Tuesday, January 15, 2013

BAJL Day 15: Practicing For Fatherhood: Learning Patience

         In July of 2012 my then girlfriend, now wife, Alex brought something home that would change my life forever. She had gone out with her girlfriends to see Magic Mike and it was almost one o'clock in the morning when I heard a knock at the door. I opened it and there was Alex, holding a kitten. He had been abandoned near the movie theatre and Alex decided to bring him home.
         He was tiny, incredibly underweight, and covered in fleas. We bathed him in the kitchen sink and then wrapped him up in a towel. The next day I had to bathe him again as he still had fleas on his belly. He needed to be bottle fed as he was only a few weeks old at this point. We thought he was a she and named him Minnie. After taking him to the vet and finding he was a boy I got to name him and I chose to call him Louie.
          I have never been a cat person. In fact, I would often chase away stray cats, make fun of people for having cats, and claim that cats don't love their owners. Slowly that little guy got under my skin and into my heart. He is now part of our family. He may not be overly cuddly like a dog is, but he has his moments.
          People say that pets don't really prepare you for a child, but I say nay. Having Louie has taught me that I have a level of patience that I didn't know existed in my psyche. I am not a long-suffering kind of guy. Thanks to my dad's genes, I have an incredibly short temper at this stage in my life and I was afraid of what I was going to do to this cat if he ever crossed me. That was quickly put to the test as he loves to wake me up while sleeping. Those who know me at all know that I wake up ready to punch someone in the face(yes, I am that cranky when I wake up). However, instead of hitting Louie or throwing him off the bed I began to rub his head and ears. Is this my paternal instinct?
          Last night was when I really felt that I will be able to handle being a dad. Louie had just used his litter box but had some doo doo stuck to his foot. He walked out of the litter box and flung it all over the bathroom floor. Instead of getting mad and yelling about it, I simply picked him up off the floor and turned the faucet on to wash his poopy foot. Things were going fine at first but then he flipped out. He thought I was trying to bathe him and fought back. He began trying to climb over my shoulder to get away from the sink. In the process of doing so he scratched up my chest and back, punctured the skin on my back, and one of his claws pierced my nipple. Yet, I still did not get mad despite the facts that I was in pain and my shirt had been ruined with huge punture holes. I dried his foot off with a towel and then cleaned the poop off the floor.
           What had happened to me? My love for this childlike little creature had changed me in a way I had not foreseen. He continues to challenge me and teach me patience. Even as I write this blog on my phone he is all up in my face trying to knock the phone out of my hands.
         For those of you about to say "children are much different than animals" I know that. But, they are kind of similar in that both are unable to feed themselves, you have to clean up their pee and poop, and both want your attention when it is REALLY inconvenient for you. I didn't think that I would be able to deal with my child. Now, I have a little more confidence.
       How has your pet enriched your life? Let me know by leaving a comment.


  1. I still can't believe you have a cat! But you sure do love him, and you are going to be a GREAT dad!

  2. Agreed! You will be a terrific father! It is pretty amazing what things you'll do for your kiddo! Craig didn't like changing diapers but he's definitely a diaper-changing-machine now! :)

  3. See we told you that you're a cat lady!!!

  4. Yeah.....you used to make fun of me all the time because of my cats, and said they're evil! Hahaha. A baby is different from a pet in ways, but you are right in the sense that you have to do a lot of things for a pet, that they cannot do for themselves, the same that you do for a baby. Then as they get older, they can tell you when they're hungry, thirsty, wanting attention, and just wanting to play. Example, fighting with my 3 yr old over who gets to type on the keyboard, and taking a task that should only be a couple mins, and turning it into one that takes 20 mins.....Lol. With the patience you display toward your cat, shows you will be a great dad, because sometimes it is easier to get upset with your pets quicker, than with anything else. Just remember when your little one gets older, he will intentionally look at you, and defy what you just said, just to push your buttons, and watch you lose your temper. Lol. But if you keep your cool, then the times you do get upset, and raise your voice, even the smallest bit, they will be scrambling to make sure it's not them that's in the wrong. Haha.