Monday, November 3, 2014

Cats and babies

Before I was pregnant with bub I was slightly concerned about how the cats would react if we finally did have a baby. My cats have always been my babies, especially given I spent so many years thinking I'd never actually get to have a real baby. They were used to getting all the attention and having cuddles at night. They were always number one (even though there were three of them).

When we first got pregnant I spent lots of time wondering how they'd adjust to our new addition once she arrived. Everyone loves to tell you about the horror stories that happened to a friend of a friend of a cousins mothers sister where their cat went to sleep on the baby and smothered it to death. My cats were all very well natured and loved to show affection so I wasn't really too worried they'd turn nasty. If they were going to smother the baby it'd be out of love not jealously, but still smothering is smothering and generally has bad results so it was in the back of my mind regardless. At one point I was considering a net for the cot and a screen door for the nursery just incase.

They were all fine while I was pregnant though. In fact Shelby grew quite protective of my bump to the point where I think she thought it was her baby in there. She'd come and sit on my bump every time I sat down. It didn't even bother her when bub started moving around and kicking back at her. She would curl up on me and purr any opportunity she could get. Which was nice because it meant I always had company when I was taking naps on maternity leave awaiting bub's arrival. She even had a knack of being able to put bub to sleep with her purring, which meant I got a few naps without being consistently prodded and poked.





I pretty much stopped being worried about how the cats would act around the baby because they were being so good while I was pregnant. The boys didn't really show as much interest as Shelby, but they would still come up and cuddle me when they got the chance. In fact I was getting quite excited to see how they would interact with the baby given they all seemed to love her already.

I thought Shelby would always be at my side protecting "her" baby. Turns out though that she wasn't a fan of the continuous high pitched crying and wriggling so she abandoned her mothering duties as soon as bub came home. Lucky she still had me to look after her because Shelby just spent all day hiding from her and ignoring her.

Max ended up taking on the roll of protector, to my surprise. He would sit on the lounge beside her rocker or lie on the floor near her while she was playing on her mat. He instinctively knew not to get too close to her and never tried to touch her, but he made sure to stay close enough to know she was alright. He just knew there was something special about her.




Jasper on the other hand wasn't quite as taken with her. The first few weeks he just kept his distance, but after a while the jealousy started to rear its head. Jasper needs lots of attention, he suffers from quite bad separation anxiety (seems to be a burmese trait and hes part burmese) and we found out he doesn't really like change. When she was a few weeks old he started trying to push in between her and us on the couch. He'd sleep in her port-a-cot overnight to try and claim it as his. He started hanging around her rocker when she was sleeping and he was getting a little too close for my liking. He never actually touched her or tried to hurt her, but it was quite evident that he had his nose out of joint that he was no longer the baby and he knew she was the reason why. He didn't like that she was now the priority and that she came first. So, we made the decision to re-home him for both her safety and so that he could get the attention he needed.

Its not a decision that was made lightly. We only let him go because we found a family friend who I knew would give him the attention he desperately craved and I knew he'd take care of him. I agonised over the decision for so long feeling like I was abandoning him and that he'd feel rejected. In the end I couldn't ignore my mummy instincts and bub had to come first.

I shouldn't have stressed over it so much though because apparently he absolutely loves it at his new house. He's the king of the castle and number one just like he always wanted. In fact he probably wouldn't want to come back even if he had the option (which makes me a little sad just quietly). I'm glad he's happy where he is though and I know we made the best decision at the time.

Having a baby is a huge adjustment for everyone, including the fur babies in your life. In some cases this may mean hard decisions will have to be made, but its important to follow your instincts and do what's best for your family as a whole. Fur babies can also surprise you in the most unexpected and loveliest ways like Max and bub's friendship. They have the cutest relationship ever which is only getting stronger as she gets older. For a cat who'd never been around children before he certainly has a way with her. He happily lets her pull his hair, drag him across the floor and even sit on him. Hopefully, for his sake, she'll get a little more gentle as time goes on. Those two will be inseparable for years to come and it warms my heart seeing them play together.




Did you have childhood pet you had a close bond with?

Toni x


Linking with Kirsty and Alicia

21 comments:

  1. My family always had pets. A cat and mainly Maltese terrors but I kept my distance. It's only been lately with a neighbours' cat that has decided to adopt us that I've found that I might be more of an animal person than I first thought.

