Your mommy does what?

When your day job is related to the veterinary field, but isn’t as clear-cut as being a veterinarian, people get very creative with your job description. For those of you who don’t know, I am a certified cat behavior consultant. I work on a veterinarian-referral basis and am in contact with veterinarians on a daily basis. Being the mother of young children, the description of my profession has morphed into various other careers based on how my children explain what I do and how their audience interprets it. When my oldest child was in preschool, my career was described as bug doctor – but only for the pretty bugs like butterflies. Worms, spiders, wasps and ants had to fend for themselves.

When my son Jack became somewhat aware of the fact that mommy had a rather unusual job, he started asking me if I could tell what his stuffed animals were thinking or if I did house calls to giraffes or elephants. According to Jack, that would be “way cooler” than working with cats.

Over the years I have had the parents of my children’s classmates call me just to find out what the heck it is I do for living since the various descriptions offered from their children seemed highly unlikely. At one point or another, various rumors had gone around school that I could fly with the animals, talk to them and even wrestle with them. I have been asked on a number of occasions to come over to remove raccoons from attics (did someone actually think I was a raccoon wrangler??), find lost gerbils, teach a ferret how to accept being dressed in doll clothes and mediate cat-custody battles between divorcing couples. And just for the record, I did none of the above with the exception of helping a few couples find a peaceful solution to their cat-custody issues before they went to court.

With my children now at the mature ages of 9 and 7, they are very clear about the fact that mommy counsels owners regarding behavior issues in their cats. Which brings me to the topic of their latest misunderstanding: Veteran’s Day.

Gracie: “Mommy, how come we honor Veterinarian’s Day but we don’t honor Cat Behaviorist’s Day?”

Jack: “Gracie, we celebrate Veterinarian’s Day because they fought for our country’s animals.”

Me: (unable to stop laughing long enough to answer yet)

Gracie: “Well, I think we should have Cat Behaviorist’s Day!”

Me: “Hmm, not a bad idea.”

That evening we sat down and I helped my children learn about Veteran’s Day. Apologies to all the veterinarians out there.

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