We didn’t have any pets when I was a child (apart from a goldfish…I liberated it from a fair…it doesn’t count)
Shortly after we got married the Turk and I adopted two cats from Gumtree, their owner was departing for Brazil (taking Daisy the whippet with him) but couldn’t also take his two cats. I’ve always loved cats…the Turk hasn’t…we got the cats.
Now our cats were a tad spoiled (on no less than three occasions the Turk climbed local trees to retrieve fat cat) and despite his reservations it was the Turk who found and rescued skinny cat when he was chased away by a dog into the next but one estate…it was quite an achievement and I was overjoyed to be called to go and persuade him out of the locked shed…we had to take the door off to get him out…I’m not going into that story any more….
Anyway once I was pregnant I was besieged with messages of woe about having to get rid of the cats. What was this? Surely thousands of people successfully manage to have babies AND cats? Of course I was careful, I have only ever cleaned up poo on a handful of occasions (a task mainly reserved for the Turk) and our cats are largely housetrained so go outdoors anyway. I had my blood test for toxoplasmosis (naturally, hating needles but given I had to have a pre-eclampsia test every 2 weeks I guessed one more wouldn’t make a difference) and was fastidious about cleaning my hands after touching the cats.
The Turk was adamant that it was dangerous to have the “dirty” cats around whilst pregnant. Bearing in mind that I was living in a house with no roof or back wall, 100 year old plasterboard being demolished around me, and a fear that we may discover asbestos hanging over us, throughout my entire pregnancy; I was less concerned about the cats.
Once the baby arrived there were more warnings, mainly involving the cats finding the baby alone and sleeping on his face. I googled this regularly and found no reports of this actually happening. I duly purchased a cat net, but given Jem was never alone in his buggy (because we were by this point living on the 3rd floor and the buggy had to be dismantled every time I went up or down the stairs) and I tried putting the cat net over the moses basket when he slept in there, but given he only slept in it when I was in bed next to him (for a grand total of 2 hours every night…) and the bedroom door shut, it seemed a little pointless.
In fact our cats didn’t seem very interested in Jem at all. They got over the initial shock of the noise relatively quickly, but I could tell from the looks that there was no love lost there. For one thing the constant (and I mean CONSTANT) crying irritated them and disturbed their sleep (all 5 of us were sharing a very small space so they couldn’t get away from it). Moreover there were now no laps for sitting on!!! The Turk didn’t want them anywhere near him even when he was around (for fear of contaminating the baby with cat germs) and I couldn’t physically manage either of them as I always had a
screaming baby in my arms. Poor things were rather neglected.
They soon got used to him, and once he was a little older and able to lay on his front they started to take an interest in each other. Jem loved them and literally squealed with excitement the first time fat cat came and sat with him once he was old enough to comprehend. Skinny cat was brave and came nearer, we taught Jem to stroke him (gie gie, gently, gently) at 5 months which was fantastic (the Turk eagerly cleaning hands with wet wipe immediately after of course).
Then the boy learned to move…we barely see the cats now…
It has provoked a more important issue…Jem would much rather play with the cat toys than his own…and eat cat food…and use the water bowl as a plaything…don’t mention it to the Turk…