THAT’S WHAT You Think
My husband and I are “Mommy” and “Daddy,” and all our cats are “brothers
and sisters,” even though they aren’t.
But, we didn’t plan it this way.
I grew up with cats. From what I
remember, my parents referred to
them as “the cats,” not “children” or
“fur kids,” but they were always considered family members. They were
pets, and we loved them to pieces.
When my husband and I first lived
together, we began calling ourselves
Mommy and Daddy when referring to
ourselves in relation to our cat, Dobie.
Sometimes it was even in third person,
which usually annoys me. “Come here,
Dobie — Mommy has a treat for you!”
Somehow, the third-person thing with
cats has never bothered me one bit. I
don’t think we ever called Dobie our
“child,” though — he was our cat. And
we didn’t outwardly call ourselves pet
parents — we were cat owners.
A few years later, my husband and
I began having children ... and adding
more cats to our family. Even with
the addition of human children, we
were still calling ourselves Mommy
and Daddy, in third person, to cats and
now kids. Something new happened,
though. We never consciously chose to
do it, but we automatically referred to
the kids and cats as siblings. Our cats
had a human brother and sister, and
our children had a feline brother and
sister. And our parents? Grandparents
to the cats and kids, of course.
The way we’ve referred to the
relationship between our cats has
never changed. They are all brothers
and sisters, even though they don’t
share a single biological parent. And
we talk to them about their siblings:
“Saffy, stop eating your sister’s food!”
Because we consider everyone under
our roof family, we can’t imagine
thinking any other way.
When I started writing about cats,
I noticed that there were some differences in the ways other cat lovers
referred to their beloved felines. The
phrase “cat owner” seemed taboo;
instead, people were using terms like
“pet parent” and “guardian.” I’ve talked
to friends who don’t at all think of
their cats as their children but more as
roommates. They share a home with
them and are charged with their care
and well-being. They don’t refer to
their cats as siblings to one another, but
again, roommates — roommates who
are loved immensely.
There doesn’t seem to be a com-
mon thread as to how people refer to
their cats, themselves in relationship
to their cats, and the connection
between the cats and other humans
in their lives. What I do know is that
no title in the world is going to make
a difference in the way we love our
kitties. I think we choose what feels
right to us, and it’s not really anyone’s
business to judge our choices.
How do you refer to your feline
and human family members?
see more confessions at catster.com/confessions
BY ANGIE BAILEY
My husband and I call our five cats
either the kids or the children. We
call ourselves Mama and Daddy
and refer to the cats as each other’s siblings. I also call my adult
daughter’s cat my grandkitten.
— Lesley Banks
My husband and I are Momma
Cat and Pappa Cat, and our two
get referred to as the babies quite
— Rhiannon Morven Walsh
I’m not my cat’s mom. Chief ser-
vant, yes. But mom, no.
— Beth Felosi
I generally use the phrase “owned
by a cat” when talking about my
tortie. I don’t really like to think of
her as my child because I don’t like
to anthropomorphize her, but she’s
more than simply a roommate.
She’s more of a best girlfriend,
playmate, and a sister, really.
— Jessica Cejnar
Angie Bailey is an award-winning
author and blogger and a humorist, performer, cat fancier, word-game junkie, music lover, wife,
and mother to two humans and