I like to tease my nieces and nephews by telling them that if they’re not nice to me, I’m going to leave my (ahem) “millions” to a home for cats. But how far from reality is the stereotype of the childless woman filling her home with feline (or canine, or even porcine) companions? Do we women really need some small helpless creature to nurture in order to satisfy our natural instincts?
I have a cat, Felicity, who I rescued almost 10 years ago, when I assumed she’d someday have to share my attention with children. She is spoiled and overindulged. She gets away with more than I’d ever tolerate from a human baby. But do I treat my cat as a substitute for a child?
Do I talk to her? Sing to her? Hold her like a baby? Do I blow raspberries on her belly? Do I refer to myself as “Mummy” in her presence?
Well, yes. I do.
I have a need to nurture and she is the (mostly) willing recipient of my affections. Does she fill the hole my human babies would have filled? Of course not, but she goes a long way to satisfying my need to care for something wholly dependent on me.
What do you think? Do you need to fulfill some in-built need to nurture? Can the need be satisfied with a relationship with an animal?