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  1. #1
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    Mar. 4, 2006
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    Default An odd 'friend' dilemma over cats and babies...thoughts?

    An old friend of mine recently married and had her first baby earlier this year. She has two wonderful adult cats, who were the love of her life prior to her new family. The cats love her and love each other.

    Now that the baby has arrived, she has decided that she needs to 'rehome' them. She has put feelers out through all of her friends to try to find them a new home - but she hasn't had any luck within the timeframe she was hoping and expecting and she is now planning to take them to the city's Welfare League (public shelter) if she hasn't found a home for them before she has to leave for an extended family trip.

    Now, I'll admit upfront that I can't relate to the 'giddy new mom' thing, not having any kids of my own. The baby has consumed (happily, for her) her entire world. She is angry at the cats for waking the baby, being potential sources for bacteria/germs/etc and getting into the baby's room...etc.

    I'm just stunned that she is willing to leave her two beloved pets at a shelter that does/will euthanize eventually if they aren't adopted, due to the fact that there is now a baby in the house. I've been avoiding contact with her because all I can think about are how much I love the two furries that I have at home and how I could NEVER do that to them.

    This is a woman who, when I briefly asked around about the wisdom of declawing our first one when she was tearing up the stairs on our carpet (no, I didn't do it) lectured me sternly (and even borderline-rudely) about how wrong that would be. I am trying hard not to tell her what I really think about her deciding now that she has a baby, that her cats are simply nuisances ready to be disposed of....

    Am I off-base for feeling this way? I realize that the fact that I don't have children means that I can't really understand her perspective, but I just want to believe that people don't regularly get rid of their cats because a newborn comes along....
    "To understand the soul of a horse is the closest human beings can come to knowing perfection."



  2. #2
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    Feb. 1, 2008
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    Default

    One of my friends just had a baby. Every day she posts pictures of the baby on Facebook. She also posts pictures of the cats-- so that they won't feel left out. Hopefully your friend is just going through a period of temporary insanity and will change her mind before doing anything final?



  3. #3
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    Mar. 7, 2011
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    284

    Default

    New moms are often paranoid about their delicate newborn (who is way tougher than they think). Now, if she had dangerous dogs or a python in the house, maybe. I said DANGEROUS dogs, not a particular breed, dog lovers. There was a case here recently of a ferret chewing off seven of an infant's fingers, the parents were not home at the time and nobody knows who was in charge of the four kids. The ferret had previously bitten the baby twice. So weird sh*t does happen.

    Presumably your friend's cats have not done any harm or threatened the baby, and I guess she hasn't read the reports about how being exposed to the real word of dirt and germs makes a baby's immune system stronger. Not to mention the fact that, IMHO, children growing up with pets are more empathetic with people as well as animals. That has been the case with my own kids.

    I share your indignation that she is so ready to dump these cats. Maybe she needs some help in figuring out a way to deal with the fatigue (cats waking you or the baby up is not a plus here), keeping the cats out of the baby's room, other management issues.

    We didn't have cats (yet) but had a lovely Irish Setter when ours were born, and the dog went from not being totally sure what that THING was so following our oldest everywhere she went and being very worried when she was off our property. Nobody can tell me there wasn't a thought process going on there.

    Your friend needs your insight at this time, and I hope she'll let you help her.



  4. #4
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    Mar. 7, 2011
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    Default

    Highflyer - temporary insanity is a pretty good definition of early motherhood.



  5. #5
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    Aug. 22, 2000
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    CT
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    Default

    Hmmm...
    Hope the child potty trains easily. Or else...



  6. #6
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    Nov. 20, 2010
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    Upstate New York
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MizzouMom View Post
    Maybe she needs some help in figuring out a way to deal with the fatigue
    That by itself, makes one an absolute zombie for the first 1-2 years - particularly if hubby doesn't do the 2am feedings, or much else around the house. She is probably not herself still, and I'd also guess she is being pushed (by either someone else, or her own guilt) to remove additional responsibilities. Can't she get, or borrow, a big cat cage for overnight in the basement, until schedules become reasonable again? Otherwise, I'm sorry you're going to have a hard time convincing her I'd guess..



