Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Petmature Worry

So I'm not sure if you guys are aware of this, but Dan and I have two cats. I know, it's so crazy that I never talk about them. Never, ever, ever.


Especially not when I go to parties, never forcing Dan to squirm in embarrassment when the subject of pets is brought up because I would never jump in and be all, "I have pets! Who wants to hear about them?!"

I'm chill like that.

But when you're having a baby and people find out you have pets, oh my are they ever opinionated about your animals having to STAY AWAY FROM THE BABY. Quite seriously, across telephone lines and dinner tables, people speak slowly and seriously to you like you're stunted, warning you that your animals cannot be anywhere near the baby's room; never leave them unattended with the baby; in fact, maybe just chuck them out because now you have a real baby to care for: the animals were only practice.

(Obviously no one said the last part to me, but an alarming number of people seriously support this decision.)

"You're still going to love me, right?"

There is an old wives' tale about cats sucking a baby's breath. This is the stupidest idea I have ever heard, and it originates back to those glorious days of Puritan fear when everyone was afraid of witches, and cats became symbolically associated with witches and the supposed evil they brewed. You mixed women who were going against a societal norm--by being unwed and without children--with the fact they most commonly befriended a species of animal that is standoffish and reclusive by nature and *boom*, you got deep rooted suspicion, panic, and asshole ideas.

People are awesome.

So as it is physically impossible for a cat to 'suck' a baby's breath ("Hey, let's just perform a little reverse CPR on this interloper WHO'S RUINED OUR LIFE") the new concern is that cats are sneaky little beings who are going to smother your baby ON PURPOSE.

One family member has stressed to me--more than once--that I need to make sure the cats don't smother the baby because it happens a lot and if I don't believe her, I should know she just heard on the radio how a cat went and lay on a baby's face and...


I have had this conversation more than once.

Dan and I are not generally concerned about how our cats are going to be around the baby. We know for sure that Cosmo is going to be super interested in the baby and that Poppy will be afraid of the change and hide under the bed for a week. We aren't too worried about the cats being in the baby's room when we're in there, and the crib and all baby blankets are obviously off-limits because WE AREN'T STUPID. However, our laid-back no-worries attitude is causing stress to some people we speak to and it's ridiculous.

Of course everyone has heard some horror story that happened to a cousin of a friend of a guy they work with, but I am going to go out on a limb and state that those are exceptions, not rules, of animal behaviour around infants; of course I find the stories shocking, but I didn't know the owners first hand, I didn't know the animal first hand, I didn't see the situation, and I don't know how closely this third hand information still resembles the truth, so I'm not about to assume the same thing will happen to me.

Of course we believe it's smart to take reasonable precautions before a baby is born, and for us this means that we have been sporadically closing the door to the baby's future room just so the cats know that sometimes they don't have access to this room. By the time the baby comes, they will be used to the fact the door to that room is shut.

When the baby comes we don't have plans to be all, "Hey Cosmo, can you please baby-sit while we go to the movies?" (we'll actually leave Poppy in charge), and we're going to be careful about how in-your-face they get with the baby. We have also talked a lot about making sure the cats still get quality attention because it is the complete alienation of the animal--who was once the centre of your universe--when baby comes home that causes it to act out. That is just a fact. We don't yet know how we will balance this attention because the baby isn't here, but we are conscious of it and know we will never disregard Cosmo and Poppy.

It would also absolutely break my heart to completely ignore them and start finding them to be a nuisance. They have been our little pals for nine years, and they will always be our adored little buddies. Having a baby can never change their importance in our lives as the purring little lovelies who have always made our home more homey.

"As long as I can still follow you from room-to-room all day, I'm cool."

We are really not worried about cats + baby.

How about you? Did you have any pet anxieties?


JĂșlia said...

You wont believe it but i live in zurich,im 27weeks pregnant and have 2 cats! I know how ypu feel but mim sure my pets will make life for mykid more enjoyable!

Ais said...

It's actually been proven that exposing your child to pets within the first year (has to be the first year) of their life will highly reduce their chances of having pet allergies later in life.

Caitie said...

Julia--Congratulations and thanks for stopping by!

Ais--I heard the same thing, too. I definitely haven't been worried about allergies, either! hahaha.

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely a pet person, but here in England they're all freaked out about some bacteria that is often in cat poo, and can make young babies really ill. I didn't follow the details too closely, since we don't have a cat, but it seems a pretty pervasive concern. Maybe something to look into?? Xx Crystal