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I'm not sure I love our cats anymore....

(27 Posts)
LaContessaDiPlump Fri 05-Feb-16 08:24:52

I'm not happy about it sad

DH and I had cats for 2 years before DS1 turned up, and once he was here my capacity for coping with any small screaming thing other than him went straight out the window. I pretty much forgot their names and started referring to them interchangably as 'CAT!', I couldn't stand being hassled for fuss. I diligently fed them and saw to their health needs but that was about the extent of it.

DS2 emerged about a year later and my capacity for the cats decreased even further, which I assumed was pretty predictable.

The thing is, we're now in 2016 (nearly 5 years later) and I still feel really disproportionately ragey every time they demand something from me. I can't remember the last time I was glad to see them (at least when they were doing anything other than sleeping).

I'm assuming that all my capacity for 'creatures demanding my attention' is still being swallowed by the DC, but they are a lot less demanding than they used to be and so I'm not sure that's true. I worry that maybe I just won't be happy to see the cats ever again, because I've found the past 5 years of child-rearing to be pretty overwhelming tbh and the cats feel like just a bridge too far.

Please can some of you wise cat-owners tell me if this is something you've heard of, or experienced, or can offer advice on? At the moment I feel like I would have absolutely no qualms about giving them away, which is sad in of itself sad

Sparklycat Fri 05-Feb-16 08:48:44

I feel like that, we have two and a dog and at times is love to not have the extra hassle and smells appearing! We don't have as much time to pay them attention but I felt guilty as we chose them and when we got them we got them for their life. It's not their fault things have changed, they probably aren't happy about the kids arriving and I just have to remind myself to give them a fuss and a treat everyday. I'd hate for them to be unhappy due to my choices and I just remind myself that it's my duty to care for them. We won't get more when they pass away though.

LaContessaDiPlump Fri 05-Feb-16 09:21:43

Thanks for the reply sparkly.

My rage this morning was not helped by the fact that they'd run out of biscuits - there is a neighbourhood bully cat who eats their food and they're too chicken to defend their space (we'd get magnetic collars but have tried them before and our cats are too stupid to use them so just sit outside and cry all day).

Anyway, DH went to get meaty food and dispensed it before leaving for work; I then came downstairs to find girlcat had eaten it in one gulp because she's greedy, then promptly vomited it all back up on the carpet. For. Fuck's. SAKE.

I stropped off thinking I'd clean it up later, only to find that it is now gone. One of the disgusting creatures must have eaten meat vomit. Urgh.

<and breathe>

BertrandRussell Fri 05-Feb-16 09:29:16

I can remember feeling that if one more living thing made one more demand on me I'd explode!

Luckily we had lovely neighbors so our cats used to go and pour out all their troubles to them and be fussed and sympathized with and be fed ham.

I think it's quite normal. We now own a dog when we didn't intend to because our niece had two babies in quick succession and just couldn't manage the dog as well.

But it does seem to be lasting a long time for you. Forgive me- but is there anything else going on in your life that might be making it particularly difficult for you?

ApologiesToInsectLife Fri 05-Feb-16 09:37:15

Yes I had this for a few years with my very loved 3 cats I had got prior to children. Children came along and my time and love got eaten up for a few years (when the dc were toddler/pre-school in particular. But. IT CAME BACK! grin. When there were slightly less demands on my time, especially once dc started school, I fell in love with the cats again. I can't say if that will happen for you or not but it is possible. Those 3 cats have all gone now and were the loveliest pets. We have 2 new cats now, and I can't imagine my life with no cats in it. It's great for dc to grow up with pets in their life too.

LaContessaDiPlump Fri 05-Feb-16 09:44:31

is there anything else going on in your life that might be making it particularly difficult for you?

Only the usual things - I work FT (as does DH) and have a long commute 3 days a week, so that's a stress. Other factors include the fact that I found the early years very hard work as I desperately need my alone time and wasn't getting any, so maybe it's taking me a while to re-acclimatise.

I should add out of completeness that I stopped my anti-depressants a few months ago (I felt dreadful on or off them, so why be on them?) and my mum died 2 years ago (although this is a smaller factor as arguably she causes me less upset now than she ever did when alive).

So maybe the cats are just bearing the brunt of it all somewhat. Poor creatures. I agree that it is good for kids to grow up with pets though, and they do love them.

ApologiesToInsectLife Fri 05-Feb-16 09:49:29

Yes it sounds like you have a lot going on. I'm sure you won't be deliberately using them as an outlet for all that but let's face it, they are probably none the wiser (it's not as though you are being cruel) and you are still giving them food and shelter. I found the early years with dc very very hard too and I still struggle to feel I'm being a decent mum (a whole other thread!) but I do feel I can cope with having cats again and they're a positive thing in my life. My dc are now 11 and 8, how old are yours?

