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Cats describe phase ‘purrrfectly’

I’ve said it before. I love teenagers. I may love teenagers because I love cats. Teenagers are similar to cats and working in a high school is a lot like being a cat herder. If you’re not sure what that looks like, try Googling “cat herder commercial.” You’ll be rewarded with a hilarious advertisement that shows cowboys in the classic cattle herding scenario, only they’re herding cats not cattle. They love their job, too.
Years ago, I ran across a story comparing personalities of children to cats and dogs and it made a lot of sense to me. When children are young, they love being around you. They will follow you, snuggle with you and are eager to please you. This is the dog phase.
But as children get older, they turn into cats. Cats are more aloof. They want your attention – but only when they feel like it. They still love you but it’s on their terms. You may only see them when they’re hungry. As parents, this distresses us. What did we do wrong?
We worry. We fret. We try harder. But the harder we try the more distant they become. Tell a cat to sit and it runs away. Try to finish typing an important report before an impending deadline and it will lie on your keyboard.
The important thing to remember is that our cats still need us. Put their food out and wait for them to come. When life gets cold and dreary, have that warm lap ready because they will remember it’s there. When life is good, be ready with kind words that will have them holding their heads high.
One day, cats turn back into dogs. It is a slow process but you’ll know when it’s starting to happen. You’ll be clearing off the table one night and stacking dishes into the sink. Without warning, one night your cat will say to you, “Why don’t you let me wash those dishes for you?”
Or your cat might comment, “The garbage is really piling up, why don’t I carry it out?” When that happens, you’ll know the cat phase is coming to an end. It’s not been easy, but you’ve made it.
This is not true of all children. There are a select few who remain in the cat stage. Some of you have already discovered there are those who avoid the cat phase completely. I have to admit, though, that I personally was a cat for many years. All my children have been cats, too. That may be karma. Maybe if you were a cat, you get cats in return. Just know that catness is a phase that will pass and enjoy it knowing it doesn’t last forever.
Parenting is not easy and never has been. If it was easy, anybody could do it. Just as I like this story without remembering where it came from, I also have a favorite parenting quote that I can’t attribute to anyone. “Parenting – as hard a job as you think it’s going to be, you end up wishing it was that easy.”