Monday, July 25, 2005

Peanut and our cats

Before Peanut came, we were first the proud parents of two "fur kids" - our kitties, Miuku & Mauku. Naturally, as the only "children" in the house, they were quite spoiled with the amount of attention they got from us and I was concerned about how they would react to Peanut.

When I raised the issue to my midwife and later doctor at the Neuvola, the response was mellow. Basically, they said to take a wait and see attitude and that most pet/baby relationships work out in the end. I had also been concerned about Peanut being allergic to the cats, but the doctor assured me that babies are not born with allergies and they have to be exposed to the irritant before allergies develop. Indeed, she told me the current wisdom was that babies raised with pets tend to have less allergies than those not exposed to animals.

To keep the cats out of the baby crib before Peanut arrived, we placed pieces of tin foil, the texture of which is supposed to be unpleasant. Well, it worked and it didn't work once they figured out it wasn't that annoying. Because we did not have space for a separate nursery there was no way to close the furniture off. We then took the extra precaution of hanging a summery mosquito net (bought from IKEA) over the crib. The effect was cute - more effeminent than malarial.

But, in the end, it was Peanut herself that has kept the cats off her furniture. Miuku & Mauku have been very cautious around Peanut from the beginning. Only coming close enough to take a sniff and turn their tails to head in the opposite direction. There has never been any aggression or sounds/actions that would concern me. Their relationship still remains cool after three months. Every once in a while a kitty will take a sniff and end up with a little uncontrolled waving hand bopping them in the head :-)

We've tried to make sure that the kitties still know they are important. In the first week that Peanut arrived, we gave Miuku & Mauku several special tuna dinners and brought out some new toys. We still try to have a bit of kitty cat time in the evenings once Peanut has gone to bed.

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