Cocoa Bean and Mr. Pants as kittens and all grown up - still my babies and still as darling and mischievous as ever
Like a nice Jewish kitty, Cocoa Bean celebrates Hanukah in her own little way
I am writing this at the risk of being brushed off as a crazy cat person. I have the best cats in the world. They are the most snuggly, loudest purring, most playful, greet-you-at-the-door-every-time-it-opens kittens. Mr. Pants and Cocoa Bean grace the wallpaper on my computer. I have a picture of them on my office bulletin board and my refrigerator at home. But they are not framed photographs. You have to draw the line somewhere.
After a weekend away, I will occasionally thank my cat sitters for taking care of my babies. Whoa. Yes, I said it. Babies. I have a friend who refuses to be called her dog’s mom. I see her point, but pets do make you feel like a parent sometimes. After all, you are totally in charge of their well being. And you have to clean up bodily fluids. And solids. And they cost money.
Is it weird to think of myself as my kittens’ parent? Are my cats Jewish if I am their Jewish mother? What about the fact that their other mommy isn’t Jewish? To answer these questions, I decided to look online for some Jewish expertise.
I googled “pets and Jewish opinion” and learned that I have already violated Jewish law by having cats that are spayed, neutered and declawed. However, this was done at the vet before we technically adopted them, but we did pay the vet for these procedures. The website says it is okay to have pets in your house that are spayed and neutered and declawed as long as you didn’t make the call. Whoops. At least my new furniture and my pocketbook are thankful for this decision.
This doesn’t really apply to my cats, but I also learned that a woman once gave her cat birth control pills. Not a violation of Jewish law, but come on. Seriously?
The second link takes me to a site about putting your pet to sleep. I’m hoping that my three-year-old kittens do not make me think about this for a long, long time. According to the rabbi on this site, it is okay to put your pets to sleep if there is no chance of recovery and they are suffering. When my childhood cat passed away from kidney failure when I was eleven, we buried her in the woods by my grandma’s house the next morning bright and early before school. We said Kaddish. I cried at school that day.
The third site brings me to an online store for Jewish dog and cat accessories. My kittens, clearly deprived, have no accessories and don’t even know that catnip dreidels and pearl collars with Hebrew charms exist. And so they will remain. They are selective just like their mama. Cocoa Bean only likes one particular kind of mouse toy and Mr. Pants is only smitten for the colorful beaded necklaces from the gay pride parade. This reminds me, I need to stock up on those next June.
Raar! Mr. Pants celebrates the successful hunt of his favorite shiny beads
So what have I learned from my extremely limited research session? That the top three sites when googling “pets and Jewish opinion,” do not tell me whether or not it is weird to refer to your pets as your babies, nor do they tell me whether or not my kittens are Jewish. Does no one else ponder these questions? Perhaps I am a crazy cat lady.
Even if no one is posting about it, I bet there are 10 opinions on this for every 9 Jews in the room, or however that saying goes. At least for me, I have both opinions. I’ll just keep saying “thanks for taking care of my babies” and feeling a little unsettled about it, at least until I have my own human babies. Then it might actually be weird.
The snuggling siblings after a hard day of chasing toy mice and each other
By the way, the top three sites that come up when googling “Jewish opinion on calling pets your babies” cover the random topics of: pet names for your girlfriend or boyfriend, Christians performing religious circumcisions, and a mom and baby group meeting in Massachusetts. Maybe the Internet isn’t always the best source for answering the tough questions in life.