Feeling Hostile Towards Pet Cat

20 Replies
gummibear - November 19

I’m 34 weeks. My SO had a dog and a cat when we met. When I got preg, I did the research about pets and babies, and decided early on that I’d only insist that the cat go if the baby is allergic. I’m allergic to most cats, and all kinds of allergies run in my family. Originally I was ok with the cat, but now I can’t stand her. I view her as disobedient, dirty, and somehow a threat to my child. She’s not violent and doesn’t display much jealousy; the real risk is in spreading germs and in accidental scratching. But I don’t trust her anyway. As far as I can tell, her behavior hasn’t changed – just my att_tude. Is it a territorial thing? Part of nesting? Crazy hormones? Anyone else feel this way? I can’t find much online. This cat is super affectionate and sweet and clingy – plus willful, stubborn and disobedient, and spoiled by my SO. We moved in together over the summer and immediately made the bedroom a no-pet zone to keep the cat away from the baby stuff (and baby, later). She still tries to sneak in. She jumps on counters, knocks things off, scratches at the door once in a while, and gets into everything she can. She won’t stay off my nursing rocker in the living room. We tried pet deterrents – aluminum foil, sticky tape, offensive-smelling sprays – w/little success. Water bottles and loud noises make her stop, but don’t prevent her behavior. Automated products are out of budget at the moment. About six weeks ago, I started reacting more strongly to her misbehavior and becoming more resentful. At one point it was very hard not to toss her outside. It disgusts me when I think of her going in the kitty litter and then jumping on the kitchen or bathroom counter. I hate the smell, sight, and presence of the litter. I hate the idea of her being anywhere near the baby or on the baby’s stuff. I don’t trust her to not scratch (accidentally) or lick my child. And I resent having to quarantine the baby stuff in the bedroom just b/c we can’t train her to stay off the bed and stuff in the room. My SO suggested we limit her to the other bedroom instead of me and baby, but 1) that’s not fair to her and 2) it’ll drive me nuts b/c she’ll scratch the door and meow like crazy. At this point I don’t want her anywhere near me. Her meowing, even in greeting, irritates me. I started pushing her away and hissing at her. I feel relieved when she stays away. She still tries but gives up more easily. She’s a loving and social cat, but my att_tude’s changed. Is that normal? It doesn’t seem rational to me. I even feel angry when I read articles about bringing new babies home and the authors suggest letting cats get on baby stuff or giving them lots of attention to prevent jealousy. I resent the need on some level, b/c even if it's just my SO giving the attention, that takes his time away from me or my baby. I don’t want to get rid of her, but I need to understand my hostility so I can deal with it. Is it just pregnant crazy hormones (like he thinks)?

 

wv_red - November 20

Aww honey I dont know what to tell you. I have 3 cats and they are great with my 5.5 month old dd. They even let her "pet" them. Which is more like grab a fistful of hair. Your cat is going to be more scared of your little one then anything and you wont have to worry about the licking or scratching till later. When the baby gets old enough to hurt the kitty. Your cat is going to be a welcome to the child when he or she gets older. Your baby will be able to grow with the kitty. As for the misbehaving... you cant train a cat fully. Keep doing the water bottle and if you really cant stand the cat any more find her a home. You will be surprised the changes animals make when a new addition comes home. As for allergies... your baby may end up immune just from being around the cat. Right now I think you may be overwhelmed and is just taking it out on the cat... I did it to our dog but now he is just part of the fam. Good luck! I hope it works out for you.

 

Teddyfinch - November 22

the advantage of cats over dogs is if a cat is unsure of something, they stay away to prevent confrontation. unlike a dog. i'd be more afraid of a dog considering they're more famous for turning and biting children simply because they aren't used to the cry. the cat tries to sneak into your room because things have changed and she simply wants to explore. would you stop the dog from sniffing the baby stuff? and when you consider dogs eat cat poop out of the cat box and cats only clean themselves, the same as dogs do, the dog is the one you should be worried about licking the baby. as for your jealousy towards the cat, will you be jealous when your husband stops to say hi to someone in a store? because that is the same irrational jealousy. i blame the hormones and suggest you give the kitty a chance. cats can hear a heartbeat up to 20 feet away and probably wonder what in the world she hears coming from you and why you have two heartbeats.

