My cats are neglected.
There, I finally got THAT off my chest. Before we had NewDotBaby, I was a very happy mom to two fat cats. Lux is the elder, orange and white, with the personality of a dog. He plays fetch, he eats any table scraps he can get, and he runs toward my husband when he calls. Linus is a year younger than Lux, and he was a truly pitiful little kitten when we got him. He weighed 1.2 pounds, and was sickly and needy. I finger-fed him babyfood (chicken puree) when he was too sick to eat, and for most of his kittenhood he loved to suck on my fingers like a nursling. He has the personality of a preschooler. He wants to spend as much time as possible on a lap, and he is the pickiest eater imaginable (crunchy food and treats only, Mom, that soft stuff is yucky! And if a bit of food gets in my water I will not drink it! I won’t! Get me something fresh! No, not the purple sippy cup, I want the green one! Do not! Do too! Do not!…..)
I used to have time for my feline boys. I had time to pet them, and brush them, and play with their overpriced cat toys. I bought them treats, and new collars every so often (hey, you wouldn’t want to wear the same shirt every DAY, would you?), and worried about their dental health.
When we brought NewDotBaby home from the hospital, the cats looked at me like I’d lost my mind. What was this hairless, squawking thing? And why was it in my lap all the time? And why didn’t I ever feed them anymore?
Luckily for them, NewDotDad had time for such things as the scooping of the poop and the feeding of the kibble, because NewDotMom was little preoccupied with the small mouth constantly attached to her breast and the various substances that came from the other end of the small being, and the various hormones wreaking havoc on her own being. And thus, the new world order was born.
My cats started to ignore me! They would swarm all over my husband, meow and rub and purr and do that figure-eight, tail-trailing move around his legs. I became chopped liver in their eyes. And the truth is, much as I hate to admit it, I really don’t care.
Only now, with NewDotBaby nine months old, have I started to find myself with a cat in my lap again. I absentmindedly stroke fur while I read the mail, or drink my glorious cup of the Coffee of Solitude during morning nap. It helps that NewDotDad’s residency position has put me back in charge of feeding and watering and scooping… they owe me again, and they know it. But still, there is a shift.
No longer my baby stand-ins, they have become real pets. They possess the proper place in the family heirarchy – they are loved and taken care of, but they are not The Babies. I think this is an improvement (it must be better for my own mental state) but I’m sure they are still feeling neglected. It’s hard to be a disposed despot.