Pets and babies: When worlds collide

The past several nights have been miserable sleep nights in TLMB household. And contrary to what you might assume, this has little to nothing to do with the fact that we have a four-month-old in the house.

The culprit?

This furry turd:

The furry roommate/food critic.
The furry roommate/food critic. Want way too many more cat pictures? Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!

As far as we can tell, he is angry because we switched his food back from the slightly cheaper grocery store brand we bought during the move back to the expensive, grain free, low-calorie-because-both-our-cats-are-fat dry food he has been eating without complaint for years. And he expresses this displeasure by meowing loudly, climbing on my nightstand and scratching the walls (like a GD chalkboard, yes), and stomping all over the bed so that even when he isn’t howling, I lie awake in apprehension that he might step on the baby. (Don’t panic: Cosleeping safety is key, and we don’t let the pets sleep on the bed. And I’m doing my damnedest to not let them STOMP on the bed, either. Which is why I haven’t been sleeping much.)

Anyway, this has led to me getting about six extremely interrupted hours of sleep for the past few nights, which is like… newborn sleep territory. And I don’t do well on this regimen.

cats snuggling
Exhausted from keeping me up all night. #cuddlepuddle

Starting tonight, I’m going to be locking this schmuck and his slightly less culpable accomplice in the basement. If I don’t enjoy some solid shut-eye soon, these two squishy companions will be available free to a good home in the very near future.

While I’m on the subject of our furry roommates, I thought I’d cover a topic so often wondered by expectant parents, and how we handled it: Introducing your new progeny to your fuzzy roommates (I don’t call them fur-babies because they are grown-ass adults. They are pretty terrible roommates, though. They owe thousands of dollars in back rent.)

*Introducing your pets to your baby

When your pets meet your baby*According to someone who has both. [/qualifications.] Here are a few tips, but if you’re really concerned, consult a pet expert, not someone who has lost the equivalent sleep over the past seven years from her cat as she would have with 4-5 new babies.

  1. Know thy pets. This is something you should think about before you have kids, ideally. Yes, we loaded up on pets thinking that we probably wouldn’t really ever have kids, or at least not in the conceivable future. But we lucked into some mellow animals, despite everything you read to the contrary mere paragraphs ago. The cat food snob loves belly rubs and is the most docile creature (to humans, at least) ever. His copilot is a wimpy sidekick whose meows sound eerily like a human baby’s. And their sister from another mister is the unequivocal answer to, “Who’s a good dog?” Of course, I’m biased, but I’ve seen these guys around other kids and strangers, so I had a sense they weren’t going to Cujo out on my baby. If you’ve already git an aggressive/possessive pet on your hand, I suggest getting a trainer involved before baby arrives.
  2. Smell ya later? My husband brought home a hat the baby wore at the hospital to let the pets smell before the real deal arrived. I wasn’t there, but I believe their reaction was, “Where have you been? Feed me.” But this step certainly couldn’t hurt.
  3. Remember “W.A.S.A.B.I.”: We Always Supervise All Baby Interactions. (I just made that up. Consider it copyrighted. #feelingsmugaboutmyacronym)  The food critic loves The Baby and will come running to sniff him when he’s crying. But he also has treated him about the same way he did when he was in utero: just a big fat obstacle to my lap, one he would happily flop his big butt all over until he got comfortable if I let him (I do not). The dog scooches under the crib while I’m putting the baby down for a nap. But she will also lick his open mouth if I let her ( I do not). So, even if your pets are darling angels, don’t extend your trust further than you should. That goes for baby, too. My baby has an iron grip and would love nothing more than to grab a freshly picked fistful of fur into his mouth if I would let him (I do not). So The Baby and the roommates don’t hang out together unless I’m right there to supervise. No ripped out whiskers, no scratched baby skin, and no hard feelings.

I’ll surely update this when The Baby is mobile enough to discover where we keep that dreaded, artisan dry cat food. In the meantime, be kind to your pets, be kind to your babies, and lift a prayer to your deity that I get some effing sleep tonight or I’m going to lose it.

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Pets and babies: When worlds collide

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