Friday, September 26, 2008

Will the Cats Love My Baby?

Or, equally as important, Will the Baby Love My Cats or Will I Need to Release the Baby into the Wild for Wolves to Raise?

I have had a couple of people comment about the cats, and whether I'd get rid of them if for some reason there was a problem with the baby and them, or comment that they'd be interested to see how much spoil the cats once the baby comes. It is something that I think about, so I thought I'd explain myself a bit.

If, when the baby is born, there is a problem with the cats, I will go to every length possible to sort out the issue. I will hire behavioral experts, I will read books, I will do everything I can. And then as a last resort I will keep them separated, and if that still doesn't work, I don't know what my heartbroken self will do.  

I have had Lucy since she was 2. She is now 10 years old, and she has been my best friend this whole time. There have been some hard time, some sad times, some times when I went to bed crying every night. For months. There were weekends I didn't leave my bed. There were nights where I drank so much wine, I collapsed sobbing at my computer, writing tortured poems full of self-loathing and shame. Throughout the whole thing, Lucy always cuddled up to me and purred loudly and slept right with me and always ran to see me when I got home, and spent all her time within five feet of me.

Even now, she is sitting at my feet while I type this. She is old now, and not so spry, and she sleeps more than she eats (which was a ratio I'd never thought I'd see). The thought of abandoning her in her senior years is appalling to me. I can't do it. She has given me everything she's had to give all this time. She has been steadfastly devoted to me since the moment I met her.

The way we spoil them, well that is simply routine at this point. I've given my cats wet food for dinner for at least 7 years now. It is as natural as pouring a glass of water for me. The Pope has done the litter for the last several years, so that will stay the same, and the only thing I can think that will change is the attention that they currently get. But as much as we know the baby will take everything, the cats don't actually ask for much. A lap, a leg when we're sleeping, and brushing once in a while if we feel like it. 

And they're our friends, our family members, they are as much a part of who we are as anything else I can think of.  

We have Comcast cable, which has this great feature called On Demand.  They have a pet channel, and I found a brief show called "How to Acclimate Your Cat to a New Baby."  I was extremely eager to watch this, and selected it.   To my surprise, it was about 4 minutes long.  It said that cats are pretty neutral about babies, for the most part, and as long as you make sure not to ignore the cat completely, they generally get along fine with the new addition to the family.  And that was it. 

Being that Lucy is one of the most constant and loving friends I've ever known,  I think we'll be fine.   

If not, I will change the baby's name to Romulus.   Regardless of sex.


Anonymous said...

Bart was scared of Rene when I had her, because of her little outburst. Yes I know some things never change. He would come walking into the room all relaxed and then she would laugh or coo and he would jump to the ceiling. It was really funny. The first couple years of her life he kept a good distance until she was about 4. Then he became her protector. Anytime she was upset or cried he would allways be by her side making sure she was ok. Ofcourse teaching her to give him kitty treats helped too;-)

Julie said...

That's how I got my Charlotte. Her previous family had a baby, and apparently she sat on the baby, so they decided to give her up. I was astounded that they would be able to give her up after 6 years in their family, but it turned out for the best for both Charlotte and me. She seems like a completely different cat from when I first went over to their house to meet her. She seems much happier and friendlier. I'm so glad I could give that to her!! But seriously, I was like, um... move the crib so the cat can't jump in there or keep the baby and the cat separate for crying out loud!

I have a friend who has a 5+ year old cat, Sammy, and an 18 month-old daughter, Scarlett. They're best buds. In fact I have the most adorable picture on my refrigerator of Scarlett sitting on the floor with her arm around Sammy, and Sammy has this look on his face like he's stoned. It's the best thing EVER, and it makes me laugh every time I walk into the kitchen. I hope your kids get along like that.

skroll said...

I can't imagine you giving up your first "kids" for the baby, especially at thier ages. They'll be totally fine! I love Devi's story about the cat jumping to the ceiling. It's funny with our Paws, she has always been the protecter of the Princess. But now, she just wants to escape the contstant "love and attentionn" the Princess "bestows" on her. Paws is always looking at me like, "please help me"!

Salome said...

Good tip on the kitty treats!! I wish I could have met Bart, he sound like the coolest cat! Speaking of which, how are Leo and Tabitha doing with Rocko?