  7. #7
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    Mar. 14, 2004
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    Left coast, left wing, left field
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    Default

    I would never do that. Probably why I don't have kids. I wouldn't want to be that person, no matter how smitten I was with my little "miracle".

    Trust me, most older cats and dogs are much happier being at the home they are used to, with the people they love, even if they are no longer the center of attention. I am not talking about the rare aggressive/jealous/dangerous situation. How anyone can think that being uprooted is in the animal's best interest -- I just don't get it.

    Most of my closest friends who had pets when they began a family have integrated the pets and kids successfully, whether it's a young active dog or an old crotchety cat. I do have one friend whose pets keep "not working out" -- the last one got too excited when the kids played with him. It was a puppy. There's another lesson I wouldn't be teaching my kids: animal must mold itself to fit into our rather narrow definition of pet... or it's outta here. So many GOOD lessons an animal can teach, why do so many miss the mark?

    I can't read Craigslist ads and look at the wizened faces and surprised eyes of the dogs and cats that "aren't working out". It just about breaks my heart. If I were you I'd try to talk to your friend -- but if nothing changed, I'm not sure I could maintain the friendship. Well yeah I am sure: I couldn't.
    Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf

    Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?



  8. #8
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    Dec. 31, 2010
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    She needs a wake-up call. I would tell her exactly what I think, however I am kinda hell on wheels so this may not be a good idea for someone else to do. All of my fur kids are exactly that, a human baby would in fact come behind them in rank. I was raised on a farm though and with animals and that's how my parents treated me. Got bit by the dog? Don't pull his tail them. The old pony was my babysitter and the cat loved to bite my ankles. If any of them just "went away" I would have been scared that I could also just "go away" one day. Even that cat taught me something, I had him until my freshman year in college and still miss his jerk butt People are way too protective of their kids, I am way stronger of a person because of being allowed to be a kid, many of my friends with parents that coddle are kinda...fluffy and cry babies, not good in twenty somethings.



  9. #9
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    Go over & visit her & find out what's going on (maybe she needs help - I had post-partum depression that went undiagnosed by my ex-family doctor )

    Ask her if she's being pressured by her doctor (happens very frequently) or other family members to get rid of the cats.

    Gently ask her if she's really OK with her cats being euthanised as that is the reality for most surrendered adult cats - ask her to consider taking them into her vet & having them humanely euthanized instead (many shelter still gas cats even though they individually "stick" dogs - very few shelters will admit to the public that this is how cats are killed )



  10. #10
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    Mar. 15, 2009
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    Pennsylvania
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    My son was an actual "delicate" newborn(3 months premature). I kept the dog, cat, and 4 ferrets. They all grew up happily and safely. If you ask my now 16 year old, he will tell you he will be in therapy for the next 50 years because mom always puts the animals first (now expanded to include horses, ponies, and mule).

    Actually, he is a happy, healthy, animal loving kid. And my husband was a long haul trucker, so no body to do the 2am feeding but me.

    I don't have friends like that because I cut them out of my life.
    Stallions are from Mars.
    Mares are from Venus.
    Ponies are from Hell!



  11. #11
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    Mar. 7, 2011
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    Feed lady, you had to be a strong person to take care of that preemie and the pets as well. My son, our second, was born with a heart condition and having a child with health problems does a whole 'nother thing to your mind.

    Does this friend's child have any issues like that? If so, she'll be even more worried.

    And alto's right that she could be getting some strong "guidance" from others trying to push her into this decision.



  12. #12
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    Mar. 4, 2006
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    Default

    I'm confident in saying this much - I wouldn't necessarily know what signs to look for with post-partum depression but she's very excited about the baby and is one of those moms that posts like 5 new baby pictures a day on Facebook and appears by all accounts to be loving motherhood. The baby is happy and healthy, and is now in the 6-month old range...this get-rid-of-the-cats thing isn't really a new development.

    She started off complaining about how she thought that the cats needed to go a few months ago and was advertising them among friends. I was really surprised by it, but didn't feel as strong a reaction to it personally when I just assumed that she was trying to find a friend (or acquaintance, at least!) who might be want to take them in. Now that the shelter has been mentioned as the final option, I'm rather speechless about it.

