Lately, Lou has been talking to my favorite cat. “Mia,” he’ll coo, “are you ready to be neglected as hell?”
I’m three months pregnant with my first baby and though I occasionally wrestle with the many expected fears that come with this upcoming change (birth, baby’s health, finances, marriage, etc.) it’s the cats I worry about most.
I’ve seen what a new baby does to a household with pets.
Before baby, dogs and cats were adored. They were featured in selfies and throwback Thursdays were filled with adorable shots of kittens and puppies. At the end of the day, pets happily hopped onto laps for kisses, cuddles and neck-scratches.
Then baby happens.
Cats get squirted with water and are banned from entire sections of the house. Dogs are scolded for walking in a room or whining for just a scrap of attention. Litter boxes overflow and nightly walks are a thing of the past. The cuddles and smooches are replaced with, “OFF!”, “NO!”, and “GO OUTSIDE!”
“You don’t have to be like that,” a friend told me. “My best friend from high school has three kids and three cats and she still loves her cats just as much as she did before.”
Then my friend went on to describe how one of the kids accidentally stepped on the oldest cat’s tail, dislocated it, and the cat died on the operating table later that day.
I intellectually understand (because my friends have described this to me) that when you see your baby for the first time, you feel a love you’ve never felt before and it’s a love that was previously beyond your imagination. It’s hard-wired. It’s biological. There’s no fighting it.
I’m sure this is true and it makes me fear for my pets. Because I don’t think I’m extraordinary enough to be the exception. I bet that after I have this baby I’ll read this post, shake my head, and say, “The girl who wrote this blog just had no idea what love really meant.”