Before the thought of even having a child was anywhere close to being in my head, I would always ask friends with newborns how their animals were handling the transition. I've even been known to throw dog bones into baby shower gifts so everyone would feel special, fuzzy family members included. I've always been concerned with how EVERYBODY adjusts to have a new baby in the household, especially the animals.
Over the years of volunteering for StreetCats, I witnessed more cats being returned than I can count. The reason? 'We had a baby.' I'd always wait for the end of that thought like the cat bit the baby or the cat is peeing in the crib but there was rarely any other reasoning.
I committed to two of our cats before I ever even met Brent and together we committed to one more cat and Mondo before we ever even had Rio. I've spoken about this a bit before but I thought a bit more could be said since we've now been living with four animals AND a baby for four months.
Yes, it's a lot. There have been times an animal has woken up baby after a fight to get her to sleep. There's ALWAYS someone in my lap or under my feet. I'm certain she's ingested at least a pound of cat hair and she's been walked on and licked by many a-four-legged-friend. I wouldn't have it any other way. Just recently she's begun actively paying attention to the animals, with Vera being her favorite. She's even starting smiling at Vera this past week. Mondo sleeps by her bed at night and when she sleeps with us, Vera spoons her. Sights too precious for words.
Not even two months after Rio was born, we found out Pimmy's kidneys were failing. She's gone downhill fast, way too fast. It's been a very emotional ride for me. Finding out her condition meant changes for us around the house. Fluids, special medicines and specialized feedings were thrown into our routine but baby in the house or not, I'd do it all because I made that commitment to her a decade ago. The hardest part of it all is not being able to hold her as much as I'd like since my arms are typically consumed with baby. But at the same time, I think Rio has been a sort of gift to help me not be focused on Pimmy's decline but rather to be focused on making the most of each day with our entire family It sucks, for lack of a better word. It sucks hard. Every day is a gift and I remind myself of that often.
To wrap things up, I love our busy household, humans and animals. I love that we are raising Rio with the animals and I love (and am grateful) that they have been so accepting of her. They are each a special gift to our lives. Our lives certainly wouldn't be as exciting without them. Lucky doesn't even begin to explain it.