probably notice they have protective instincts, sometimes even jokingly telling their partner that they’d pick their fur baby over them. It helps to have an understanding partner. My husband knew before marrying me that Nancey was non-negotiable and that if something bad would happen, he’d be the first one on my list of people to suffer my wrath.
4. (Fur)babies don’t need fancy toys
Ragdoll Royalties breeder Manny Go, Nancey’s former owner, once told me and my mom that pet toys aren’t really for the pets but more for us fur parents! It’s kind of like how babies can find so much amusement with a piece of tissue, a box, paper, or even a hair tie. Much to my amusement, the only toy I’ve noticed she really enjoyed was her turbo scratching pad. But with every other toy, she got tired of them in less than 30 minutes.
5. (Fur)babies will get clingy even when older
Dogs are a little more obvious when it comes to being clingy. Cats, on the other hand, not so much. However, it just so happens that being a fur mom to Nancey also meant being scolded for going out. I once went out to attend a company event and returned home a later than her liking. Even with her fur dad being home with her, she waited for me by the door (according to my husband). My return home resulted in her scolding me with a stink-eye and an annoyed meow that clearly said, “You’re late!”
Pretty sure toddlers won’t be that eloquent but I didn’t expect my cat to be that eloquent either.
6. You’ll have more pictures of your (fur)baby than anyone else on your phone
Before Nancey, it was either food or friends. Parents will probably say the same. Before their baby, it was whatever their interests were or where their latest getaway was. Now, scrolling through the phone’s gallery, I’m pretty sure that for every 10 photos, there are at least 3 of them that are babies. The same applies to me as a fur mom; every 10 photos has at least 2 to 3 photos of my fur baby.
7. There is some untapped source of energy inside you that allows you to do anything for your (fur)baby.
Hunger or full nappy, even at 4 AM, moms will amazingly find the strength to get up and do it with full consciousness as if they had at least 5 hours of sleep. Being a fur mom got me up at strange hours in the morning, with me not complaining to clean up my fur baby’s litter box. And to that source of energy, where were you when I needed you to cram a college thesis at 1 AM in the morning?!
A fur baby is like a baby
They’re similar but there are still a lot of things that being a fur mom doesn’t cover like breastfeeding, bringing them to school, graduation, the fights, marriage, and a whole lot of things. But it’s still interesting nonetheless to have a window on what it might be like. After all, for many, having kids is a big responsibility and they want to see if it’s something they can really handle.