Crazy cat lady post about cats...read on only if interested in cats.
In the wee hours of Saturday morning Cleo beat up a tom cat (and took the fight crashing through the neighbour's shed from the sound of it). At least once a week she chases off another cat, so it really isn't unusual for me to bolt out of bed (harder to do wrapped around a Snoogle), stumble to the window and yell out "Pusses knock it off!!". Nothing like a cat fight to pull you out of a snug dream land into reality with your heart in your throat.
Cleo came racing back into the house and hid under the sofa (the sofa Toffs had been sleeping on), and sat there and growled for ages. I got up to inspect the damage, as I usually do after a fight, and poor Cleo was limping. And still growling, though more at her reflection in the glass of the door than at us. After letting her calm down a bit, we managed to get a look at her paw. She had sliced open her pad. So we made a trip to the vets (since it has been, oh, what 2 months since the last one?), and Cleo got an injection of antibiotics (no pills since I took her rather than the Moose) and a painkiller, and some treats because the vet liked her. And she likes this vet, so she behaved herself beautifully. There is a male vet that she absolutely hates and will growl and hiss at, but she was purring away for the lady vet! So, $110 later...
And later, telling my mom about it on skype, my mom said that the cats will always get great medical care regardless of the cost, but I will probably tell my child to "walk off" a sore throat. I informed her that with the public health service here I won't have to pay anything (or not much of anything) for this child. What I should have said was that I learnt the "walk it off" thing from her, and my sister and I both turned out fine...but unfortunately I just wasn't in full on smart-ass mode.
But it did get me thinking that I will need to establish some rules for my parents with regards to the cats when they come down here after bubs is born. My cats are spoiled. I hope to keep it that way. But to my parents, cats are just cats. My dad kicked at (don't remember if he connected with or not) our old family cat when she hissed at my niece when my niece was two (which resulted in a huge family fight and me moving out of the house) and I am not going to put up with that sort of behaviour for a second. So, the rules:
1.) Cats may be petted on their own terms, never swatted, kicked, thrown away, etc. You may chase the cat off, but beware that may result in the cat becoming wild and expecting to play a game. In which case, the cat must be played with.
2.) Meows open doors. Whatever door the cat wants open EXCEPT the hot water cupboard, since Cleo has twice gotten stuck behind the hot water heater, and now she is probably too big to be pulled out.
3.) Yes, we have a cat door, but no, you still need to open the door for the cat if she is sitting there looking at you. Once eye contact is made, the door must be opened.
4.) Dinner is between 4:30 and 5:30. Or whenever the cat says so (usually this is Cleo, Toffs doesn't really care because she won't eat until way later anyway).
5.) If cat is outside meowing at you, you must go outside to play with the cat. Toffee meows constantly for treats if you are in the kitchen. Meow back and sing a duet (it pisses her off), or get out of the kitchen if you can't take it.
6.) Fights between Cleo and Toffs can be settled with a stern word, with chasing off the puss who started it, or with treats. If Cleo is about to ambush Toffs, saying "Cleo!" sternly will give Toffs adequate warning of the situation and probably avert the whole fight.
7.) When a cat enters the room, you must announce her presence, or at the least greet her.
8.) Snuggles are only appropriate when the cat desires them. Toffs only snuggles the Moose, Cleo only snuggles at 4am, or 10 minutes before the alarm goes off. Never touch Toffee's belly, her paws or her tail. Chin rubs are preferred. Cleo will roll over for belly rubs, and may be picked up, cradled, paws and tail touched, without fear of needing stitches. She will, however, suck on and bite (lightly) fingers.
9.) Treats are always appreciated but must be given equally.
10.) Tiggy handles any and all issues between cats and bubs.
I suppose my parents will just laugh at these rules, or roll their eyes, but anyone who kicks a puss is getting kicked by me.
Cleo and Toffs are totally members of this family, and always will be. We will all have to adjust when bubs arrives, but I will do everything I can to prepare them for this. And this child will be raised with a healthy respect for cats (and all animals).