I think my brain has been indefinitely transformed into a mum brain. As I saw my cats napping today my first thought was, ‘if they sleep now, they may not go to sleep properly tonight. Maybe I should wake them…’. Huh?! I then remind myself that they are actually cats and their sleep routines do not need to match Gina Ford’s expectations. I need to get a grip.
To be fair, the cats are a big part of our family. I was insistent on having a female cat, as I wanted an ally in a house full of men. With our cat Jill also came her brother Jack (yes, Jack and Jill – the mother of all clichés!) and the two live in catty bliss. Like the kids, they don’t know how good they’ve got it. In fact, they are just like the kids!
They strut around the house like they own it. Lounging around, normally settling in the most awkward places, getting under your feet and taunting you with their ‘I don’t give a sh*t’ attitude. Like toddlers, they have a habit of following me to the toilet and then sitting right in front of me with their penetrating stares. I feel violated until I realise I can just kick them out and shut the door without further thought.
They are hungry little things. Jill, in particular, will meow over and over and over again until we eventually relent to the whining and refill her bowl. She will then take about two mouthfuls before sashaying off without a backward glance. Leave any food out on the side, it will be swiped off, chewed and discarded under the sofa.
They clamber over me for attention and cuddles, kneading at my lap and snuggling in. This is always at the end of a long day, once I have eventually got the kids to bed and, quite frankly, I need a break. No more shouting? Think again. I can often be found pointlessly explaining to the cats not to fight and to ‘leave each other alone, if they can’t play nicely’. I think I may have lost it.
They wake up too early, wandering around at sunrise looking for trouble. They bring in all manner of crap, which you are expected to clear up. Muddy footprints, wet noses and fur ball vomit – there is no end to the joy. Hours spent chasing them around the house trying to comb their matted fur. Time it wrong and you will get bitten for your efforts.
If they get sick, I worry. If they disappear for longer than usual, I panic. If they get bullied by other cats, I get protective. When they go for a ‘sleep over’ at the cattery, I feel guilty and anxious. It’s bloody ridiculous!
I have come to the conclusion that they are essentially my children, with fur! Yes, I love them, I admit it. Maybe next time I will stick to a goldfish.