 

lissica - November 22

I kind of went through the same thing with my kitty near the end of my pregnancy. I didn't want her in the nursery or touching anything the baby would. I love my kitty and was a bit worried that i would continue to feel this way once the baby came and neglect her but it wasn't like that at all. She gets plenty of love and i never felt like she shouldn't be around baby. I think your protective mothering instinct is starting to kick in. You'll be just fine. :)

 

micsmms3 - November 22

I think you should try to lighten up on poor little kitty! I hope I'm not offending you... my hormones can def drive me over the edge so maybe that's what's going on with you. I also understand the obsession of keeping things clean and orderly right now, I have that too- and the cat is messing this up for you! Try to relax a little, and remember that the kitty needs you, too! Your also her "mom"... in a sense. Hopefully things will feel better for you soon.

 

AngelinLuv - November 27

Well as long as she's not currently being a threat, I'd relax a little. Cats are usually more afraid of your baby than anything in the beginning. I had a beloved cat for 2 years when I got pregnant, raised him since he was a baby.. he was MY baby. When ds came home, he stayed far away from ds & everything of his. To this day, ds is one tomorrow*sniff*, he stays away but is still very lovey with me. And my ds just loves him.

 

gummibear - December 11

Belatedly, thank you for all the responses. A quick update about the cat - I've been trying to take it easy and find a middle ground. My SO picked up a motion sensor device that emits a loud noise (only audible to cats) when activated; its worked wonderfully to teach her to stay off the counters and couch. The baby stuff is still quarantined in the bedroom, but I plan to use the device to train her to stay out of the bedroom, door open, and to teach her to stay off the baby stuff when I slowly introduce things into the living area. I still get aggravated by her (knocking over things, going into the trashcan and digging things out) but its not as bad - mostly b/c of the device I think. I don't think I'll ever consider myself her 'mom', but if we can live and let live, that's good enough for me. It took a long time, but I think she's come to accept that I don't want to pet her or be near her anymore. So she doesn't try to get (positive or negative) attention from me anymore. She still gets affection from my SO, so she's not neglected. Re: the dog, I agree that one could be more concerned of dogs in general than of cats, but ours is very much a pack dog and very submissive. The cat is the alpha between the pair. He barks at strangers but quiets down very quickly once we indicate who is ok. He doesn't go into trashcans - she does - and he doesn't eat her poop. I've let him into the bedroom a few times the past few weeks, when I wasn't feeling well and wanted his company, and he's completely ignored the baby stuff. He just paced around, sensing my discomfort, or looked out the window, or laid on the floor next to the bed. I don't worry about his licking the baby b/c he's very sensitive to approval (doesn't lick my face or jump on me b/c he knows I don't like it, but will jump on my SO), and b/c he won't have access. He stays off the furniture and he's small, so the baby would have to be on the floor within licking reach. Compare this to the cat, who jumped on my shoulders the first time she met me. I was standing; she made the jump from her perch on a chair. I was not too happy. Cats in general may stay away, being unsure, but not this one. Also, re: jealousy towards the cat vs. saying hi to someone in the store, I don't think it's the same thing. A closer a___logy, to me, would be watching him fawn over someone else's kid in front of me and baby on a regular basis. Or how siblings fight over their parents' attention; I've wanted to push the cat off his lap before, the way toddlers do. Not saying its not irrational, just comparing apples to apples. At any rate, I realized that it bothered me most when I felt clingy and wanted my SO's attention, and he absentmindedly picked up the cat instead. We talked and he's become more sensitive to my needs. Three more weeks! Thanks all!

