I get by with a little help from my cats

A month before I got pregnant, Nadia adopted me.

She was a furry black thing, sitting in the middle of the road. I honked. She stared at me audaciously.

What’s that noise, she seemed to say. Take me home, she seemed to imply.

So off in my lunch bag, she went home with me. She took over in the next one hour. It was hers. Everything. Including the husband.

Time passes. I get pregnant. The inevitable question pops up from the people who inevitably ask it.

What are you going to do about the cat?

Actually, I am getting a playmate for her.

What? Another cat? Are you nuts?

Well, I will be busy for a few months when the baby comes. She might feel left out. She needs someone.

God! Never trust a black cat, they told me. And with a baby? Nevvvvaaaahhh…

Toxicoplasmosis. Vendetta. Spite. Jealousy. Asthma. Allergy.

They tried everything.

But  I still went and got Bravo, the only three-legged cat I know. Who actually doesn’t know he has three legs. Legend has it (from the animal shelter I got him from) that Bravo had to be amputated when he was six weeks old as his leg was ridden with maggots from an injury. No one in the city was ready to operate him, as, ironically, no one was qualified to use laughing gas (nitrous oxide, the recommended anaesthetic).

Finally, after a few weeks of being shunted from home to home, office to office, he was operated. When he was barely coming out of anaesthesia, he decided he didn’t like the look of his foot being bandaged. He ripped it off and jumped.

Bravo, they said.

And that’s how he got his name.

Six months later, he got a baby brother. Re.

A year and a half later, I am so grateful. For cats.  For the calm they bring. For all the times they have been his bodyguards when I was busy in the kitchen or on the computer or just off baby duty.  For teaching Re what it means to hug. And cuddle. And nibble. And snuggle. And be independent. And move with grace and agility. For teaching him to share. Space, food,  toys, us. For hating aggression. For being his most favourite toy. And never giving him a dull moment.

For all those dying to know about the dangers of bringing up a baby with cats, I have some news.

I still haven’t visited a paediatrician.

So here’s my life in cat.

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25 thoughts on “I get by with a little help from my cats

  1. Sho sweet the pictures are!!
    Very inspiring the article is…. hope it reaches out to as many people as possible. Dogs are still accepted in some households with kids but cats… its still a big no no. And for some strange reasons/ fears/ misconceptions.
    In fact they r the most cleanest animals around!

  2. I’ve said it before, animals teach us all the good things that human beings can’t – the last picture of your son and Bravo says it all.

    Cheers,
    Sanika

  3. the craziest story I got was that your baby will be raw for the first 40 days and your cat will want to want to eat her….honestly!!!!

  4. i love that you’re exposing your little one to animals. i’ve never been a cat lover but i think that 3rd picture where Re is kissing the cat just converted me.
    just co-existing successfully with an animal can teach a kid way more things than sitting them down and explaining how to share, give, be affectionate, kind, thoughtful, etc…. nice!

  5. Just stumbled upon your blog..and what a chweeet first post for me! I’ve always wanted to grow up with pets and somehow it never happened.. Your baby looks perfectly adorable, cats et al! 🙂 And I agree with Elaine, the kissing pic is the most touching of the lot.. Mowgli style 🙂
    God bless!

  6. Well, you are lucky. It is not so with my (black) cat of five years. He is jealous, both aggressive and scared of our baby. I thought it would settle. Everybody told me it would settle. I have grown up with the most awesome cat myself. But it has not settled. 16 months later, my daughter has not cuddled once with the cat, though she would so love to. It depends on the character of the cat, and mine is obviously too disturbed to adjust. It is really sad since I cannot leave them alone together.

    • Well, I can think of a few things that could have gone wrong. Did you give the cat access to the baby as soon as it came? I was told by my mother to shut the door and keep the cat away, etc, but I realised such things just intensify the insecurities of the animal. It’s like bringing a sibling home to a baby. It takes time and adjustment. And you have to make sure you give each one its due. I allowed both my cats to walk around the crib, smell the baby as soon as it came, and never shut the door on them. Also, I made the baby’s arrival look like a celebration, because every night, both cats got a treat for a few days. These are small things, but they go a long way. Relationships, even with animals, take work.
      Also, were you fearful that the cat might harm the baby? Sometimes, our internal fears are projected outwards, and the baby/animal picks up the vibes.
      I also think love can be expressed in many other ways than cuddling. Not all animals like to be cuddled, so perhaps, you could encourage the baby to play with the cat with a roll of foil, a ball of wool, or just shred some paper together, any activity that they may both enjoy.

      • Yes, the cat had access to the baby from the beginning. Since our baby was born at home, he had all the more access. 😉 I suppose it’s just the way he is. He will not let anyone cuddle with him except for myself and my husband.
        Two years ago I had also adopted a second cat (picked him up from the street), but the two of them would not become friends at all and their fights got more ferocious every day, until I decided to give away Number Two again, which was a stroke of luck for him as he is now a citizen of Bavaria, lucky bum.
        As for our baby, I shall try a couple of more tricks. Thanks for the advise! 🙂

      • Daniela, your cat seems to be holding some intense emotions. Have you tried using Bach flower remedies for your cat. Certain difficult emotions can be dissipated by gentle flower remedies.

  7. Love this post. Have sent it to my husband, he is not very cat freindly, is ok with dogs though. I want to get a cat when the baby is here. My Mother has a cat & dog, so the baby will have them around for some months :). I love animals & want my baby to bond with them so much

  8. Thanks for this lovely post. My own cat has been banned from my room after my daughter was born because she is very quick to get the claws when petted or cuddled. Unfortunately, being in a house with more women who are protective of the little one, there is little I can do to bring them together. She loves sneaking in and sleeping next to the baby though whenever their back is turned. 🙂

  9. What a super cute post. And good job with all the pictures! It is totally adorable watching toddlers and babies love animals. There are no fears, no worries and no boundaries for sure. Gia tends to coddle most cats, but they seem to be super forgiving 🙂

  10. Lovely post! You are really great for adopting ‘bravo’! We were the laughing stock for our relatives because we let them sleep in our bed, sometimes they sit on the dining table and eat whatever we gave them. We never had any allergy because of the cats. They asked us to keep the cats out when they visited us with grown up babies…around 2 year old child. It might scratch her or bite her, they said. But these animals sense people who love them. They run away as soon as they come into the house.

    Re will grow up well and he will know to express love, compassion etc. always.

  11. Pingback: How about baby No. 2: When to have second child

  12. Pingback: Who said parenting means entertaining your children? | mommygolightly

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