Mops has been part of our family since he was 4 months old and has lived with us for the past 5 years. He was a semi wild farm cat when we first got him and he was so terrified of us (people in general) at first. But with a little time, some food and a few warm evenings in front of the wood burner, he began to trust us more and more and started to follow us all around the house. We both have a fabulous relationship with Mops, but him and my boyfriend are BFFs. Mops knows that he can go to Sam for some rough play, he knows he won't say 'ouch!' when he play bites or grabs your hand. He does this thing where he likes to bite Sam on the nose, never viciously, as though to hold him.
Mops doesn't like having visitors round, he usually runs upstairs if he hears the door bell go. But there are some exceptions of course. Anyone who looks after him while we're away or anyone who can offer him a comfortable seat in front of the TV in the evenings. Mops thinks our bedroom is actually his and any opportunity, he will get on the bed and sleep there, all day. His favourite place is to take my place in bed as soon as I'm up, seeing as I did such a good job keeping the bed warm for him all night. He doesn't mind being picked up and just generally loves to spend time with us whatever we're doing.
Sali we've had for about 3 and a half years. She also came to us at 4 months from a friend who couldn't keep his cats as he had to move to a new home which didn't allow pets. I genuinely believe that Sali and I have a very special bond. She takes turn in conversation and trusts me completely. She doesn't get on with Sam as well as Mops does as I think she finds him a bit unpredictable and much prefers my way of play, which is to talk to her and massage her. She often gives me a massage back too. She is the friendliest cat I've ever met and I think sometimes she is a little confused about her identity as she spent the first 4 months of her life living with a dog. Many of her mannerisms are dog like. Sali doesn't like to be picked up usually, but she lets you know when she wants to be picked up and hugged. She is also a little agony aunt for me. She picks up when I feel down and will nuzzle my face and try to climb under my chin.
Luckily both our cats get on very well. Getting them together initially was hard work and heart breaking! Especially as Mops always looked so betrayed. But he soon asserted himself as the boss which Sali is fine with. Occasionally they have the odd scuffle, usually play, sometimes its a little more serious but thankfully they know the rules and accept that they have to live together.
Yep we love them very much. Sometimes I worry that I won't love my baby as much as my cats! (I'm joking obviously.... kinda).
I'm so very worried that introducing a baby into the house is going to really upset Mops and Sali. Sali has always been more interested in children than Mops, Mops seems terrified of them. Sali is fairly laid back so I'm not as worried about her, except for when she wants a hug and I can't give her one for whatever reason. We've tried to make sure that there are plenty of places to for the cats to go to get away from the baby if they need to. They'll pretty much have access to the attic room through the day and will be kept down stairs at night.
I trust these cats completely, but until they have got used to the fact that baby is here, baby is here to stay and baby comes first I will not be leaving the cats unattended with baby. As I said earlier Mops seems afraid of children, when Mops gets spooked he panics and I worry that he might jump in the wrong direction, or may try to play with baby the way he plays with Sam. Sali I'm sure will be quite maternal. She has never ever played rough with people (only Mops). We even tried to get her to grab us with her mouth like Mops does but she just won't. She's very careful around people. However, Sali doesn't realise how sharp her claws are. I mean cats claws are sharp, but Sali's really are like needles compared to Mops. She's also very heavy on her feet. When she walks across the bed at night you know about it. It's like she's wearing steel boots. She loves a snug, warm cuddle so I worry she will get into the baby's basket.
So I'm looking for advice. What have you done to ease the shock of a new baby on your pets? How have you shown them that you still care for them, but baby comes first?