I first encountered this closet phenomenon of parenting and pet annoyance when I was 23 and had just started dating my now husband.
We were invited to dinner by a couple we didn't know well. They were older (like, 30 or even 31 which sounds horribly old when you are 23) and they had a baby who was spending the night at Grandma's.
I was enchanted with their friendly orange cat. Our hosts, however, were not thrilled with him.
I politely looked at the baby photo. And then continued to ask questions about the cat. What his name was and how old he was and all the things I was supposed to be asking about the baby. I was 23. Babies were not on my radar and thus, very alien to me.
It became clear that our hosts were truly irritated by their cat. They admitted that they used to love him to pieces (as evidenced by the framed cat photos on the walls) but that their adoration had faded since having their daughter.
I was shocked. And appalled. The mom concluded with a dismissive "You'll understand when you have kids" and I decided that she was a cold-hearted animal hater.
I knew I'd never, ever be like that.
Fast forward a bunch of years. We now have two cats that we pamper. We take photos with them. We buy them fancy collars, toys and treats. We sing songs about them. We are a "two cat couple" and we are proud.
I even talk about them on the phone with my mother and she asks me how they are doing.
But being pregnant only makes me more maternal towards my cats. I smugly think of that cold-hearted animal hating mom. I am going to be nothing like her!
To prepare for the baby's arrival, I get one of those little bassinet things. The cat loves it. I love that he loves it. He is welcoming the baby! I even take photos of him sleeping in it. Several.
At least at first.
Somehow, this fact never bothered me until I had kids. Now it bothers me often.
This is how not to pick up, hug or otherwise touch a cat:
And yet this is how they always do it.
But it isn't the kitty's fault. Can't hold it against him.
Can't blame him for the cat puke on the floor either. Or how the toddler always finds it first.
Or how he is right under my feet all the time.
Or that they jump up on my lap the first moment I have to myself after a full day of kids hanging off me. When I just. want. to. be. alone.
But there is something that puts me in cold-hearted animal hater territory. Something they do that makes me fully relate to that mom I mentally berated for years.
And this is what it is…
The toddler falls asleep. Finally. I tiptoe out of the room, attempting to walk without actually touching the floor for fear of creaking floorboards.
My exit is successful!
Until the cats realize that someone in the house is asleep which sets off their meow alarm.
Even worse is when both cats start tearing through the house, chasing each other and making sure the upholstery is adequately destroyed.
The upholstery destruction procedure is accompanied by the blaring meow alarm.
Okay, I admit it. My cats are annoying as hell.
To the cold-hearted mom from years back: You were right. Wanna see some baby photos?
8/3/11 Update: Okay. Okay. I can't believe I'm doing an update over what I thought was an innocent post. No, I don't advocate abandoning cats or wishing for their deaths. Yes, there are some horrible comments below from other people saying those things. Other people, as in, not ME. I'm annoyed with my cats. End of story. I still love them and take care of them. Some of the comments make me very, very sad.