 

gummibear - December 12

Just a few more notes: I read online that many pets can sense pregnancy or at least that women are going thru a change of some kind, and that some dogs have stopped jumping on their pregnant owners for that reason. But I trained ours not to jump on me pre-pregnancy, and not to jump on strangers either, so I know its not the pregnancy causing his behavioral change. Our dog definitely knows I'm different, but I think he's too young to know what it is exactly. He stays near me when sensing my discomfort too. The cutest is when the dog comes near and cautiously lays his head on my stomach, like he's listening. Comparatively, back when I used to let the cat near me, I thought she knew, but it never stopped her from using my stomach as a (painful) spring board or (uncomfortable) walking plank if it was in her way. My loud "NOs" or "OUCHes" didn't deter her. If anyone else is having troubles with their cat, weeks back I found a useful article about training cats - google 'alpha cat'. It talks about restricting food access and attention, to teach them that they have to behave if they want to be fed or petted. I haven't convinced my SO to feed the cat once a day the way we feed the dog, so she still has unlimited grazing access, but when she tips over her bowl (velcroed to a spot where the dog won't reach) and the dog vacuums it up, she doesn't get more just by whining anymore. She's not nearly as bad as the alpha cats described in the article (i.e. biters or major cat_tude types) but the tips are helpful nonetheless. She's gotten much better about the previously incessant whining. And the device we got is called catscram, and costs fifty bucks incl. shipping on ebay. It eats batteries for breakfast, so I recommend the AC adapter, but it's a great device otherwise.

 

Teddyfinch - December 20

gummi: i must apologize for my answer earlier. i typed that before i had the baby. now that i've had her, my outlook has completely changed regarding my cats. sadly, i don't even want the one i've had for almost 10 years. i see them as dirty and can not stand it when i'm cleaning my baby's face and i see a cat hair sticking out of her mouth. my husband has been so tired he hasn't had time to clean the catbox so we have them locked in the utility room with their litter box and it just stinks so much to me and i hate it that i have to hide everything to keep the cats away. i feel bad but i have my priorities now that kiara's here and my cats just aren't up on that list. and now that the tree is up, they especially can't come out because one thinks he is light as a feather and climbs the tree and the other chews on the branches. no matter how much cat repellant i spray. *sigh* oh well lol. i love to think of the pluses of not having pets (as i look at my broken blinds from fat cats thinking they can shimmy through).

 

newbaby2009 - December 20

Im 32 weeks and have two 3 month old kittens that i absolutly love. Yes, they are annoying. They run around constantly, dig in the trash, steal food off the counters, sleep on the dining room table, and it doesnt bother me at all. They're both sleeping curled up next to me on the couch right now (sleeping all day so they can play all night.) My problem is opposite. Its the dogs! I used to LOVE our australian shepard. I am such an animal lover. Now i CANNOT stand him! Everything he does annooys the c___p out of me. I made him stay outside all day until he started crossing the road and it got cold. Now hes inside and im constantly yelling at him. I want him to just lay in the corner and remain unseen and unheard. I dont know where this sudden and intense hostility came from. Though he is a complete moron. He digs the trash out even after being told know 5 times. He eats the cat poop from the liter box. Etc. Our 18 month old loves him to death, im hoping i feel back to nomal after the baby comes!

 

Teddyfinch - December 20

my husband just keeps our cats locked up, but we've been so busy he hasn't had time to clean the cat box and i refuse to do it. i can't stand their smell, i can't stand how they don't stop meowing. i think i'm just going to have to sit down with him and tell him i don't want them anymore. it's unfair to them and i'd rather someone else love them than they stay locked up in a room all day and all night.

