Thursday, October 21, 2010

How Do You Feel About Your Pets Now?

When I started TTC-ing, my 3 cats were the biggest loves of my life (besides Chicken of course).
Throughout pregnancy those cats stayed by my side, though the upkeep of the two geriatric cats was seriously starting to leave me irritated simply because all that bending over HURT.

Somewhere in the 3rd trimester, (or was it the 2nd?) I had to kick them all out of the bed because they were disturbing my sleep. After 18 years, I had to close the door. I felt bad for them, but worse when I couldn't sleep because of them.
I fretted that the two 18 year olds would die; they couldn't last much longer with their declining health. I wished that the 'time' would come while I was pregnant so I wouldn't have to deal with their death once the twins arrived.
I also didn't want them to spend their last days feeling neglected, because while I in no way could predict just how drastically life with a baby/babies would change things up, I knew the cats wouldn't be priority anymore.
Trying to imagine that wasn't possible, but friends with pets kept saying...."just wait, you'll see."
And so when the time came to put the 2 old cats to sleep, I was devastated but in retrospect I'm so happy it happened AFTER the twin's arrival. I didn't have much time to cry over it. I think if I'd had to do that while pregnant I would've been so depressed and since I was on *bedrest* and unemployed, I would have had way too much time to think about it and let it suck me under.

Now we're left with just one youngish cat. He's 6 and he's the lowest maintainance cat I've ever had--exactly what we need with twin babies! I feel bad for him sometimes, because while we don't 'forget' about him, we also don't shower him with attention or play with him the way we used to. It's just not possible.

I'd love to leave our bedroom door open, stop the squeaky hinge from squeaking and let the cat sleep with us. But I cannot STAND it because he's on/off/on/off and he wakes me up. At this point, no one had better f*ck with my sleep and if he sneaks in and wakes me up, I am LIVID.
I never saw that coming--how I feel about my cat--but the babies and my sleep have taken massive priority.

I just had this conversation with a pregnant (with twins) lady who swore she would never feel that way. She just loved her cats too much. Yes, so did I! You can't explain that shift to people who are pregnant. Everyone kept telling me how the cats would practically become invisible and while we still enjoy his company in the evenings, he is probably a bit lonely. He lost his two kitty friends and now he's lost a bit of us as well.
Poor Cat!

For those of you with pets, how do you feel about your pets now? Do you find it difficult to keep up with their needs and the baby?
I have a hard time remembering to feed, water and scoop the poop of ONE cat. I can't imagine having 3 anymore and can't even fathom the upkeep of a dog or two.
Curious how others feel....

***I just want to add that we are in no way neglecting "Poor Cat". I have moved from Texas to Florida to Mass to NJ to NY in the last 12 years and took 4 cats with me in a single cab pickup truck by myself (oh yeah...I was that lesbian with a truck, did you see that coming??)
I LOVED my cats and always made sure that they had the best life. Poor Cat has an awesome life, just a little less awesome now that he's not the center of attention.
Oh, and the babies? I think their first word will be "Kitty". They LOVE him. Him? Not so much lovin' the babies....yet!

19 comments:

Schroedinger said...

I am fretting about the animals (four dogs, four cats for anyone who wasn't counting) after Speetus' arrival, but I feel like 1) they have each other (and they do entertain each other as much as they annoy each other); and 2) cat-feeding, cleaning and dog-walking are as much a part of my daily ritual as going to work, going to the gym, fixing food.

I know that things will shift-- that my BFF cat will probably no longer sleep on my pillow because there will be a co-sleeper next to the bed-- but I am not so much worried that they will feel neglected. The dogs are essentially lazy so the walks are kind of about appeasing me and my need to nurture them. If the walks have to be cut back, I think the dogs will be fine with it. The cats? Well, if they get fed, they really don't care that much about anything else. Maybe with MORE animals, the guilt is less, because while they all get attention and love, they don't exactly get showered with it, because otherwise we wouldn't have time to pick up all the poop!

Mommies Making Miracles said...

We loved our kitty so much. When laurie was pregnant we'd joke that we'd give the kid away before the cat if the baby was allergic... Ha! When Ryan came along, poor snickers took the back seat... We felt like, baby trumped cat and that is just the way it was. She has now been passed away for about 2 months or so...and I'd have to admit... I'm lovin' not having to clean a litter box! But, I do miss her...she was a good kitty.

Casey said...

The dogs definitely drive me a little crazier these days. But Bird LOVES them and adores the cats SO much that it's been fine. I do find myself thinking that I could do without quite so MANY animals though. We have four cats and two dogs.

Ruby at Breathedragon said...

You were that lesbian with the truck AND THE CATS!

