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How I Know I'm Not Ready For Kids: A Story of Two Cats

A week ago, we opened our home and hearts to a new cat we named Daenerys Targaryen (formerly Bella) because she had been rescued from a house fire. She is the Unburnt and the sweetest little survivor there ever was. She also breathes like a dragon when she sniffs things. She is supposedly three years old and weighs a massive 6 pounds. We fell in love at first sight at the shelter and took her home within two days.image1 (3)Oliver, our current monster, is going to be seven years old this year and weighs 13 pounds (note the large weight difference). He always liked when we cat sat kittens of our friends and loves to play. We had been wanting to add to our fur family and found this opportunity to do so.image3Last weekend, we brought Dany home. My husband was working and so I was in charge of getting them both settled. We followed the rules: we put her in our office alone and we let him smell her scent on a towel and same for her. We had prepared a separate litter box and food for her. She seemed right at home immediately.I had already planned their snuggly cat friendship Instagram: Fire and Smoke. First comes fire then smoke. Orange and grey cats! Fame was in my future! I couldn't wait to fill my lap with two fuzzy loves!My husband left for work. I was alone.I let them meet briefly. It was the usual hissing and pulled back ears but Dany had no fear of her brother in spite of him being twice her size. In fact, he appeared to be afraid of her. Khaleesi was taking over the kingdom quickly. I was naive to assume he would act how he did with his other cat friends. I thought with some hissing and growling, they would soon be playfully chasing each other around the house.This is when I got my first taste of parenting.Let me be clear, I am in NO WAY comparing raising a human child to caring for two adult cats. I just had a few moments where I realized, "Oh my god, this feels like caring for two children who both have needs but can't be in the same room because they scream at each other and I want to crawl in a hole with chocolate and booze."I had to separate them several times and when I did, she cried and jumped at the door. When I let her out, she went right for Oliver, trying to play, sniff, pounce. He was clearly not having it, hissing and running and backing himself into a corner which was way more fun for her. Again, separating them, she mewed the door and paced heavily around the office. Oliver would growl when I tried to console him and automatically switch into "fight mode" whenever she was free of the office door.When I'd go in the office with her, she would cry, circle me, jump in my lap, rub her teeny face on my hands, begging for attention. I tried to go back and forth between the two. I got discouraged quickly (shocking, I know, I consider myself Snow White) and had a slight breakdown where I cried to Oliver and told him we would bring her back if he wanted us to. It broke my heart into a million pieces to see him stressed and scared (of a tiny tiny tiny cat, PS by the way) and how he wouldn't let me hold him because he was so revved up.image2Meanwhile, I'm also texting Lincoln frantically. I'm saying things like, "When are you coming home?" "She went down for a nap a while ago but he's still upset." "I'm having more wine." "WHEN ARE YOU COMING HOME?"Post breakdown, I shut both bedroom doors, poured the wine, and sat out back and FaceWined with my friend, Ali. It helped take my mind off of the stress I was feeling and talking about Dany in an excited way made me realized I could never imagine giving her back; I just needed time and patience.I let them out. More chaos ensued. Hissing, pouncing, Oliver whimpering under my makeup table as Dany stalked him. She legit is a ninja, so silent and small. Even I was surprised by where she would show up. She took advantage of his cowering in corners, thinking he was playing. Somehow his growling and drawn back ears were not reading with her. Daenerys Mother of Dragons fears nothing.When I picked Lincoln up from work, I was crying in the car. I told him I thought I was a bad mom, that Dany was so lonely and Oliver hated me and my heart was breaking and I didn't know what to do because I loved her and didn't want to give her back but my first baby now seemed to hate me.That was day one. ONE. The second day was similar. Lincoln was sympathetic but affectionately laughing at me. He couldn't understand why I was so stressed and referring to the cats sleeping as "going down for a nap." I was reporting everything from her pooping in her litter box to them both finishing their food.He got home Sunday night and asked me if I had even showered that day as I greeted him with a wine glass in hand, my pajamas I had worn since that morning, and my hair in a not cute messy bun with no makeup. I told him I had done nothing for myself that weekend at all. I had planned to watch my shows, read, write, you name it. I did nothing because I was entertaining two cats who didn't understand Mommy Time and it wasn't fair. My actual words.Monday he was alone with them while I was at my job. When he picked me up, he said, "So, you were right (obviously). I had a taste of single parenting today." and began to relay a day that resembled my first two. He also got nothing done he had planned to do. He had been sending me updates as well, falling under the curse of going upstairs for her and downstairs for him and trying to see if they would settle and sniff and snuggle but finding her impossible to tie down and Oliver impossible to please as he wouldn't stop having a stick up his fuzzy cat butt.It's an understatement to say being a parent is hard. I know so many parents and my own parents who are literal superheroes. I was devastated from two cats, grown cats, who wouldn't get along. What was I like as a teenager telling my mother I hated her in an adolescent rage over math homework or something just as stupid? Oliver growled at me after being bat in the nose by his cat sister and I lost my shit. I couldn't handle the hurt it sent to my heart and I felt incredibly guilty for having done this to him. On the other hand, I gave a homeless creature a home and felt guilty she can't roam about it freely yet and probably hates me, too, because I keep putting her behind closed doors.It has now been a week and the cats are getting there. Dany sleeps in the second bedroom still at night but we try and let her out most of the day. They have each received a scratch on the nose from the other and Dany has learned boundaries. Oliver has allowed her within six inches of him but that's about as close as she gets so far without him running away. I just heard a loud thump and scrambling so I am guessing she has yet again cornered him in the bedroom. He looks for her now and recovers quickly instead of pouting in the corner though and no longer growls when we pet him after they have a face off.This is my life now: I watch cats face off for twenty minutes, slow blinking at each other, tails swishing. I should probably get a field notebook because I observe them like I'm National Geographic, looking for raise fur and fluffy tails. I plan how to feed them separately and we wake up early in the morning to go sleep on the floor with her in the office when she starts her little meows while Oliver sleeps on the bed.I'm attempting to adopt a chill mothering style where I let them explore and learn about each other while supervising in the background. I am trying to leave them alone for small periods of time to have them get the feeling of living together without us. I also took the time to do a face mask, drink a glass of wine, and write this blog because they are cats and can survive for twenty minutes unsupervised. Yet, I feel guilty. I'm sure this will last another ten minutes before I panic again and try and coax them into loving each other while silently freaking out. When they are silent, I fear the worst.So, prepare yourselves for when I do have human children. I fear this is going to be the norm. Breakdowns, Tears of Guilt and Wine: Rachel's Adventures in Parenting. Lincoln's already terrified. The next test is a dog and I can only imagine how Oliver's glares will destroy me then. Dany will probably join in. I hate myself already.Ali just texted me: Now that you have a new baby, I don't know you any more! This is the decline, isn't it? This is when my ovaries start yelling at me even more and I realize I haven't seen my friends in months or showered in days because my babies need me.It begins.Side note: We got Dany a collar with a bell on it so Oliver can hear when she's trying to sneak up on him. That works for human kids, too, right?image4

Don't Call It A Hiatus

Don't Call It A Hiatus

I Woke Up Like This