I’ve never actually read ‘Mog and the Baby’ but I imagine it has a very different version of events to those I experienced.
I’d like to first of all, and most importantly, tell you I love animals. Especially cats. I was raised in a catty kind of house, always at least two and on occasion four. We never had a dog (then), so I have always been the definitive Cat person.
Before the G-unit became the G-unit, it was actually the H-unit. As in, the singular, single unit that was me. Living alone, I made a big decision at the age of 24 that I was indeed a proper grown up, and (questionably) responsible enough to look after another real live living thing.
To hell with the landlords ‘no pets rule’, my single friend and I decided over a roast and a bottle of red one Sunday, that we were ready to become Mums. Cat Mums.
And so it was, only a matter of weeks later, we collected our kittens from a strange house full of animals…we were rescuing them from an uncertain future, and offering them our homes…we had so much love to give.
They were easy to choose from the litter…my friend wanted the fattest. Done. I wanted one ‘with character’…and so, she picked me really. The crazy black and white bundle climbing up the cage and leaping off the top repeatedly. Little did I know I would pay for that decision later in multiple pairs of shredded curtains.
Friends came to visit my new arrival. She was gorgeous, everyone agreed. I named her after a favourite alcoholic beverage ‘M’ (blissfully unaware my unborn children would be relaying their pets name at show and tell in years to come), and spoilt her with unnecessary baby cat equipment. Her pictures were in frames around the flat, and I bored my friends with cute baby cat pictures on my phone. It truly was the perfect practice for what was to come all those years later.
It didn’t stay just the two of us for long. But, she took well to the new father figure in her life, eventually. Together we became the G-unit, we moved not once but twice, and she was with us every step of the way. At my heel by day, on my head by night.
The hierarchy changed. People warned me but I didn’t believe it would happen. As we brought our first baby home from the hospital…a real baby this time in a car seat, not one in a cat carrier, something in me had changed.
In simplest terms, in the arrival of my real baby (and accompanying hormones) my substitute baby had gone, and been replaced by… a cat. A really hairy cat that was shedding hairs all over the place. And was probably covered in germs. And she just might pass on some parasites to the baby.
We, like everyone, had a tough few first months getting to grips with parenthood. It did strange things to my head, and left me in a bit of a fog for a little while. Many pieces of the former me were scattered all over the floor and took a little while to be pieced back together.
I suppose I could only do so much mothering at once, poor M. The maternal section of my brain was unable to cater for more than one species simultaneously. I was never cruel or unkind to her; she was well cared for. I was just unable to extend beyond the basic needs for her at a time I could barely look after my own.
So, what I’m getting at, in a long drawn out way, is that motherhood made me, temporarily I hasten to add, abandon my first love. It wasn’t a concious choice, or a thought through process. It just, happened.
This is one post baby symptom I am yet to see in a baby book. Am I alone in this strange phenomenon?
Now the happy ending here, is that we did regroup. As the baby became less delicate, (and my head became less delicate), slowly slowly we re-bonded. The relationship definitely shifted to more pet-owner than mother-baby (the cat I’m talking about by the way). As Tigs grew to love M and feed her treats from the cupboard, she found a new place in all our hearts.
And in the end, our cat makes our house a home.
x MMT (typed with M on her shoulder)
Animal rights campaigners stand down…no animals were harmed during the making of this family.