12 things pet parents totally understand

While walking into my bathroom recently, both of my cats (read: furry children) hopped up onto the double sink and glared at me. To some, this might seem like typical cat behavior but knowing my two demanding felines, they wanted something very specific from me and they wanted it immediately. Yes, just one look atop the counter and I know what they’re after: the faucets to stream a fresh supply of water because YES, they’re that spoiled. It doesn’t matter I’ve just filled their bowl with clean water because now they know that mother (me) will turn that handle thingy and make a waterfall appear like magic. It makes them stop staring at me and makes me feel like I’m superwoman.

Yes, two of my four kids aren’t human and before you’re all “that totally doesn’t count!” just hear me out. Not only do those two four-legged creatures cause the kind of anxiety my actual children do, they also make me laugh and bring me as much joy sometimes. Sound weird? Here are some other things only us pet parents get that might seem unusual to everyone else.

If you don’t talk in a high voice, they won’t understand.

I’ve tried speaking to my cats in a normal tone and they just don’t respond. Maybe it’s the pitch, the clear pronunciation, or maybe that they really just want me to humiliate myself to prove my love. Regardless, they won’t entertain the idea of doing anything I ask — unless my voice is at a decimal humans can’t handle.

You know exactly how many strokes your pet deems acceptable.

Three. That’s how many times I can glide down the back of my eldest cat. At two, she wants more but at four, I risk losing a finger. I’ve heard not all animals are like this but if you have a cat, this is the norm. And to be fair, I’m kind of the same way, which is why we probably get along so well.

There are different cries for different things, just like children.

The short, gruff meow means I’m being alerted to something like a hairball that needs to be picked up, or possibly just a greeting when I walk through the door. If it’s a long, drawn out cry, either the food bowl is empty, the litter needs to be cleaned, or the house is on fire. I’ve yet to decipher the difference so just in case, I check all three.

The pictures and videos are endless.

I’m only slightly ashamed to say I probably have as many selfies of me and my grumpy cat, Mamie, as I do with my actual children. Despite all I’ve given the entitled rescue cat, she has a permanent look of disgust on her face I have to document. And videos of the younger cat drinking from the faucet? Too many to admit.

If you can’t take your dog, you probably won’t go.

While I don’t have a dog anymore, I once adopted an elderly blind and deaf Pekingese from the local shelter and leaving her was the worst. Because of her separation anxiety and continual state of confusion, I’d much rather have cancelled plans than left her at home. Plus, she was another reason I could stay in my PJs all weekend.

Pictures with Santa, The Easter Bunny, and any other costumed thing are the norm.

OK, so, maybe I dressed up my dog and maybe I took her out for the occasional photo-op to celebrate whatever holiday it was at the time (National Doughnut Day is important). But I wasn’t alone. Tons of people lined up to do the same. Ain’t no shame in tossing a pair of bunny ears on your pup and capturing the moment with a giant rabbit. #happyeaster

Co-sleeping is a fact of life.

Pets have to sleep somewhere and usually that somewhere ends up being on my head or in a strange position that requires me to contort my body so not to disturb them. It’s a lot like leaving the room of a napping infant; employ whatever ninja techniques possible to escape the bed without a ripple of movement or risk having to soothe your annoyed cat or dog back to sleep.

You make extra for dinner to give to your pet.

“Why so much chicken Kiev?” Funny you ask. Baby Kitty hated the roast last night so I thought I’d try to make up for it by whipping up one of her favs. She holds grudges and I don’t need the stress of wondering what she thinks of me right now. And that sub I was enjoying? Better tear off the end to share or Mamie will never let me forget it. I can’t be the only one who does this (she hopes).

Your pet is considered THE child.

There comes a point, whether you have actual children or not, your pet becomes somewhat of a grandchild to your parents because to you, s/he IS a child. You dress them, feed them, deal with the “diaper” cleanup, have full-on conversations with them, and give them more love and attention than maybe even you intended. Somewhere along the way, your parents may have jumped on board and officially declared themselves “grandparents” to your dog. If you have a cat, better to ask the cat about this decision first.

You go to extremes to ensure their safety, happiness, and self-esteem.

I’m talking about car seats, specialty organic treats, and high quality grooming sessions on the weekly. It’s not cheap taking care of your little ones but you work hard so you can provide the best life for them. Maybe you’ve even installed a nanny cam to make sure they’re OK when you’re away, because daycare can get expensive, am I right?

Halloween = couple’s costumes.

When you have pets, you automatically have a sidekick who’s totally down for anything — especially when it comes to Halloween. When else can you pull out your trusty and be completely in sync? The answer is whenever you want, because your pup has your back. Your cat might protest but just know in your heart, s/he loves/loathes every second of it.

What’s yours is theirs and what’s theirs is theirs (sometimes).

Being a parent in any capacity requires sacrifice. Sometimes that means you have to give up your last bite of food or scooch over to the opposite end of the sofa to make room, but animals have a different perspective. While they can be demanding, they’re also willing to give back as much as they take. Maybe you won’t get the whole ice cream cone to yourself but it’s totally worth watching your dog (or cat) lap it up and might even inspire you to buy two next time (but they’ll probably want that, too).

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