    I was wondering if there was someone out there who would think this was a normal, acceptable thing and that I'm just incapable of understanding "Motherhood" and all that...I just remember how my heart hurt for all those adult cats in the shelter when I picked up the two we have now.

    We aren't particularly close friends, so I suspect the end result of this once I conclude that I'm not off-base for feeling this way and just can't get past it when I see her will be a slow and continual distancing.

    The next time she puts something out there about the cats I will ask if a doctor or someone is making her do this - but based on what she says when she is putting their info out there, I don't think so - she references waking the baby, an inability to keep them out of the baby's room, germs, and 'no time for them' anymore....
    "To understand the soul of a horse is the closest human beings can come to knowing perfection."



  13. #13
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    Mar. 15, 2009
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    Pennsylvania
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    Thanks for the compliment Mizzou Mom. I don't think it was that I am a very strong person, its just that I am the kind of person that does what needs to be done.

    It also helped that I could function quite well on 4 hours of sleep!
    Stallions are from Mars.
    Mares are from Venus.
    Ponies are from Hell!



  14. #14
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    Apr. 29, 2006
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    Evansville, Wisconsin
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoZ View Post
    Trust me, most older cats and dogs are much happier being at the home they are used to, with the people they love, even if they are no longer the center of attention.
    I agree, I don't get it either.

    When my son was born I had a crotchety old cat, as you so aptly put it. I didn't want her sleeping in the crib, so I looked into crib tents to keep her out, but I quickly realized that she was really too old and crippled to be able to jump into the crib.

    And really, she got along fine with my son. She bit him once on the head when he was very tiny. We were all curled up on the couch together, and my son made some sort of loud noise that startled her, and she nipped him on the closest part, which was the top of his head. Not serious, never happened again.

    She passed away several years ago, and not long afterwards I brought home two cats that had been dumped at the boarding stable. Both of them get along with my son just fine as well, though he's now 7.

    One of them, Alvin, was just skin and bones. He actually looked sort of like a poodle, his hair stuck out over his hips because his hipbones stuck out so badly. He weighed 5lbs, and he's currently a healthy 10.5lbs. His [rude epithet] previous owners ditched him there because they were going to have a baby. He was declawed, had no idea how to fend for himself, the resident barn cats banished him to a shed, and he nearly starved to death. The tragically ironic part is that you could not ask for a cat that's better with kids. My son actually kissed him on top of the head in the vet's office once, and he was totally cool with it.

    My mother commented one day when I was irate about it, that I should calm down because Alvin was in my care now, and they couldn't hurt him. I responded that now they were responsible for the life of another human being, which is an even scarier thought.

    Maybe that thought would sway your friend. If she was previously an animal lover, would she really want to raise her children in a home where animals are disposable? Would she want them to think that was acceptable, want them to grow up to be those kinds of people? I know I wouldn't want that for my son.

    So anyhow, unless it's one of those rare cases where the animal is aggressive towards the new baby, or possibly in a few other rare circumstances, I think ditching your pets when your child is born is morally reprehensible.

    Sorry for the tirade, this is one of those issues that really burns my britches.
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
    -Edward Hoagland



  15. #15
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    Dec. 31, 2000
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    El Paso, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swale01 View Post
    An old friend of mine recently married and had her first baby earlier this year. She has two wonderful adult cats, who were the love of her life prior to her new family. The cats love her and love each other.

    Now that the baby has arrived, she has decided that she needs to 'rehome' them. She has put feelers out through all of her friends to try to find them a new home - but she hasn't had any luck within the timeframe she was hoping and expecting and she is now planning to take them to the city's Welfare League (public shelter) if she hasn't found a home for them before she has to leave for an extended family trip.

    Now, I'll admit upfront that I can't relate to the 'giddy new mom' thing, not having any kids of my own. The baby has consumed (happily, for her) her entire world. She is angry at the cats for waking the baby, being potential sources for bacteria/germs/etc and getting into the baby's room...etc.

