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Cats and Kids part 1

by chinamummy 

Posted: 23 September 2003
Word Count: 724
Summary: Adopting twin babies was tough enough, trying to explain the invasion of their territory to my six cats was even harder. This is the first in a series of columns I write for the monthly magazien Your Cat.

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Living with Cats and Kids

When I began to fill my home with cats after I got married, I knew that someday, way into the future, I’d have to face the possibility of integrating a baby into our cosy feline household.
Like most cat owning, would-be parents I always assumed that when the time came the six cats who ruled the household would have the 9 months of pregnancy and pre-baby preparation to get used to the idea of a new status-quo. I had enough friends who had taken the plunge into motherhood as well as sharing their home with one or more cats that the changes in my body and emotional state would be a good indicator to the cats that a new arrival was imminent. Nature, however, had other ideas.
When babies didn’t arrive the conventional way my ever indulgent husband agreed to us adopting. After looking into all the options open to us we settled on adopting a baby girl from China. So many ignorant people asked us whether we’d get to ‘choose’ our own baby. So many times I patiently explained that it wasn’t at all the same thing as rescuing a kitten from Cats Protection or the RSPCA, where within reason, you can have a say in which cat you give a home to. And in my heart of hearts I was profoundly thankful that it wasn’t. Whenever I had chosen to give a home to a cat I’d always left the rescue centre struggling against tears because of the poor creatures left behind, so my emotional state if I’d have had to choose one baby over hundreds of others doesn’t bear thinking about.
While we waited for all the formalities and paper work to slowly grind its way through the red tape of bureaucracy so that the Chinese authorities could choose a baby for us I tried gently to break the news to the six furry ‘babies’ that I already had. I’d snuggle up with them all, crushed under the heavy weights of big Stanley and muscular Henry, tickled by the Persian fur of Bluebell and Holly and scratched by the affectionate clawing of Sasha and BJ. Once they’d finally made themselves snug at the expense of my own comfort I’d begin to explain that at sometime soon there would be a new addition to the clan and that all six of them would have to make room for the new addition. I’d try to prepare them for the fact that the prime cosy spot that was in fact my knee would be pretty much taken up a lot of the time, and that the spare bedroom, their own private relaxation chamber, would soon be out of bounds to them once it became the nursery. It didn’t do a scrap of good.
All six of them would gaze up at me with pity in their eyes, convinced that I was talking gibberish and that the person over whom they had total domination would never rebel in such a way as to introduce a new factor into our cosy set up. Certainly not a factor that would shake the whole foundations of their hedonistic lifestyle. To them it was the unthinkable.
Over the weeks while we kept waiting for news from China I’d try again with each cat individually, murmuring words of love to each of them, interspersed with half apologetic explanations about the new baby. Again, not one of them took the slightest notice of me. As far as they were concerned there was no way that I’d ever let another creature come between them and their comfortable and ordered life.
Imagine my mingled delight and horror when in their wisdom the Chinese authorities chose twin girls for us to adopt! For my husband and I it was like all our Christmases had come at once, two babies instead of the expected one was more than we could have ever hoped for yet the thought of trying to introduce two new babies to the feline lords of the house caused me more than a few sleepless nights. Eventually I chickened out. We flew to China to collect the twins without ever mentioning the words “two” and “babies” to the cats. Coping with their reaction was something I’d have to think about when I returned.

END (word count 715)

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Comments by other Members

bjlangley at 09:10 on 24 September 2003  Report this post
Claire, I found that both enjoyable and light-hearted. It seems perfect for a column in a magazine, as you say it's appearing in 'Your Cat'.
Over the coming months I can see many people enjoying your column.

chinamummy at 10:16 on 24 September 2003  Report this post
Thanks Ben.

Richard Brown at 10:27 on 24 September 2003  Report this post
So you got your babies after all! I'm sure there's a story or two connected with collecting the twins from China as well as the cat-related aspects. Thanks for sharing the 'Your Cat' piece. I hope it will inspire people to join the journalism group and to gain confidence in selling their work.


Felmagre at 07:02 on 26 September 2003  Report this post
I too found the story light hearted and enjoyable. I'd not given much thought to explaining things to animals, but then I suppose they do pick up on things without us necessary realizing it.

Thank you for posting this one.

Richardwest at 09:59 on 06 November 2003  Report this post
china: all is understood. And what a lovely well-told tale (tail?) I trust the twins, and the pussycats, are thriving... (Incidentally, I'd've thought there's a market for an article like this beyond "Your Cat" magazine. Have you tried "The Lady" magazine. .?)

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