Lessons from Cat Assuage Paternal

I’ve found a way to not be afraid about becoming a father. Not only was there no counseling involved, but it was free and it has been purring in front of me for the past couple of years. It’s even urinated on my bed a few times. All that I will need to know about being a father to a baby boy, I might just have learned being a father to a two year-old cat named Remy.

Let’s start with the basics of parenting. I’m a realistic person, I know my son will cause trouble at times. When Remy is on the counter when she shouldn’t be, I’ll say “down” a few dozen times. Eventually I’ll shake her treat bag and she’ll jump to her feeding dish. Bam, she gets down from the counter. Apply this to a child like so: child is climbing on counters or bookshelves or refrigerators or wherever the child shouldn’t be climbing, shake the treats, and the child will stop.

Remy also likes to dance on a one-inch wide handrail on our balcony three stories above the ground. My heart skips more than a few beats when she loses her balance and is dangling, trying to regain control.

Her motivation to get control is multiplied when I shake her treats, whereupon she quickly regains composure and comes running to me. For the child, once he finds himself in a place that is out of his control, a place that he has a hard time holding on, all he has to do is listen for his father shaking the bag of treats, breathe, and regain control of the situation.

The feline gets spurts of energy from nowhere and runs around the house for hours. She runs so fast she runs sideways down the couch and futon—with the help of claws of course. The shaking of the treat bag gets her to calm down some, but the treats provide more energy for her. To calm her, I pet her gently, and scratch her head. My son will undoubtedly have the same ceaseless energy will be just as inclined to release it at the most inconvenient of times. In that case, I’ll brush his hair with my hand tell him how proud I am of him.

My cat likes to jump at things beyond her reach. She’s smart and will use any tools around her to get to it. Once, she was determined to climb to the top of the shelves to investigate the new Butters (from South Park) bobblehead toy. Her will to get up there was inspiring. Now, instead of holding her up to the bobblehead, I made each segment of the journey a little easier (she eventually reached her goal and it was very difficult to get her down.) For my son, I’ll try to make each segment of life less confusing until he is out on his own.

Remy pees on the bed when she smells skunks. For the little one, well, there’s only so much I can do about that.

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