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Kids Looking After Pets (Or Not)

I consider myself to be a relatively strong character. I can normally withstand the barrage of requests by my kids to play on the iPad all day or eat sweets for every meal. But at the beginning of the year, I must have had a weak moment, because I found myself coming home with 2 kittens after a sustained campaign by my boys to get a pet



The kids can play an active role with a pet

To be honest, I had always felt that having pets was a good thing for the kids and I imagined they would spend hours playing with them, and looking after them.

A few weeks in, and my youngest had already transferred his affection back to his Nintendo. I think it wasn't helped by the fact that his suggestion for a name for his cat was vetoed by everyone - but "the Hulk" was not an appropriate name for a beautiful grey female cat.

If we had given in, I would strongly suspect that the poor thing would have been painted green at some point.

The reality is they don't

As I'm sure is the case for every mother/woman out there, I find that the care of the cats very much falls on my shoulders. And I really don't mind, as I actually love having them around.

We may have lost about 20 photo frames to breakage, and my carpet is utterly destroyed, but they are a welcome addition to the family.

My elder son, who has far more of the caring gene than his younger brother, adores his cat and can be found cuddling her under the duvet at bedtime. I also find myself chatting away to them, which to be honest I didn't expect to happen until I had lost some of my marbles - maybe that is starting to happen already?

My husband has pointed out (in what can only be perceived as a relieved tone) that they clearly are an alternative to having more babies, particularly when he catches me rocking one of them to sleep in my arms.

So are pets a substitute for a baby?

My sister's puppy definitely is. She already has 4 children, but there was a moment when I thought she would go over to the dark side and go for another.  Instead she pitched up at our house over the summer with a puppy. And it was as if that puppy was a baby. When we went out for a walk, it got tired and started whining so she ended up carrying him most of the way. When we got home, he had to have a sleep in what looked suspiciously like a travel cot. And he cried when he didn't get enough attention.

Sound familiar?

Resist the force of even more pets!

Now that the boys realise how easy it is to look after cats (see above for reference to who actually looks after them), they are branching out in their requests for more pets.

In no particular order, they want: a snake, a stick insect and a penguin.

However, I'm pretty sure that I'm strong enough to resist those requests and won't be extolling the virtues of having a mini zoo in any future blogs.

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

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