This isn’t my furry niece, though. This is apparently a cat named Ed. My niece is Baroness Louise Von Meow Meow and she doesn’t sit well for pictures. Take my word for it though, she is adorable.
The Baroness is my roommates/best friends’ cat. They’ve been dating for 3 or 4 years now and adopted her after we moved to our new apartment this summer. They coo over the cat like a baby and when the Baroness recently got an ear infection they reacted like typical new parents.
This behavior isn’t new. People have been treating the animals in their lives like children for years. According to an article in Psychology Today, more than half of the Americans interviewed see their dogs as part of their family and refer to themselves as “pet parents” instead of “pet owners.” While this study refers to strictly dog owners, it isn’t hard to see how this ideology can easily translate to cat people.
I’m not saying it’s weird that people view their pets as part of the family. However, it was odd to watch that sudden transformation in my own apartment. Human children, whether adopted or biological, take time. You can’t just randomly go to a foster home and pick one out to take home that day like you can with animals. You have to prepare for human children for weeks, months, even years. With animals you simply buy a few items, pick one out, and there you go! You have a pet.
Even though I knew my roommates were getting a cat, I was a bit surprised with how quickly they became parents. I’ve heard them mention that since adopting the Baroness they’ve realized how serious their relationship is. Becoming parents to a furry child is a major milestone in their courtship that they happily conquered. As an outsider, it’s strange to watch two people realize how strong their relationship is and how bright a future they have together. While we all know people in their early 20s who are married or have kids, it is crazy to see first hand people become adults and accept more responsibility.
Ten years ago I was in 8th grade counting down the months to move on to high school. It’s hard to believe sometimes that some of the biggest decisions a person can make in their lives are the next milestones on my horizon. For now though, I’m very content playing with my niece and sending her mom funny pictures and videos while she’s out. Just don’t ask me to do the dirty work like give the Baroness her daily ear drops. I’m a strictly fun aunt.
Cope, Wendy. The Naming of Cats. 17 June. 2012. Online image. Flickr. 24 Oct. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/cg27Lw