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My Cats Were My Babies Before I Had Kids, Now I Forget They Exist

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Baby and kitten have a stare down When I was 25, I adopted two cats from my local animal shelter. I named them Kinky and Diva and I loved them up. Those cats were my little bitty kitties that I wanted to wrap up in tortillas, shove in my pocket, and nibble on all day long. Just thinking about them running out of the house and getting lost would make me cry. Diva was in my lap whenever I sat down, and I scratched Kinky’s head so much that my hands cramped. Five years after I adopted them, I had kids. And things changed.

When I got home from the hospital after my c-section, I was in a lot of pain. That was the first excuse for why I wasn’t paying any attention to the cats. I couldn’t bend over to pet them, and I was not letting anything sit anywhere near my lap. But as time passed and my body healed, I continued to be intolerant of the cats. When they would come over to me purring and looking for attention, I would get furious.

In Fast Company, Claire Zulkey has written a piece about having the same experience with her dog. Here’s how she explains the change in her feelings towards her pet after having a baby:

At the end of the day, I just feel so physically and emotionally spent from, you know, having it all, that the dog’s feelings just can’t get on my list of priorities.

That’s it exactly. My cats became one more thing in my life that needed something from me. I was already giving away my body, my mind, and all of my time to my twins, and I had a husband to think about. And then here came these animals, saying, “Hey! Us too! We need you too! Take care of us, too!” I couldn’t do it – I had nothing left to give.  As Calire Zulkey says in this post for Mommyish, being alone with children is pretty exhausting. So other than providing food and water and cleaning out their litter box, I began ignoring my cats completely. And what’s more, I couldn’t have cared less about them.

It was the abrupt change in my feelings towards them that surprised me the most. These animals, who had been one of the most important parts of my life before, now meant close to nothing to me. I would think, “It wouldn’t be so bad if they ran away. I’d be just fine.” For me, I think the difference was that the love I felt for my children was so complete and overwhelming that there wasn’t room in my world for anything else. I thought I loved my cats. But I didn’t know love from my own ass until I had children. My cats paled in comparison then, and they still do now.

These days, my cats are more or less like furniture; fuzzy furniture whose poop I put in trash bags. As my children have gotten older and I have regained more of myself, I have become more affectionate towards them. I still take excellent care of them, pet them (sometimes), and Diva still sleeps at the bottom of my bed every night. But that feeling of deep love and caring is gone forever. And that’s okay, because they are cats, and they really don’t give a shit. They are perfectly happy and we all co-exist very well. And you know what? If one of them ran away, I might even be a little sad.

(Photo: Forewer / Shutterstock)