Everyone tells me that my dog (also the love of my life) is going to be in for quite a shock when the baby comes blah blah blah, and I keep insisting that she is my first born. But I know things will shift. Luckily, Rose has trained her to sleep on the floor, and she is a pretty low-maintenance dog in terms of being efficient on walks and not needing a ton of exercise. But she BARKS! She is a Sheltie, and Shelties just bark. I am about to do something I really never wanted to do, which is get her a no-bark collar. Not the shock kind, but the kind that sprays citranella in the dog's face when she barks. I always thought that would be cruel torture for a breed that is hardwired to bark, but I'm also thinking...once the baby comes, nobody had better f*ck with my sleep, or his! I know she will become "Poor Dog" as well, though I do hold onto the fantasy that the three of us will take nice long walks together most days...I guess we'll see.

nutella said...

Strawberry is very allergic to cats and I'm allergic to dogs. I had a cat when we met, and when we moved in together the cat got her own room. When it came time for TTC, we know that would be the baby's room and so sadly I had to find a new home for the cat. It's a wonderful home and she's quite spoiled, but I miss her. We do have the world's most cat-like chihuahua. Strawberry had her from 10 weeks old and she's very well trained, only barks if someone opens our gate or knocks, then looks embarrassed about barking. We have always had a strict "no pets in the bedroom" rule.

Now that Miles is here, the chihuahua gets very different attention. She ADORES him and the feeling is mutual. She waits patiently at the foot of his high chair hoping for hand outs and gives kisses on command. He leans in for them. We are working on him being gentle with her, since she's small. And after he's asleep, she's still welcome to sit on our laps if we're watching tv.

Where she suffers a bit is on travel. We used to take her with us almost everywhere, sneaking her into hotel rooms and carrying her in a bag in shops and restaurants. But taking both the dog and the baby is a bit much, so most often she stays with someone else now. Of course, those people often let her sleep in their beds, so I don't think she minds.

AdventuresInBabyMaking said...

Funny, I was just thinking about this. I, too, had always heard that we will forget we even have cats, even though they are our babies (yes, it’s very lesbianic). I scoffed. But I have to say it’s kinda true. We certainly haven’t forgotten them, but they don’t get nearly the attention they used to. When we have a free moment (or when we look like we have a free moment), they will come up and pretty forcefully push their heads into our hands, wanting some petting, which they then get. They are more vocal, too. I think they’ve realized that they have to seek out the attention now. Our little girl cat is usually kind of standoffish, but she’s been sleeping in the bed more, to be closer to us. I try to make sure I stop and give them some scratches when I see them, even if it’s pretty quick. I hope we’ll have more time for them later, but I wonder if we’ll actually have less time, once we have crawlers/ walkers?

Nicole said...

We don't have a kid yet but I think about this issue ALL the time. Our pup is almost 11 and not in good health. We've both accepted that she's gonna go sooner rather than later, but I hope, hope, hope I'm pregnant before we have to put her down. Col is going to fall apart into a puddle when Samba goes. She's had her since she was a puppy and is literally her best friend. I figure at least if I'm pregnant there will be that to look forward to. And if by some miracle she's still here when a baby comes, well, that's actually a bit much for me to think about.

The Definition of Mom said...

We have a dog, so I think it maybe different! We still are all about our doggy, and she loves having me home to hang out with her during the day, she comes on all the walks with me and the babies, and she adores the twins, it's cute! Our doggy barks like a mad lady at the mailman and anyone else coming to the house and the babies sleep right through it! For us it really is our dogs personality, she sees the babies as her little people and is responsive and protective of them(she keeps me company during those late night feedings!).

glamcookie said...

Preach it. We have 3 kitties that were totally like our kids before baby arrived. I never would have predicted the shift that happened post-baby. I still love my kitties, but they definitely take a way back seat to my baby. We used to say that we couldn't wait to move into a house and have more kitties, but now we are like hell no! 1 maybe 2 at a time in the future. Cleaning the litter box and feeding the cats feel like major tasks now where they just didn't pre-Shane. I feel bad for the major shift for them, but it's life. At least they have each other? Baby absolutely LOVES them, much to their dismay.

Jackie said...

We were completely in love with our dog before L arrived. And now... well, we still love him, but his care now just seems like so much more work, and definitely takes a back seat to the baby. And the stuff he does that we used to think was cute is now kind of annoying. Does he really need to "protect us" anytime someone in the building goes up and down the stairs? L adores him, though, which is the most enjoyable part these days. :)

Deanna said...

I stopped by from a comment on another blog, and this post was just what I needed to read! My husband and I had two dogs when our twins were born 18 months ago. The dogs were pretty much a handful to start with (barking, escaping, fighting, territorial... we just had high-strung dogs, I think), but we loved them and told everyone that they would always be our first 'babies'.

