Sunday, January 25, 2015

Do Cats Have Belly Buttons? Another Breakfast Conversation

A (age 13, one morning at breakfast) - Do cats have belly buttons?

Me (looking up from my coffee, not quite awake) - What?

A - When we were at Grandma's last summer N (their cousin) was drawing pictures of cats, and she gave them all belly buttons.

G - (age 15, chiming in) - M (N's older sister) said cats don't have belly buttons.

A - So, do they?

Me - I have no idea.  I suppose they might...(looking toward the Man of the House for support)?

The Man of the House - They've got to get food from their mothers somehow, so they must.  But, would they have just one placenta for the entire litter, or one for each kitten?

D (age 12) - What's a placenta?

Me (firing up the computer, figuring I'd better get this one right, reading the search list, and paraphrasing Wikipedia, while wishing I had not just looked at an image of a placenta over breakfast) - It's an organ that connects the unborn baby to the mother through the umbilical cord, so the baby can receive food and oxygen, and cycle out waste

I decide in deference to breakfast, not to mention, that in some cultures placentas are eaten, and give the Man of the House "a look" just in case his train of thought is running in the same direction.  The "yuck" he mouths back, tells me we're on the same track.

A (oblivious to our exchange) - But what about cats?  Do they have belly buttons?

D (age 12) - Wait!  If all mammals have belly buttons, does that mean that whales have them, too?

T (age 17, groans)
Me (ignoring T, and typing a new search) -

Yes, whales do have belly buttons.

In fact whales, dolphins and porpoises are all born with belly buttons.

Whales are marine mammals and like “almost” all mammals one of the characteristics they share in common with land mammals is giving birth to live young.

Making a mental note to check the library for a copy of the Scholastic picture book I just saw on the search page, I stumble into the kitchen for a second cup of coffee, before one of the younger children thinks to ask what happens to the umbilical cord, or how babies get into their mothers in the first place...

...when D, looking out the window, yells, "Kestrel!"

And, I'm saved...until lunch.


sunflowerous said...

Love this! :)

Natalie PlanetSmartyPants said...

That really made me giggle :)

Ticia said...

Sounds like some of our family conversations...

storyland4 said...

This gave me quite a chuckle this morning over my tea. I've had so many similar conversations with my crew.

Angelic Scalliwags said...

Lol! I've learnt something new today!

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Having seen kittens born several times throughout my life, the answer to this was very easy for me.

Sadly, we had one kitten whose belly button didn't close up right, and it didn't stand a chance at life. One of the saddest days of my childhood.