Making Friends

It feels like life is on hold as the lockdown continues in our country, yet the last few months have been a whirlwind for us since our daughter was born, and our once quiet, peaceful home is now more lively and full than ever.

It’s been a huge transition for us, but wanted to share a little update on how our cat Mara is adjusting. We adopted Mara four and a half years ago, and it’s honestly hard to remember life before she joined our family because so many of our decisions and daily routines revolve around her. We’re very much “til death do us part” pet owners and re-homing Mara was never an option we were willing to consider when I found out I was pregnant. Fortunately, Mara has a gentle temperament and she’s much more likely to flee to a safe, quiet location than to scratch or bite.

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Mara’s a creature of habit and routine, most of which were thrown into chaos and disorder by the arrival of our baby daughter. I did worry that Mara thought she’d been replaced at first but my husband and I are very conscious of making sure Mara gets some time and attention every day to play with her, brush her, pet and cuddle her, giving her a few extra treats (including the cat-grass we grow, much to my father-in-law’s amusement) and encouraging her to sit on our laps when we’re not holding the baby.

We were initially worried that Mara might climb into the bedside crib with our daughter, but she usually gives it a wide berth due to the unpredictable and noisy occupant. We’re lucky that our daughter generally sleeps well, and Mara still chooses to sleep at the bottom of our bed most nights.

So far introductions have all been supervised, and most of their interactions have been limited to Mara peering into the crib when the wee one is sleeping, and giving her a tentative sniff when we hold them close enough to see each other. For her part, our daughter isn’t quite sure what to make of Mara either, but usually studies the feline member of our family with a combination of wide eyes and furrowed brows. Little by little, they’re becoming more confident and curious about one another, and I’m hopeful that they’ll become friends as time goes by. Hope everyone is safe and well, have a lovely week. X

25 thoughts on “Making Friends

    1. Thanks, it’s a strange time to have a new baby, came to the sad realisation that she’s spent over half her life under lockdown, and she’s changed so much since last time either of our families saw her. Just keep telling myself it won’t be like this forever. Hope all is well with your family. X

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      1. Hello there, all is well here. We have the same thing – that our little daughter isn’t experiencing everything her brothers did at age one, and her grandparents cannot cuddle her. Of course, she doesn’t know any difference and just loves having all six of us here all the time to play with her πŸ™‚

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      2. It’s a blessing that our daughters are too young to understand, and our wee one has enjoyed having so much attention from her mum and dad (between paternity leave and working from home) he’s been at home nearly the whole of her life so there have been some benefits that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. 😊 Take care. X

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      3. That’s very true (I’m secretly hoping that working from home becomes the norm, so that my husband can be with us all the time, rather than doing long commutes) 🌿

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  1. I am so glad and very relieved that Mara is adjusting and is well. Because you hadn’t mentioned her for some months, I had wondered if things had not gone well and if Mara had run away or had to be found a new home. This post has made not just my day, but my week! X

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    1. Mara still with us, never had any intention of rehoming her, and she’s a very loyal cat – I really believe she chose us as much as we chose her. She was a bit shell-shocked for the first couple of weeks, but as we’ve started to get into a routine with the wee one, it’s been much easier to include Mara and give her more time and attention. We’re just taking it slowly and trying not to force things between them. X

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      1. I know you adore Mara and never had any intention of rehoming her. Sometimes, cats decide these things for themselves and I’m so happy Mara is adjusting to the new little family member. A former work colleague got a cat when she was single and it was just the two of them. Xena the cat grudgingly accepted a new partner when he moved in, though eventually came to like him. When two little ones followed in quick succession Xena started going next door during the day and coming home in the evening when the kids were asleep. The old lady next door loved her so it worked out fine. That went on for several years until the kids became less noisy and boisterous. She finally moved back in properly when they were about 8 and 9. As you say, cats are creatures of habit, but they also know where they are loved. πŸ™‚

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      2. My parents’ neighbour’s cat, Hamish, did something similar moving in with the lady in the house next door when his original owner married and had children, though Hamish chose to stay with his new owner for the rest of his life. Mara was a bit put out at first, but even in the first few weeks Mara would still snuggle up with us when the baby slept so I knew she still wanted to be with us, it’s easier and less stressful for Mara now that the baby has passed her peak crying phase. X

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    1. Getting there. 😊 I think she probably would leave home if we’d brought another cat or dog home though, for all she’s affectionate and gentle with us, she’s very territorial around other animals. She once terrified a German shepherd at the vet with all her growling and hissing, poor thing was too scared to walk past her carrier. Xx

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      1. I can imagine! Hugo is scared when any cat hisses and growls. He is very wary of Slinky as she has a habit of turning on him for no reason. Little diva! X

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  2. We had a cat left with us when the owners moved to London – a lovely long haired ginger one. He was a very nervous and timid thing but soon gained confidence to come into the house and eat and then sleep. Only a few months later we had our first baby – so we bought a cat net for the pram just to make sure. Tiger never did jump onto the pram but would sit beside it outside in the garden while baby slept and guard it like a dog! My daughter grew up with him and was saddened when the day before she went off to start university he had to be put down with kidney failure at the grand old age of 22. She held him in her arms whist the vet administered the fatal dose, then cried buckets all night and all the way down to Cambridge the next day when we had to take her to uni!

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    1. Aw, sounds like he had a long, happy life with your family and 22 is a great age. I can relate with your daughter though, my parents took in 2 kittens that had been abandoned on a building site because our house had a mouse problem when I was a toddler, one of them was run over when he was 2 years old, but the other lived with us for 16 years and passed away at Christmas in my 2nd year of university. We were all devastated, and my parents never replaced him.
      We got a cover for the crib but never needed to use it, Mara has a look at the baby but has never attempted to climb in. X

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  3. Our cat was like a second mother and best friend to my boys- she knew all the secrets and was the best mopper upper of tears and tragedies. Now long gone, but open a photo album and you can be sure to see her in a lot of the photos taking a full part in family life.

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    1. I really believe that pets can contribute so much to family life, I adored our cats growing up and they were such a source of comfort, amusement and joy as well as teaching me lessons about responsibility, animal care and grief. X

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  4. I’m glad that all is going well. Our cat (the one in my avatar) also hated the noise that our babies made and so steered well clear of them until they were old enough to understand – and they both grew up to love cats.

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    1. My husband and I both had cats growing up so it was the obvious choice when we decided to get a pet of our own. Mara still slinks out when the wee one reaches her highest volume but she’s definitely getting used to the baby and tolerating her quite well. X

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  5. My daughter is 12 weeks old and both cat and baby are still not in the least bit interested in each other. I hope that this changes, I would love for Ziggy to be her best friend as she grows up!

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    1. Strange time to have a baby, isn’t it? Not how I expected to spend my mat leave anyway. I think at first our wee girl was confused because Mara doesn’t have human facial expressions but she’s getting more curious when she sees us interacting with Mara or we hold them close enough to see each other; most of the time Mara keeps a wary distance from the baby in case she starts crying. Hoping they’ll become friends in time though. ☺️

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