I sympathise OP. I was a very loving cat owner pre-children, and also staunchly vegetarian. My priorities changed as a parent, I didn't have the energy to love /prioritise cats and kids, and animals started to seem a perfectly acceptable source of nutrition for my babies. One of whom is now 20, lives at home, with cats, and vegetarian! His older sister doesn't live with us, but her cat does. Sigh... I think I can explain it though. Nurturing and spending time and attention on a person or animal causes you to have feelings of love. If you no longer have the time to spend, the feelings of love go away. It's why long distance relationships and celeb marriages all go wrong.

hootatoot Fri 05-Feb-16 09:56:27

I'm with you op. We have 2 cats that were pampered and loved before dc arrived in March last year. I have NO time for them now and resent the extra mess and demands! Not helped by needycat suddenly taking to peeing anywhere on the utility but for her tray and if a load of washing is left somewhere waiting to go in the machine she will pee on that too. I have never known rage like it and fantasise regularly about drop kicking her through the window (I never would, of course....i don't think)wink

AnotherStitchInTime Fri 05-Feb-16 10:02:50

I know that feeling. I have 3 dc 6 and under. A demanding ft job. 2 cats. 2 more mouths to feed. Litter trays to clean on top of all the other household chores. More giving out of myself to play with cats when I have no more to give after a 12.5 hour shift.

That feeling of it all being too much is something I had a lot when I was suffering with PND after ds birth. It is the reason I went back to work, so that I could be me and not someone who existed purely to service the needs of my family, while mine were always put on hold.

DH as SAHD was in particular was struggling with our previous kitten who had bowel issues and used to do his extremely smelly diarrhoea poos in the litter tray then stand in them whilst covering it before walking it across the floor that our small children roll around on and eat bits off (toddler ds if not closely watched).

He once took a running jump onto the table face down into DH's dinner that he was just about to sit down and eat.

We were considering whether we could keep him.

Then aged 7 months he was run over and DH found him on the road.

I still miss him, he was the most loving cat. He used to sit on my chest and purr to cheer me up. He used to wake Dd1 up in the morning and sleep in her bed.

You don't realise what you have until it is gone.

The cats are just being cats, the real issue is how overloaded you feel.

Breathing is a good idea, maybe getting out of the house for a bit, or just having a good old scream into a pillow.

Do you get any me time away from the house?

LaContessaDiPlump Fri 05-Feb-16 10:04:48

The DC are 3.6 and 4.7. Thank you all for being kind, I thought I was going to be eviscerated blush

I feel even worse about it because although in our house 'stupid' is a descriptor of last resort for humans (I was called it a lot as a child), the cats are often referred to as 'STUPID CAT!' Even the kids do it, and I feel terrible each time I hear it. I'm vegan (or at least have a plant-based diet) for fuck's sake, and I'm teaching them that the feelings of animals don't matter sad they are kind to the cats in general though, and are very clear that hurting animals is not acceptable. So I suppose that is something.

AnotherStitchInTime Fri 05-Feb-16 10:10:18

Cross posted. Sorry to hear of the death of your DM.

When DH lost his DM it took him over 2 years to grieve. 4.5 years on it is easier, but he still has days. It can suddenly be there, you don't realise how much you suppress especially when you have young children to care for.

Might it be worth going back to your GP to try another anti depressant? Also exercise always helped me, the endorphins lifted me when I felt low.

AnotherStitchInTime Fri 05-Feb-16 10:13:04

Re being vegan are you sure you are getting enough of your essential nutrients? Vitamin and trace mineral deficiencies can cause changes in mind and body. Have you had bloods done to check your Iron, B12 and Vitamin D for example?

LaContessaDiPlump Fri 05-Feb-16 10:29:36

AnotherStitch no, but I do take a vegan multivitamin supplement that contains all of the above.

Wrt exercise: on my commuting days I walk a couple of miles, which is probably it for the week. It just doesn't feel like there is time for anything else. Well I could make time, but at the expense of time with the kids, which I don't want to do.

And as to ADs: I have always thought of it as - the ADs make the hole a bit shallower, but you're still in a hole. You need to change your thinking in order to get out of the hole. Until I manage that, there doesn't seem to be much point in faffing around with pharmaceuticals. Not that I distrust pharmaceuticals I should add - in fact I write about them for a living!

I suppose it is not about the cats, is it.