Well. You obviously understand the shock and lifestyle change that comes along with adding two babies to a family, and our dogs just became too much! They stayed at my mom's for quite awhile, then after they escaped AGAIN, we just had to let them go to new homes.

It was hard, and I have struggled a lot with guilt over kicking them out. Reading your thoughts with your cats and babies made me feel a little better...at least I'm not alone, I guess!

Loralou said...

Totally know how you feel. I feel so sorry for my two but they just totally irritate me! Before children they were my whole world and I would never have imagined that they would ever annoy me.
Alfie came into the bedroom this morning and meowed and I went livid as Charlie started to stir! Damn cat. Then he comes and sits on Charlie whilst I am trying to breastfeed him...poor thing he knows. Ack I would never get rid of them, but sometimes wonder......

K J and the kids said...

I will tell you that I DID neglect the dog..who was my BABY until Syd came along. She's the worlds best and most perfect dog (except barking when the doorbell rings or someone knocks) but seriously is the sweetest most perfect dog.
I didn't like her. I would scream at her when she barked and woke a sleeping baby up. I was mean. I hated the poop clean up and that she would eat food that dropped from a newly eating babies tray before I could recover it and put it back on the tray. I would trip over her all of the time. She was always under my feet. She would bump a newly walking baby over trying to get to the door first. ugh.
We tried giving her away. She's older so nobody wanted her. It was terrible.
About 6 months ago....something happened and my stress and anger that I held against that poor sweet dog was lifted. I am SOOO glad that I didn't give her away. I feel terrible about those few years that my stress at home was taken out on the dog. and I would give anything to take it all back. She's an old lady dog now and though I don't give her the kind of attention she got pre kids...she certainly gets lovin from me and the kids.
Poor sweet Sadie. I love that dog.
After she's gone. NO DOGS. For a while.

reproducinggenius said...

We have three cats (9, 11, & 12), and they have sadly taken a back seat since BG was born. He absolutely adores them, though, and they may as well be celebrities to him (one of his first words was "cat," and it's still among his favorites). Three cats and a baby is too much though, and we have often considered finding a new home for the nine-year-old who seems to really hate the baby with a passion. We've decided that once these three are gone, maybe we'll get a dog--maybe not. It might be nice to be animal-free for awhile. (And yes, we've actually confided to each other that it would be okay if they found new homes now.) It's a surprising thing, really, because these cats were our kids for so very long.

Jen said...

Yes, yes, yes! I too said that our pets would always be our kids, but it totally changes when there is an actual 2 legged kid! Our pug, Lulu was our baby. Now, she droves me crazy. Tiff gets mad at me because I do not baby her or have the patience, but chunk is my priority. She still sleeps with us, but there have been nights I have slept in the guest bed because her panting and licking drives me crazy and I need sleep...

Pamela said...

2 cats and 2 dogs. My attitude to them also totally changed, especially in the beginning. I did not even want to touch them because then I would have to go and wash my hands immediately or get hair on myself. My little one is 8 months and I have relaxed a little. I try and spoil them abit after the baby is in bed.

vee said...

I'm glad I took the time to read the comments, because KJ has given me hope. We have a dog and two cats and honestly, since BB came along, I have found myself so short with them. I think the kid takes up all my patience and sweetness (and I have it in bucket-loads for him) that there's nothing left for the animals. One cat is nervy (always has been) and dithers for ever before coming into the house, and whereas before I would coax him gently, now I just want to slam the door in his face. The dog is constantly under my feet and scrounging dropped food and we both yell at him all the time. He's snappish and growls at BB too sometimes and that infuriates me, though I know it's undoubtedly our fault for handling him badly. It brought us up short though when BB shouted at him too recently. We've booked a dog psychologist to come and help us get into better patterns of managing this behaviour (the dog's and our own). If you'd told me I'd EVER feel like this after having a kid, especially about my dog, I would NEVER have believed it.

j.k-c. said...

We were sitting at an outside table at a local sandwich place and the girl inside was cleaning the windows and had climbed up on the window sill. Little J shook his finger at her and yelled, "No, no, GET DOWN!!" We cracked up and then realized that is EXACTLY what we yell at the cats all.the.time! Whenever he sees the cats he shakes his finger and says "no, no." We are working hard to model kind, gentle and affectionate behavior toward the cats now - but sometimes they are such a pain.

K said...

This. Exactly. My dog went from being my child to my borderline-neglected pet and... do we still have 2 cats wandering around our house? Think so. A group of coworkers were talking about this the other day and one (new mom) told another (pregnant) "You know that dog you love so much now? After the baby comes he will annoy the crap out of you. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but there is a major shift, and it's sad. :-(