Friday, July 16, 2010

The Cat Years, a "must read" for parents!

I'm taking a break from doing some major organizing...or in my case, making things worse because I have stuff ALL over my house.  I found another article that I clipped and kept years ago...probably around 1997-1998.  Hope you enjoy!

The Cat Years
San Francisco Chronicle
Adair Lara

I just realized that while children are dogs - loyal and affectionate - teenagers are cats.  Its so easy to be a dog owner.  You feed it, train it, boss it around.  It puts its head on your knee and gazes at you as if you were a Rembrandt painting.  It bounds indoors with enthusiasm when you call it.

Then, around age 13, your adoring little puppy turns into a big old cat.  When you tell it to come inside, it looks amazed, as if wondering who died and made you emperor.  Instead of dogging your footsteps, it disappears.  You won't see it again until it gets hungry - then it pauses on its sprint through the kitchen long enough to turn its nose up at whatever you're serving.  When you reach out to ruffle its head, in that old affectionate gesture, it twists away from you, then gives you a blank stare, as if trying to remember where it has seen you before.

You, not realizing that the dog is now a cat, think something must be desperately wrong with it.  It seems so antisocial, so distant, sort of depressed.  It won't go on family outings.

Since you're the one who raised it, taught it to fetch and stay, and sit on command, you assume that you did something wrong.  Flooded with guilt and fear, you redouble your efforts to make your pet behave.

Only now you're dealing with a cat, so everything that worked before now produces the opposite of the desired result.  Call it, and it runs away.  Tell it to sit, and it jumps on the counter.  The more you go toward it, wringing your hands, the more it moves away.

Instead of continuing to act like a dog owner, you can learn to behave like a cat owner.  Put a dish of food near the door, and let it come to you.  But remember that a cat needs your help and your affection, too.  Sit still, and it will come, seeking that warm, comforting lap it has not entirely forgotten.  Be there to open the door for it.

One day, your grown-up child will walk into the kitchen, give you a big kiss and say, "You've been on your feet all day.  Let me get those dishes for you."  Then you'll realize your cat is a dog again.

So, back to organizing! 


  1. I really like that article. I've thought for some time now, generally speaking, that grown men are more like cats, and grown women are more like dogs. Men just seem to come and go as they please (coming only when they want food and affection), and women tend to "stay put" and desire affection on a more consistent basis. (Men are from Mars and women are from the book says)!

  2. Steve, I enjoy your comments, but don't you EVER call me a "dog" again!!! Ha! Just kidding, your analogy is correct!!