LaContessaDiPlump Fri 05-Feb-16 10:32:50

My mother was.... difficult to live with, as a child. I have a very large pit of anger towards her, but now the bitch (who wasn't always a bitch, not really, she tried towards the end of her life to not be) is dead and it's all gone unresolved. How typical.

The more I type, the more I realise that I need to go back to my therapist. Who was lovely but took up an hour of my week that I felt guilty about giving and 45 quid pw and meant DH did even more weeknight childcare. But this ongoing situation is no fun either.

Penfold007 Fri 05-Feb-16 11:28:25

The cats are a classic red herring. Your possible depression and unresolved issues re your DM need dealing with. Please speak to your GP about getting some help.

How would you feel about re-homing the cats?

AnotherStitchInTime Fri 05-Feb-16 11:46:05

I think that sounds like a good idea to go back to your therapist.

Just a thought on the vitamins note I find that a multivitamin on its own does not contain enough for me of certain things. For example during the winter I take 2000 IU of vitamin D3 on top of my multi vit as I find it helps. When I still had periods I would take extra Feroglobin or Floradix from the week preceding and through my period as I felt weak without it.

ReallyLoveWine Fri 05-Feb-16 11:59:45

I agree with other posters about this maybe being a sign of more serious issues. However at a more superficial level I can totally empathise with you about feeling that the cats are just a step too far in terms of demands on your time/energy/love. I adored my cat until my DC3 came along and now I can hardly bear to have him around. To me he's just yet another demand, another voice shouting to be fed, let in/out, a harbinger of germs and worst of all he brings dead mice in urgh! But he's just being a cat and DC1&2 adore him and give him the love and attention I don't have capacity for at the moment. I'm hoping that will change as DC3 gets older and is less vulnerable around this wild animal! Good luck with everything.

LaContessaDiPlump Fri 05-Feb-16 14:55:03

Well I have been to pet the cats (the one I could find anyway) and he seemed surprised yet delighted with the fuss. Maybe this is where cats have an edge over children - they don't brood for hours over how you were emotionally unavailable in their youth......

I do need to do something, it's just a question of what we can manage/afford as a family. I have applied to go part-time so that will hit our finances and I'm not sure therapist rates will be affordable again for some time. OTOH, the reduced hours may help to reduce stress.

Oh well. Thanks all, that was enlightening thanks

AnotherStitchInTime Fri 05-Feb-16 15:13:14

Cats also have the edge when you are feeling low or unwell. Mine come and sit and give fluffy snuggles that cheer me up.

You might find with reduced hours that you can get more me time. That can't hurt. Maybe even get to a yoga class or something.

It is worth taking stock of your outgoings. You may find you can make savings there that can free up that little extra for nice things. You know changing energy supplier, switching to own brands/Aldi/Lidl for some of the food shop etc... plus no travel costs to work/lunches on days you are not there.

I wish you all the best. It will get easier. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel now that Dd1 is 6 and dd2 nearly 4. Two in full days for school will make things much easier.

AnotherEmma Fri 05-Feb-16 15:19:11

You've already had good advice about managing your depression and getting therapy, and I agree.

So, just to focus on the practical issue: another cat entering the house to eat their food is not good. As well as the inconvenience and expense of providing extra food, it may be stressing out the cats and this could cause behavioural and health problems. My advice is to get a microchip cat flap. They're expensive but worth every penny. You'll need to get your cats chipped if they're not already. But please do it! At the very least it will solve the food problem.

I feel sad for the cats but I'm sure you're doing your best. Maybe you need to be kind to yourself and then it will be easier to think more kindly towards them?

Mincepies76 Fri 05-Feb-16 22:39:30

My 2 cats were my babies...until I had babies. They were very cuddly cats but after a day of looking after kids I just didn't want to give anyone or anything my time or affection! I remember posting on a message board about it and I got slated! Anyway, kids got older and I fell back in love with them. They have both passed away now and I miss them, they were beautiful souls.
Parenting, working, running a home is overwhelming at times....ok a lot of the time! Don't beat yourself up about it smile

catbasilio Thu 18-Feb-16 22:25:05

I also hate my cat. I took long to to research cat breeds and get the right one (and expensive!) and I have no affection towards him. He is a perfect cat doesn't even meow or demand much but he is still too much for me, after I have taken care of my DC and FT work and all other household matters. I would gladly give it up it wasn't for my children. That's a shame as I keep reading how much people love their cats and I just feel nothing.

potap123 Thu 18-Feb-16 22:40:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cozietoesie Thu 18-Feb-16 23:34:29

Maybe that particular cat is wrong for you, catbasilio. (It's a bit like people - some 'suit' and some don't.) Are you so sure that you can't rehome it? The cat itself might find greater happiness elsewhere.

smile

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