Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Sunday Reflections: 7 Ways Teens Are Like Cats (by Heather Booth)

One of my friends, a cat owner and dog appreciator, is also a children’s librarian.  Years ago, as I was lamenting about a lukewarm at best teen event, wishing I got some of the love and affection she so readily got from her younger patrons, she told me this:

Little kids love you like dogs do.  They run to greet you and their whole body shakes with excitement when you look them in the eye and sing the right song.  Teenagers, on the other hand, are more like cats.  They may look at you sideways, get up, and leave the room as soon as you walk in, but sooner or later they’ll sidle up to you and their contented purr will tell you all you need to know: they love you, but they don’t really want you to know it, and they’re just not going to make a big deal out of it or anything.

This can make them (cats and teens) an acquired taste.  I get it.  I’m not by and large a cat person myself, but I have come to appreciate individual cats on a case by case basis.  For some folks, even for some teen librarians, teens are like that.  Saying “I like teens” isn’t the same as saying, “I like working with teens.”  But even if they’re not your thing, you’ve got to admit that they’re intriguing!  And maybe it’s that mystique, that intrigue, that keeps us working with teens… and seemingly fascinated by cats.

So, here are 6 more ways teens are like cats.

6. They’re always going through some stuff – it only makes sense that they’re conflicted sometimes.  Don’t take it personally.

5. We don’t always understand why they do what they do, but it is clear that there is some purpose.

4. If you’re faking it, or trying to be someone you’re not, they can see right through you.

3. It’s true.  In large groups, they can be kind of intimidating until you remember who they actually are.

2. They need guidance and supervision.  They’re risk takers and can be overly confident in their abilities.

1. They will surprise you, so check your assumptions.
Also, in honor of the recent Shark Week, if they were small enough, teens would totally do this:


  1. So very, very true!

  2. Love, love, love this 🙂

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