Cat Vs. Baby

 

When I found out I was pregnant I received way more advice than I had asked for. Actually, I didn’t ask for much advice at all, but everyone had some to share. One of the hottest topics people liked to bring up was my evil cat.

To be fair, he was evil.

He had a very strange personality. Anytime we had visitors we had to warn them before entering the house that there was a good possibility they would be attacked if they even looked at the white cat too long. Both of our cats reacted the same way to strangers, following them around and friendly seeming. Although that was the case for one of our cats, the other used it as a tactic to surprise his prey. “pet the black one, avoid the white one.”

When we got him, a little over a year before, it was for my stepdaughter’s birthday. Our friend with the kittens told us how independent he was, “he isn’t one to stick with the litter, he started eating cat food a week before the others.” So, of course, we thought he was great, and it didn’t hurt our decision that he was especially adorable with his fluffy white and gray fur. Little did we realize he was independent because he just hated everyone.

The same lady who had given us the kitten came over as he got a little older, and reached down to pet him, despite our warnings. I’m not even sure her hand touched his fur before his claws and teeth found their way into her arm. With some triple antibiotic and a few Band-Aids, she was fixed up with minimal blood loss. She didn’t need stitches, so that has to be somewhat comforting.

My mom was in town visiting from out of state, after a few days, the cat had gotten somewhat used to her presence. I told her that just because he was okay with being pet for a few seconds, did not mean he wanted to be picked up. She assumed since he was kind of alright with me holding him that she would be fine. The gash his teeth left in her eyebrow showed otherwise.

I’m sure you may be finding yourself a little worried at this point about our fluffy white cat. (You have to admit, he sounds pretty cute!) I was obviously too. I knew no one would be able to give him a good home. He only liked my husband, my stepchildren, and I, and that wasn’t even a guaranteed thing. I pet him too long for his liking enough times to know that his love for me was conditional. His tolerance for his family only lasted until he lifted his chin, the warning sign that we could be bitten at any given moment.

I also knew that despite his bad attitude and everyone else’s dislike of him, he was loved by everyone living in my house. He was our first family pet and we had grown fond of the rules he made us live by. Finding him a new home was not in the cards.

During the months I spent gearing up to become the mother of a newborn, I did quite a bit of online searches about introducing the cats to a baby. I had it in my mind that the best tactic was to separate them as much as possible and let both cats get used to the baby from a distance before actually letting them meet.

I came home from the hospital, my newborn daughter strapped in her car seat and my cats ever so curious about the sleeping new human. I did not follow my original plan. I placed the car seat right down on the living room floor, situating myself in front of it with my arm out to hold the cats back a certain distance. This probably wasn’t the greatest thinking on my part, they could have easily gotten to her if they wanted to. (I would like to state for the record that I have not always made the best decisions as a mom, and I’m perfectly okay with that.)

My expectations were based on what I had read and heard from friends and family members, that the cats would not like the new addition right away.

Here comes Mr. Cat, (not the name white fluffy cat was given as a kitten, but the name he earned after his demanding need for respect) to see the baby. He sniffed around her feet for a while, turned around and sat down, right in front of her car seat. The black cat comes up to have his turn, and Mr. Cat hissed at him. That was enough for the black cat to lose all interest.

I am sure that his actions can be explained in some other way or form, but I choose to believe he was protecting the new little girl that was now a part of his kingdom.

Both cats turned out to be okay. Neither cared much after their initial investigation the day I sat the car seat down for them to see. Turns out, my cats failed to meet my expectations of feeling neglected because of having a new family member. They really could not have cared less.

I’d like to say that evil cat became that girls best friend, but that isn’t the case. He sat near her often, but he didn’t get too close or show interest in her schedule. As she grew older and became mobile, he did hiss at her when she started showing an interest in him by pulling his fur. He never once hurt her though.

What I can tell you is that his heart softened. He accepted her and showed her more patience than he did anyone else in our family. He was perfectly okay with having a new family member and I know that he loved her in his own special way. No amount of research or advice could have told me that even the meanest cat isn’t immune to the love and joy of a new baby.

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