It happened: All of your friends are having babies, and you just have cats. You want to contribute to conversations about late-night feedings and tummy time, but every time you start a sentence with, “The same thing happened with my cat,” all you get are eye-rolls from your mommy friends. What to do? Well, the only person who needs to know that your cat isn’t actually your child is you. Here are the five best ways to participate in conversations while being totally ambiguous about whether you have a cat or a human child.
1. Give your cat a human name.
The right human name can fly under the radar in public, but will still be clever enough for your cat to appreciate in private. Try names like Tabitha, Catlyn, or Klaus. If you’ve already named your cat something dumb like Mittens, you’ll need to come up with a non-specific term to refer to him in public. I’ve had success with “my ward” because it either denotes that I’m the caretaker of someone, or maybe I have a kid named Ward.
Mom: Oh my gosh, Brayden had a MASSIVE diaper blow-out this morning!
You: Yes, my ward also poops regularly.
2. Keep an eye out for key phrases or topics that can totally work either way.
Nod vigorously in understanding when a friend says her baby sleeps all day and is up all night. My favorite mommy icebreaker is, “Grayson sure loves to drink milk!” The key here is to be alert – if one of your friend’s kids accidentally poops in a sandbox, you are going to want to jump on that.
Mom: We decided to have Jayden circumcised.
You: Yes, Furguson also had surgery on his genitals when we got him.
3. Learn to tell the truth by being vague.
If your mommy friends are comparing notes about the best pediatrician, you can contribute by saying, “The person who cares for Tabitha is also technically a doctor!” If they ask you whether Klaus was born naturally or by C-section, you can say, “His birth was very natural!” When the conversation turns to favorite mommy-bloggers, feel free to confidently say, “I also enjoy blogs with adorable pictures!”
Mom: We had Kayden baptized this week. What religion is Klaus?
4. Don’t be too specific.
In a conversation about co-sleeping, saying, “Catlyn sleeps with us in bed” is fine. But saying, “Catlyn sleeps with her butthole in my face and her tail covering my mouth” is likely to raise red flags. If the conversation is about potty-training, feel free to add, “I’ve potty-trained Petra.” Do not say, “I potty-trained Petra by sticking her in a box in the kitchen.”
Mom: Hayden is so easily entertained! Just give him some pots and pans and he’ll be happy.
You: Sirius is also easily entertained by chasing imaginary ghosts that the rest of us can’t see.
The important thing to remember is that having a cat is just the same as having a child. You sacrifice just as much! This is totally where you thought your life would be at 34! You’re doing you! You’re learning and growing and shit; Tabitha just puked up a hairball and it was actually pretty adorable.