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    1. I've always been an animal person although I was a bit scared of dogs when I was younger.

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  2. We always had dogs - I love dogs but we go away a lot and I'm not really prepared to make that extra commitment...but I'm getting outnumbered and pressure is on...

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    1. I've only ever had one dog with my ex-husband, but he took him when we broke up which wasn't entirely a bad thing because the courtyard is really too small for a dog.

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  3. I'm glad everything worked out for you with bub and kitties and you were able to find Jasper a good home. Friends of ours who have cats had the screen door on the babies room when their children were born. That was the first time I had seen that or thought about it. My eldest would love to have a cat, but my husband breeds birds so he has firmly vetoed this!

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    1. We have 2 budgies as well as the cats and apart from Max finding it hilarious to pounce at them through the cage every now and then it hasn't been a problem. The birds actually bait him now to make him pounce, little smartasses.

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  4. It's a long time ago since my kids were babies and we did not have any pets at the time. Lovely that you could work around it and find a nice home for Jasper :)

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    1. I was so glad I could find him a nice home. It would've been so much harder if I had to give him to someone I didn't know (actually I don't think I would've been able to do it).

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  5. I had three dogs over the years at my childhood home - Tiger (corgi x kelpie), Mishka (german shepherd x kelpie) and Gus (red cattle x kelpie). All great dogs in their own ways and wonderful companions throughout my childhood.

    It's sad that Jasper couldn't accept your baby girl but it sounds like a happy ending for all. How beautiful are those photos of Max and Hayley? They do look like they will be fast friends for life x

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    1. I think he would've been a lot better with her once she was 6m + I just think he could'nt handle that she needed all the attention as a newborn. I don't want to disrupt him again by taking him back now though because he's really settled.

      My mum had a dog called Mishka too (when she was married to a german lol).

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  6. Oh the big black fluffy puddy is beautiful!
    We had a long-hair at the same time as my first born who was always an indoor cat. One morning she pooped and puked all over the dining room as my crawling baby was heading right for the mess. After that, she was an outdoor pud but quite happy about that. We all were in fact! It was too hard to monitor pet mess and a babe and many times I found my baby eating her kibble too! :D Yuck!

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    1. Haha we've put the cats food bowls into the kitchen behind the safety gate because Hayley likes to eat the biscuits or put them all in the water bowl and splash them around. Our cats are technically indoor cats but our courtyard is fully enclosed so they spend most of their time out there.

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  7. I was like you, my cats were my babies before I had children. Once the children came along however I found I was pretty much all "loved out", and hubby took on the responsibilities of looking after the cats. Now our kids are older, I'm enjoying having a furbaby again!

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    1. The thing I love about cats is that they're independent enough to go off by themselves and they dont need constant attention (well except Jasper) so they dont seem to mind getting all their attention at night.

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  8. We've had cats since I was about 7. Our first cat used to sleep in my room and I always had to be careful not to shut my cupboard door in case she was asleep in amongst the clothes. When I was only about the same age as your bub we had a collie dog. Mum said she was always protective of me however they had to give her way after she bailed up my mum who was trying to pick up from the sand pit in the back yard.

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    1. I think sometimes they can get a little too protective, thankfully that hasn't happened here.

      I accidentally shut Shelby in cupboards all the time because I don't know shes there. Shes so stealthy.

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  9. It looks like they have a special bond forming there, it's so cute. Our cat never used to come near me except for when I was pregnant, she would come and sit on my belly. Strange cat.

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    1. My friends cat actually knew I was pregnant before I did! I was at her place about a week before I tested and he kept coming up to me and curling up on my belly which was super strange because hes not a people person (well not really anyway). He kept nuzzling my belly and snuggling into me, my friends and I were like wtf is wrong with Yoshi.

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  10. Great post! We had a cat when our kids were babies, and I don't remember him really offering an opinion about them one way or the other. He would not have tolerated another cat, I'm sure, but these squalling human things, he didn't really concern him with. Although I do have a great photo of him lying in the baby's bassinet, just before my son was born. He had this great smile on his face, just as though we'd made this wonderful little bed just for HIM! Goofy cat - he's been gone for a few years and I still miss the heck out of him. He was quite the character!

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  11. How adorable! Love to play with babies so much.

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