 

gummibear - December 25

Teddy: no problem, I just took it as a different opinion. On one hand, I'm glad I'm not alone and that you're feeling what I feel, but on the other hand I feel bad for you. "a cat hair sticking out of her mouth" -- I would so go ballistic! Thankfully, ours is a hairless cat. "i hate it that i have to hide everything to keep the cats away" -- that's exactly how I feel!!!! We've had 2 spats over the cat in the last week; my SO "says" he's ok with rehoming her, but really isn't, and is full of ideas to try. To me it's the equivalent of throwing good money after bad. But I feel guilty making him give her up - not b/c she's special, but b/c I'd feel guilty telling him to give any of his possessions up (barring certain tacky presents from x-girlfriends). Last week I thought I was losing my mind when the cat snuck into the bedroom - pushing open two closet doors from the bathroom to enter. I tried to scare her out by yelling, and when that didn't work I found myself laying flat on my pregnant belly as I forcefully pried her out from under the bed. It took a long time b/c I didn't want to hurt her, but it wasn't exactly comfortable so I wasn't super gentle either. And actually I was so mad, I didn't even think about the weight on my belly or realize my discomfort until I was at it for a while. The dog responds to a firm "down" or "no", but the cat only responds to yelling, sprays, or hearing you get up - and sometimes getting up is super uncomfortable and sprays are out of reach. I get mad at the thought that the baby hears me yelling and can feel my upset - I don't think it's good for him. Teddy - I recommend the catscram thing again. It runs out of batteries quickly, but seems to work otherwise, and will prob help you with the christmas tree - too late for this year, but for future, if you keep the cats that long. I hope my SO has time to clean the litter once our baby comes; I know he'll have his hands full helping me and stuff. "it's unfair to them and i'd rather someone else love them than they stay locked up in a room all day and all night" i feel the same way! my SO suggested we crate the cat 22/7 - as i said, he 'says' ok but really isn't ok with rehoming - but i feel this would be wrong / unfair to her. just b/c i hate her doesn't mean i want her to suffer, and i think she'd suffer, living like that. otoh, newbaby2009, you can crate a dog - its like a den to them, a safe home, and i don't think that'd be mean or wrong. or you can leash him in the house to keep him out of the litter, or gate the litter off - which will keep the 18 month old away from it too. the cats can learn to jump over the gate. be sure to train the cats now, while they're still young - its incredibly hard to train cats once they get set in their ways, i think. it's cute when they're kittens, but if you ever need to rehome them, well-trained pets are more likely to get adopted. when i met my SO a yr & half ago, both cat and dog were ill-behaved brats. i started training the dog and he's been very compliant, while the cat remains as ignorant as ever. the one improvement was training her to stop waving her claws at me like a mad woman when i tried to give her a treat, trying to knock the stuff out of my hand. she learned to respond more civilly.

 

gummibear - December 25

p.s. Teddy, pls let me know how that convo goes re: rehoming the cats if you go thru with it. you said they were yours not his right? i want our cat gone but feel guilty about it b/c its his cat. plus i do recognize that she's a special cat, as cats go - affectionate, not moody, doesn't scratch up furniture, no hair/fur, doesn't set off my allergies etc. i'm afraid of regretting the decision later, or of him resenting me for making him get rid of her. my SO hasn't held anything against me, and i don't want to start, you know?

 

gummibear - December 30

i'm falling in love with my eventually-to-be mother-in-law. i had a chat w/her yesterday about the cat. i didn't have to say much - she understood my worries and my SO's attachment immediately. she offered to take the cat but recommended seeing if my SO's brother would be interested in taking her first. his brother lives locally so my SO could visit, whereas his mom lives far away. plus his brother loves animals and she seemed to think it'd be good for him to have a pet. i feel no remorse pushing for either option b/c his family would totally give the cat back if he asked. part of my hesitation in issuing the cat a nonrefundable one-way ticket is that, while we're having a baby together, i haven't been 100% convinced we'll stay together forever and ever. we're not married for a reason. i didn't think it'd be right to make him give her up, just to leave him later on. he'd be lonely w/out the cat. of course, if i left him, it'd be for a good reason and the last thing on my mind would be his feelings. but after the anger dissipated, i'm sure i'd feel bad about it. i think the family thing is a good compromise / solution. i told him to just think about it for now. go me!

