Babies and cats, an interesting mix

When you live with three cats with wildly diverse personalities, and then add in four babies of different ages and personalities, you get something akin to a barely contained chemical reaction. The best part though, is how much both species actually have in common.

For instance, the 2-year old granddaughter likes to knock things over, throw things, kick things, and generally cause mayhem, just like our cats. If I build a tower of blocks, Audri will grin widely and promptly send it flying to great guffaws.

Then, without batting an eye, she’ll pick up blocks, hand them to me and suggest I build another tower. Quickly! She doesn’t have all day!

The cats prefer to knock things off counters, desks, and other flat surfaces usually in the middle of the night or in direct proportion to cost or breakability. I think they smile when doing it too.

The handling of food is also quite interesting. The cats will prowl about, meow loudly, and make every effort to trip you as you serve them food. The toddler will repeatedly say, “Snack!” and lead you by the finger to the kitchen and cry uncontrollably if she doesn’t get the correct food in under 1.6 seconds.

The 7-month-old twins are a bit easier as they mostly just eat formula. Of course, if Mila gets hungrier than she likes, she will howl at a volume that has been known to peel paint off walls and send cats scattering faster than using a vacuum.

Miles, Mila’s twin brother, is a little mellower but will get vocal too, just at a lower volume. And their cousin, Sullivan, at 1 year is a very quiet fella but able to empty a jar of baby food in nothing flat.

So both species want food and will let you know it, in roughly the same manner.

Playtime for both species is quite an event. Our cat Romeo will jump halfway up the wall if he sees light bouncing off my watch and reflecting on the wall.

The twins will bounce up and down in a bouncy seat with great panache and Sully has turned the Jolly Jumper into a gymnastic event. Toys elicit similar reactions with Sully attempting to eat or at least taste any and all toys.

The cats just prefer to bat things all over the house until, without fail, the toys end up under the stove. Audri will carry toys all over the house and leave them in seemingly random places. I mean it’s great to find blocks in the couch, puzzle pieces in plants, and small plastic people under furniture.

Of course, one issue that does come up during playtime is when the kids see the cats and want to play with them. The cats do not see the fun in this and generally disappear in ways that would make Houdini proud.

Sylvie can go from asleep on the couch to under our bed upstairs so fast you start looking for a time machine or transporter. Romeo just turns 180 degrees as soon as a baby approaches him. But, to be fair, he has allowed the kids to pet him on occasion. If I’m holding them and I sedate him. Nibbler, our tiny half-feral calico, simply leaves the ZIP code if she spies a tiny human.

Outdoor time is a big hit for both species. The cats love to be outdoors, killing small animals, lying in the sun, and leaving various organs and body parts for us to find. They also enjoy walking up and down the street and hoping someone will feed them.

The kids are all about outdoors too. Sully will attempt to consume any and all objects within his reach be they animal, vegetable, or mineral. The twins just enjoy staring wide-eyed at everything and looking cute. And Audri is queen of all she surveys from the playground on Maple Avenue to our backyard and every muddy puddle, snow drift, or interesting object she encounters. And of course, she also enjoys chasing the cats all over the yard.

And the final area of inter-species agreement is sleep. The cats can and do nap anywhere and anytime it suits them. The babies, well, they do sleep but rather randomly.

Audri is usually good for a solid post-lunch nap as is Sully, but only for us, less so for his mommy. The twins sleep whenever, usually after a meal or a long run in the bouncy chair.

Mila is the worst with an infant case of FOMO (fear of missing out) despite the fact that she’s not even clear on what she might be missing. Miles is a little better, but both twins will fight sleep usually when their parents are the most exhausted.

Oh, I forgot. Our son also has two cats: twins called Fester and Gomez that live on his side of the house and revel in tearing up his apartment, running around the neighborhood, and getting into it with our three.

So, there you have it. Four grandbabies, five cats and a 140-year-old house. It’s never boring on Lincoln Avenue.

Editor’s note: Michael Seinberg says he takes time out of the daily madness to feed his Betta fish, Bruce, who seems unbothered by the chaos around him. So far.