Judge me if you must, but since I’ve gotten pregnant- I just don’t love my cats the way I used to. Some may say it’s my shifting priorities. However, I know better. It’ because my cats are now more like that annoying roommate in college who never washed the dishes after cooking instead of fuzzy, purring fur balls of love.
That one sleeping on the scratching pad in the photo above, that’s Haru. That’s what she was named when we picked her at the Baltimore Humane Society. We knew she was the cat for us just because of the name. Having lived in Japan, we knew her name meant ‘Spring.’ But also because we think we’re so funny, we call her Harumaki which means ‘Spring Roll’ in Japanese. As in the food. Get it? Yeah, we’re not as funny as we think we are.
She’s still a beautiful cat, rolly polly and lovely. And she is every bit my husband’s companion. She prefers him over me and that’s fine. However, she likes to sleep between us at night, and that’s not so fine. I know it should be endearing that she wants to be so close to us. That I should be soothed to hear her purring madly next to my head at night. But no. No, I’m pretty much enraged to find that her cuddles have woken me up yet again out of my now semi-constantly broken sleep.
If I’m not up because I have to pee, I’m awake because I’m suddenly uncomfortable for no particular reason. Or I have heartburn. Or mild nausea. Or just random insomnia for no damn good reason. But when Haru is the reason I wake up, all bets are off. That was at least an avoidable reason to wake up. No amount of purring and cuddling is going to help me forgive that cat for waking me up.
The other cat in the picture? That big monster of a boy with the mostly gray fur? That’s Tako. At the shelter he was named Nacho. But come on, we’d already started a theme of naming our cats after Japanese food. According to one of the workers at the shelter, they’d named him Nacho after Nacho Mama’s, a night club/ eatery in Baltimore. Apparently all the brothers and sisters in that litter were named after other downtown hangouts.
So we named him Tako because we thought it sounded a bit like Nacho. Also because Tako means ‘octopus’ in Japanese, which is totally apt since he flows like water into any container you fill with him (like an octopus.) He has no problem being picked up. You could even wear him as a scarf if you wanted to. And continuing with the food tradition, we call him Takoyaki- ‘Octopus Dumpling.’
Now to be fair, Tako is really more my cat. But he’s also been a bit of a problem child since day one. He eats like he’s been starved for a week, even though he gets PLENTY of food. He steals Haru’s wet food if she leaves it unattended for even a moment. And then, thanks to his desire to put as much food down his gullet as fast as possible, he throws up most of what he eats- I would say we’re down to about once a week now instead of daily.
He is very vocal as well. From the moment I roll over toward consciousness in bed, throughout my shower and while I’m getting dressed, he is meowing at me to go to the kitchen and make his breakfast. He’s also somehow very skilled at making his own hygiene practice incredibly loud. There’s nothing like trying to fall asleep while he manages a symphony of licking sounds while grooming himself.
These are all things that both cats have done the entire time they’ve lived with us. And yet, now, it makes me crazy. I know it’s hormones. I know I’m more sensitive these days. I know that this too shall pass. But that doesn’t stop me from throwing Haru out of the bed and yelling at Tako to be quiet. As if that would ever work.
Now, I know you probably have already dailed the first several numbers to call the Humane Society on me, but know this, no cat has yet been harmed. And they won’t be. Obviously. As long as I remind myself that I’ve loved these cats for years, and I will love them again once I’m no longer crazy (well no longer pregnancy crazy.)
I keep reminding myself of a ‘confessions’ article in a magazine I read long before I became pregnant. In it, a woman confessed that her cat had thrown up (or urinated) on the carpet yet again, and she had reached her breaking point. She scruffed the cat and threw him or her outside of her house. And the cat never came back.
When I think of that, I also feel terrible for that poor crazy pregnant woman. She can never take that action back or make it up to the cat or her family. And I really don’t want life-long guilt brought on by nine months of hormones. This is a temporary part of my life. One I am trying to enjoy.
If I could close the bedroom door on my cats and they would leave the damn door alone, I totally would. But I can’t. Tako has figured out how to open doors and he would meow and paw at the door all night. Not because he wants to come in necessarily, just because he wants to have access to all parts of the house at all times.
I really wonder how they’re going to react when we have a new little dictator running the household, and I really do have to skip petting and soothing them in favor of keeping the baby alive? We’d better all come to a compromise, or no one in the house will ever sleep again. *shudder*