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People do not like to have their children compared to domesticated animals.

So, I packed up the bride and drove deep into the OC this weekend for a birthday barbecue. Down into the parts of Orange County that are ignored by network television because they aren’t by a beach or populated with enough foul-mouthed youngsters.

As it happens when visiting friends who have children (and their friends who have children), the conversation quickly turned to what cute and amazing things the little tykes have been doing.

Here’s the problem. I happen to think my cat is very cute and I tend to talk about her with the same loving affection that most people my age reserve for their children. The real problem is that I find so many easy comparisons between kids and cats.

“Little Jimmy loves to chase after his soccer ball,” one proud parent said.

“Yeah, my cat actually fetches. It’s pretty cool,” I replied.

“I think my baby is so cute when she sleeps. Such a little angel.”

“You should see Pepper when she curls up in the corner. She actually sleeps on her back sometimes. I’m not kidding. I don’t know how she does it.”

Eventually, people started to notice that whenever they talked about their children, I talked about my cat. Only, instead of thinking I’m a loser who treats his kitten like it was a child, they thought that I considered their kids no better than a household pet.

“Tyler is so much more compelling than a stupid animal,” an irritated mother blurted out.

“You just had to change his diaper because he was sitting in his own feces,” I shouted back. “At least my cat knows where it’s box is and has the wherewithal to cover up her crap.”

This is about the time when my wife came back to the table and became very confused as to why her lifelong friends were asking us to leave the party and dis-inviting us to the little one’s upcoming baptism.

I then spent the drive home explaining that we’re better off not having to buy a gift for the confirmation and that we should use that money to get the cat this new play tower I saw at Target the other day.

“It’s just like the jungle gym Pete is getting for his kid,” I told her.

She was not amused.

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