I realise that the title is misleading. I haven’t started some underground cat/baby pit-fighting league on the moobaan where crowds of Vietnamese boat workers throw money into a dugout in which a cat and a baby are smacking the hell out of one another.
I mean I would, but the immigrant visa for Vietnamese boat people is hard to organise and I know the wife would probably get annoyed and look disappointedly at me. That look is my kryptonite.
No, I just noticed the other day that a six month old child and a cat have quite similar character traits.
Cats are all loving and nice when they want to be, sitting on your lap, rolling about on the floor, purring, farting affectionately. But then their mood changes and suddenly they want to be sitting a quarter mile away from you and woe betide any attempt to reduce that distance.
Babies are similar. You start playing a game, it can be peek-a-boo, bop-the-nose or eat mummy’s credit cards and all is well for a number of minutes. Peals of laughter will abound. Credit cards dribbled on. Amusement had.
Then, without prior warning, the smile will just stop dead, replaced by a level stare and a raised eyebrows. Unless the game is changed and a new form of entertainment provided, ear-rupturing, high-pitched songs will start. I’ve heard they are the precursors of speech but at the moment he sounds like a morlock.
The cats are happy to present the gifts of their most recent hunting expedition. Usually, the half masticated remains of a gecko, or the smashed chitlin of a cockroach.
The boy deposits, browner, more noisome expressions of gratitude which, due to a recent move towards more solid food, have become less gloopy. This is a good thing. Up to this point changing a nappy honestly felt like clearing up an oil spill but with fewer seabirds. I say fewer because there was that time with the albatross. Man those things are strong.
The Liberal Distribution of Food (both uneaten and partially digested):
Ours cats are like mini furry versions of a medieval king. Food will be thrown about, spat out dropped and generally spread about. As an extra treat, every now and again, we’ll find a small pool of cat sick. Normally by treading in it with bare feet. Landmines of vomit, if you will.
The boy’s approach is almost identical with the remarkable distinction of just throwing up directly on us which seems less sporting but is far preferred at three in the morning.
Middle of the Night = Playtime:
When the boy wakes up in the middle of the night he greets his parents with a beautiful smile and a gurgle. You guys are here? Brilliant! Let’s play! He seems to say.
Which is all well and good unless you have to work the next morning.
The cats seemed to have picked up on this and now like to run around the house knocking things over, fighting, playing 90s rave music and chucking up the remains of a gecko.
I swear this is a coordinated attack on our sleep patterns because as we get the boy down the cats start up.
Oh, how we laugh…
Still, at least we know that sooner or later the boy will grow out of this phase. And as for the cats?
Well, there’s always a cobra or two around.