Friday, October 11, 2013

Sibling Rivalry

How did I let almost two weeks go by with no update? Shame on me!

Things have been a bit anti-climatic. Baby is cooking fine, all the parts and critical bits are there, now we are just concentrating on getting bigger and plumping out. Myself and the baby. Baby is now over a pound, about the size of a large mango (or so my fruit-size chart tells me.) I have really started to show more and there is a definitive look to my belly that screams "Baby!" rather than "Fatty!" Which helps me in public as I search for the ever elusive Expectant Mothers parking spots. I need to have my game plan in place before the holiday shopping season starts.

But even as we have started to prepare more in earnest (gathering baby items, preparing the nursery, getting ready for our baby shower) and the clock is ticking away (how am I almost 6 months gone already?!?), I really don't want to talk about THAT baby. I want to discuss our OTHER babies. Those of the four-legged and furry kind.

I have been a bit concerned with how the kitties will take to our new addition. They are used to being the one and only object of our affections. And yes, quite frankly, they are spoiled rotten. They are our fur children, and I don't want our non-fur baby to cause any unnecessary strife with them. After all, the kitties were here first and it's not their fault I got knocked up and will soon be bringing home a wailing, smelly, sleepless fighter for their attention. Already they have sensed something amiss and not quite right in their happy home.

Unfortunately, their reactions have not been pleasant. Portia has taken to letting her stress cause excessive licking and scratching (Standard practice for her. She did the same thing when we had to move in with Charming's mom after his dad passed away. Licked her tail to almost nothing) But the biggest problem is the frequent diarrhea spots on the carpet (and yes, these are stress related as there have been no change in food, ample clean litter box availability and the incidents occur in tandem to something baby-related happening.) She is my biggest concern because she is the most fragile, temperament wise. She is very territorial of us, very connected and picks up on differences immediately and does not adjust well. Her diarrhea bouts always happen when we go on vacation (sucks to be the person taking care of the girls when we leave town) and thus we know about her stress issues. I have decided to try some Feliway and see if that helps her calm down a bit and be a little less on edge. She's not too crazy about the fact I don't let her walk on my stomach any more. Not because I am afraid she'll hurt the baby, but because it just hurts to have 13 pounds of cat pressing down on my growing uterus. Also, her and Nerissa's interactions are surely not helping the delicate situation.

Nerissa's response to the impending changes to their happy lives has been to seek out and destroy her sister. When before these two could happily lay together and even play together nicely, now if Portia even comes near Nerissa, Nerissa lashes out and attacks Portia. I most disturbing are the times Portia will not be doing anything and Nerissa will walk right up to her and attack. Charming's tongue-in-cheek response to this is that Portia is saying nasty things to Nerissa and Nerissa is just defending herself but I am concerned this is turning into a serious issue. We have to feed them separately, be careful if one of them jumps up on the bed or couch when they don't know the other one is there, it's challenging to keep them apart at times. And this leads me to worry about fighting around me while holding the baby or fighting around the baby itself. Also, they are fascinated with the baby bassinet and crib and I am scared they may jump in and while snuggling with the kid, inadvertently smother the child. Charming assures me he'll put a screen over the bassinet and the baby's room will be closed so I don't need to worry, but I can't help it.

This all being said, I have absolutely no intention of getting rid of the girls. Like I said, they were here first. We will figure out a way to make everything work. I just don't want to cause them any unnecessary stress. We let them in the baby room while we are in there and they have free reign to sniff and check out everything under our supervision. We are not trying to block them out, but rather introduce them under our terms and make them understand, like certain areas of the house, certain baby things will be off limits. I have plans to find some baby noises (cries, cooing etc.) and start playing them in my last month to get them used to those sounds. Also, I will let them smell the smells of baby lotion and diaper cream and we will be bringing home a blanket with the bay's scent on it to get them used to it before we bring the baby home. My biggest concern is they don't feel neglected or left out, but that they also don't get in the way of caring for our newborn. It's going to be a delicate balance but I think we will figure it out.

They'll be enough room for all our babies, furry and non, in our hearts. Now if I can just get the shitting to stop, I'd be a happy mommy (and mommy-to-be.)

                      *back when they used to tolerate each other. Look how sweet!

4 Sprinkles:

Lynda said...

Do you think the cats are picking up on your emotional changes due to the hormones? When you moved in with Brian's mom, Portia may have picked up on your stress, also. I hope they manage to work things out.

Cupcake Blonde said...

Lynda, yes, I think that's exactly it. Even if I'm completely calm, I'm sure they can sense a change in me. It's a big adjustment for all of us.

Jen said...

They'll be fine. Portia is stressed and Nerissa is attacking her because she is exhibiting weakness. Possibly there's a status change going on because of those things. If you haven't checked out any of Pam Johnson Bennett's cat behavior books, you might want to. They're quick, easy reads and explain a lot.

Try not to worry so much. They do sense and smell the changes in the home and are well aware what's going on. They're also picking up on your concern. Yes, they'll want to sleep with and snuggle the baby- he/she is WARM! and has a nice bed! Why not? ;) They aren't going to hurt him/her, and you can chase them out of the bed/room if you want to.

The Feliway should help. At least you know Portia's stress behaviors and aren't panicking. Also, consider seasonal allergies re: the licking & scratching. I know you've had issues with her and those things before.

pogonip said...

Valerian and chamomile are stress-relievers for kitties and also help their tummy upsets. Just in case the Fellway doesn't quite do the trick--it's always nice to have a Plan B!