 

gummibear - December 30

that sucks about your dog - i'm glad he'll be ok. that's why our dog isn't allowed to run free - too much traffic here. he's not even allowed to enter our fenced patio except on verbal command, even if the door's wide open. his training isn't about control so much as about reducing his anxiety and strengthening our bond - he knows i'm in charge, so there's no alpha fight. he trusts me and is thus free to relax as a pack member. he's always recognized me as alpha - hiding behind me when the cat-loving (now-ex) neighbor visited and yelled at him for stupid stuff. i know ppl have different opinions on crates. ours gets fed in his and goes in quite willingly. he's also crated if we're out for a long time. it helps him feel more secure and prevents anxiety issues from arising. we don't put him in the crate as punishment, but i've seen him go into his crate on his own after being scolded, when the door happened to be open. its usually closed b/c the cat likes to eat his food. anyway i'm glad you're feeling better about your dog! the cat is on her way out. i found her in the toilet again, head + two paws in the bowl. so gross...

 

FlyBear - December 30

Wow, I didn't realize this thread was so involved or I may have read it earlier. lol I will be honest, I'm at work so I haven't read all of the posts. My husband and I have a cat that is almost exactly a year old. He is the most cuddly, friendly, sweet cat EVER. I adore him and since I've been pregnant we've gotten closer. He's much more gentle with my than my husband, he let's me hold him like a baby, and he even wants to cuddle with my belly at night while I'm sleeping. I've been a lil frustrated with him lately too though because as he's gotten older he's started doing the ONE thing I hoped to God he wouldn't... scratching!!! When he was a lil younger he ONLY scratched the scratching posts and things we provided for him to scratch but lately he's going for the carpet... and we rent. I really really don't want to get him declawed cause he doesn't use them on people and he's not aggressive. It's natural for cats to scratch and take off the extra sheath (sp?) or whatever it's called and the carpet must just feel the best. I've tried so hard to stop him and I'm getting frustrated, but then I yell at him and start crying because he's so sweet and he gets upset especially when I get mad at him because I don't typically yell at him. I grew up around animals and kids and actually see it as a very benificial part of raising our lil one. He'll grow learning boundaries and the concept of pain (by hurting kitty lol) he'll learn to be compa__sionate and caring. I'm very excited to see how they interact with each other after our baby boy is born. However, like many of you I will be OVERLY cautious of their interactions when Evan is an infant. Cats, like someone pointed out, are very curious and must explore a lil when something changes. We put up the tree and instantly our cat had to check it out. Sometimes we can do something as simple as just move a decoration to a different place and he has to explore it like it's brand new, so much the same when the baby is quiet and the cats no longer feel threatened they may want to explore and sniff baby, which can be bad because I've always heard cats will get up in the baby's face to sniff and baby will then hold it's breath and that has at times caused a newborn to suffocate. I plan to keep Evan in a ba__sinet in our room for the first few months with the door shut at night so our cat cannot get in and after I move him to the nursery, I plan to keep that door closed and use monitors until I feel that they have come to some level of understand of acceptable behavior with each other. Anyways, my husband and I both love our cat and see him more as a member of the family than just a pet. If he becomes a danger to our son obviously our son comes first, but I do think keeping the kitty we love that has brought us so much joy is worth a little extra effort to keep.

 

newbaby2009 - December 30

Our dog comes home tomorrow! I love my cats. They are so loving and affectionate. Thats actually a myth that a cat can take a babys breath. The only way for this to happen would be if the cat laid across the babys mouth and nose. I have learned not to let a bottle out of my sight for even a second. My cat chewed the nipples off to get to the milk! Our 18 month old loves the kittens as well.

 

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