    I'm just stunned that she is willing to leave her two beloved pets at a shelter that does/will euthanize eventually if they aren't adopted, due to the fact that there is now a baby in the house. I've been avoiding contact with her because all I can think about are how much I love the two furries that I have at home and how I could NEVER do that to them.

    This is a woman who, when I briefly asked around about the wisdom of declawing our first one when she was tearing up the stairs on our carpet (no, I didn't do it) lectured me sternly (and even borderline-rudely) about how wrong that would be. I am trying hard not to tell her what I really think about her deciding now that she has a baby, that her cats are simply nuisances ready to be disposed of....

    Am I off-base for feeling this way? I realize that the fact that I don't have children means that I can't really understand her perspective, but I just want to believe that people don't regularly get rid of their cats because a newborn comes along....
    I'd tell her what I think...but then I'm not willing to have someone dump animals just out of convenience. Thousands of women have dogs/cats and babies, and they manage to do just fine. In fact there are studies that show that kids raised with pets are healthier and less likely to have allergies than those brought up in no pet households. (Maybe search for that study to show her).

    If she dumps them, I'd call the shelter and ask them to notify her the morning they are to be euthanized. (But that's just the evil side of me popping out).



  16. #16
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    Sep. 22, 2008
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    NC
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    I couldn't do it either. Of course, I was the one bringing home 2 week old orphaned kittens when I had a newborn cuz I figured I was getting up every two hours anyway.....

    I would also tell your friend about how new studies show that children raised with animals are actually LESS likely to develop allergies later on. Ultimately it is her decision, but I agree with all the points made earlier. Disposable pets, less compassion, etc. Try to at least convince her to give them enough time to get into a no kill shelter if she still insists on getting rid of them. Unfortunatly most animals surrendered to animal control agencies are euthanized, and adult, owner surender animals are most at risk.

    Katherine
    Vet Tech



  17. #17
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    Oct. 3, 2007
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    PA
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    I'm so angry right now. I had two cats and then I had my baby. I also had a half dozen rats, a hedgehog and 2 chinchillas. Nobody got "re-homed." And how the H**L does a cat wake a baby up? They are not loud animals. I would not be able to keep my big yap shut if she told me she was dumping her cats. Of course, I would also probably end up with said cats joining the menagerie in my house if push came to shove.



  18. #18
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    Sep. 7, 2004
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    Medford Oregon
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    I see that all the time on craigslist, that and someone is moving somewhere where they don't take pets. Well then don't move there, take your animal with you, they are family. I made darn sure before I ever signed any lease that it was okay to have my two cats and if it wasn't I wouldn't budge. People can be irresponsible brats sometimes and as for the OP take the cats before she dumps them and then once they settled in, let her know EXACTLY what you thought of her and hoped in the future she'll teach her offspring that you don't dump a family member.



  19. #19
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    Apr. 14, 2001
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    Minnesota
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    I would have a hard time staying friends with anyone who would throw the cats out with the bathwater, so to speak, but I think you've gotten good advice here--see if you can talk her into sending them to a no kill shelter, if she cannot be swayed to keep them.



  20. #20
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    Jul. 13, 2008
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    For many people, pets are a stage of life, like being a little slutty in college or being incredibly self-righteous in your 20s. You get a cat, you make some jokes about being a spinster cat lady, you find a boy, you get married, Jinxsie is your pseudo-baby who gets included in Facebook photos and has his own bedroom in your first house. Then the baby comes along and it's a huge new stage of your life and you shed the cat. You probably also shed a lot of friends. Shallow is not a rare human condition, unfortunately.

    I don't condone it, btw, and I think the OP's friend is vile to even consider dumping her long-term pets at a shelter, sending from a cozy home to a cage with strange cats and the real possibility of early death. Poor cats. On the many dog forums I've been thrown off , I've always objected to how crazed dog owners will bend over backward to keep Cujo in the house with a newborn. Babies should come first in that most basic sense; you don't let your pet eat your child or seriously threaten him/her. But this mommy sounds like she's just impatient with having a remnant of her former childless life hanging around demanding time and money that could go to her new hobby... er, child.



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