This is a frequently asked question in our house, addressed to our tabby cat. She usually replies by saying “mrrrrrrp?” or “whrrrr.” We do not speak Cat, so we don’t understand her reply, but reckon we’re not missing much because she doesn’t speak English and has a brain the size of a walnut.
We have two cats, Quinn and Zeno– though I suspect Zeno is actually a small ham dressed as a cat– and while discussing pregnancy with some stranger on a forum the other day I was asked, “Have you prepared your cats?” I was tempted to reply, “What, like in a sauce?”
There are stories out there of pets reacting badly to newborns. I read somewhere about a dalmatian that spent the first six weeks of its owners’ child’s life with its head stuck pointedly in the fireplace surround. There is also the old wives’ tale that says cats will smother a baby given half a chance (there are actually no documented cases of this ever happening). I know several of the Rules of Cats, e.g.:
42. When I see a box, I get in it.
27. If you are reading it, I will sit on it.
15. When in doubt, I will groom myself.
… and the only one that concerns me regarding Baby’s welfare is:
48: You are never soft enough.
You know how cats will stand on a thing, purring drunkenly, and knead it over and over again with their claws (I recently lost a nice merino wool cardigan to this behavior)? I would prefer the cats stay away from my offspring, especially because Zeno will most likely outweigh the poor kid by almost ten pounds when she’s first born. So I bought a cot cat net (is there a http://www.cotcatnet.net? there should be). Let’s hope it works, or else I may be asking my father-in-law to whip up something electrified.
For the record, here is how I think the cats will react:
Zeno, having determined the newborn is not edible, will ignore her until she is big enough to chase him.
Quinn will pine for the days when she and she alone occupied Trev’s lap. She adores Trev. She goes to meet him at the door when he comes home from work. She follows him around the house. She sits on his head at three in the morning, a sure sign of affection. I do not think she will like being banned from the bedroom.
Tough titty, kitty.