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Cat Daddy: A Lesson on Pets and Parenting

I’m a cat dad, ya’ll.

I mean, I’m also the parent of a human child; an awesome little girl named Z. But the cat dad thing is the new wrinkle in our father-daughter dynamic, and it’s proven to be … interesting.

For my daughter’s fourth birthday we adopted this adorable gray and white kitten that we named Skye. My thinking behind getting the cat: it’ll teach my child about the responsibility of loving and caring for a living creature.

I clearly didn’t think it through.

Skye shows her tongue to Z, as the kid runs from the mischievous kitten. (Pendarvis Harshaw)

Since day one the cat and the kid have waged war on each other. Faces have been scratched and tails pulled.

Just last month Z found one of my Rightnowish stickers and asked if she could have it. I said “Yeah, you can put it anywhere you want.” Moments later the cat walked past with the sticker hanging from its butt.

It’s not all conflict. They play with each other, and there’s an everlasting game of tag in my hallway.

Z loves Skye. And I don’t know if Skye loves Z, but the cat surely acts differently when Z isn’t here. That’s when the cat wages war on me.

Z sits in the background wearing pajamas, as she and Skye, who is in the foreground, play with a cat toy. (Pendarvis Harshaw)

At the break of dawn, Skye will sit outside my bedroom door meowing nonstop. Whenever I do push-ups, the cat will swat at me like a it’s a game of whack-a-mole. And when I’m taking my me time, the cat will do everything but jump in the bathtub with me.

What started off as a sweet gift intended to teach a young child a valuable life lesson has turned into yet another trip around the learning curve for me as a dad.

In this special Father’s Day episode of Rightnowish, I bring you into the story of my daughter, Z, our cat, Skye, and my revelation about where responsibility ultimately resides when you’re a parent.

This episode was produced by Marisol Medina-Cadena.

Rightnowish is an arts and culture podcast produced at KQED. Listen to it wherever you get your podcasts or click the play button at the top of this page and subscribe to the show on NPR One, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

Copyright 2021 KQED