Thursday, June 26, 2008

The smallest member of our family

When I was pregnant, one of the things that a number of people told us we might need to worry about was how our cat would react to having a baby in the house. Apparently, cats can get jealous, change behaviour, and even sleep on the nice warm bundle that you have helpfully provided for them, thereby inadvertently suffocating your new creation. Some people were worried that our cat would take to attacking the baby, others (my Mum notably, who loves our cat, possibly more than me) were worried that our cat would feel neglected and whether it would be fair on her.

The Boy and I were a bit worried about this before Eve came along. Our poor cat has not had an easy life. She was a rescue cat from the UK originally, who got run over when she was about 5, got carted out here to Hong Kong with us to be cooped up in a flat all day (whereupon she started to pull out her own fur). She has had a few medical problems, and a sister she hated, who then died when I was about 6 months pregnant. Then H moved in a month later so everything had been very disruptive for her.

There seemed not much we could do about it. We didn't want to give away the cat, or the baby, and other than a cat net for the cot (something akin to a mossie net that wouldn't stop anything but the least curious cat anyway) we were just going to have to wait and see.

Our cat's response to Eve has been one of indifference. She has ignored the cot completely, only once come over to see Eve while I was feeding her in bed one day, sniffed her, and turned away to resume washing her bottom. In the last couple of weeks, however, she is showing a bit more interest.

She has noticed that Eve is now eating proper food and has rightly realised that at some point Eve will start to eat things that she also likes to eat and has been observing with noticeable glee as Eve throws things on the floor and on her table. Suddenly the cat is a fixture at Eve's meal times. But this is still about the only interest she shows.

Eve, however, feels very differently about our cat - she adores her. We have provided a moving toy for her and the cat beats the pink unicorn, monkey or even the squeaky chicken in the hierarchy of things Eve likes to play with. Eve has quickly realised that her current habit of bashing the table or floor until whatever she wants comes to her has no impact on the cat so is now copying me and holding out her hand (unusually quietly for her) and waiting for the cat to come to her. Sometimes she gets a bit too excited and lurches in the direction of the cat, but largely she is quite good.

The cat, however, is not so keen and will only occasionally bless Eve with the chance of touching her silky soft fur (as the cat thinks of the whole interaction).

Last night, however, Eve was beside herself with enthusiasm for stroking the cat and after following the cat around the flat for a few minutes, the cat finally condescended to letting Eve close enough to touch her. Whereupon Eve reached out, got a nice firm grip on her ear and pulled.

The cat, to her credit, did not hiss or bite or scratch but merely pulled her ear away and looked up at me with a look on the face that clearly conveyed "I told you so, now don't let that thing near me again", and sauntered off.

The cat is now viewing Eve's increased mobility with horror and now generally spends her time on elevated surfaces.

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