Life as a (Cat) Mom

I became a “mom” this past August…and then again, in November.

Just because my children are furry, four-legged, and have claws it doesn’t make me any less of a mother. I keep a roof over their heads and food in their bowls, even when I don’t have a whole lot of food for myself. I make do, for my kids.

Cooper, the Maine Coon, is really more like a dog child. He goes through his mood swings, leaves his toys all over the place, runs from the kitchen to the living room to wag his tail at the window, and then cries when he doesn’t get his way. 2 AM seems to be the hardest time for him because this is usually when he will cry at the bedroom door and meow in my face until I get up and let him out.

Brooke, she is my independent child. She sits quietly in the living room watching out the window or sleeping under the couch (this is her favorite spot). She is much less playful than Cooper, but I love her just the same. She knows when it is time to eat and she will race me into the kitchen for her food and then she will hustle back to where she knows the food bowl will go. She understands, that as the younger sibling, Cooper gets fed first…otherwise, he will eat her food rather than his own. While I do believe that he is happier with another cat in the house, I do believe that he is trying to hard to show his dominance in the house.

There are days when being their mother is really hard. Sometimes, you just want 10 minutes to sit down and that’s when the hissing and the rumbling start in the living room. Cooper is the instigator and Brooke is a little too sensitive so hissing is an hourly occurrence around here. Cleaning the litter box, some days, can be very much like what imagine cleaning a diaper will be like – disgusting beyond belief. Cleaning up something else’s poop will never be a glamorous activity and it will never smell like a rainforest. It will always make you want to gag and off yourself.

Last week, Cooper and Brooke were not getting along at all. She scared him so terribly that he pissed himself and then took a nice little poop in the corner of my bedroom. The first issue was quarantining the now pee filled cat. Second, I needed to clean up the cat pee before it set on my hardwood floors and really stunk the place up. It wasn’t as bad as people made it seem. Ten Lysol wipes later and the pee smell was gone as well as the pee itself. My third issue was how in the world do I bathe this cat? I didn’t have a bathtub, rather a shower stall. So, I did what I had to. I turned the water on to a lukewarm temperature and I let the water run all over him. While he was not pleased, I knew from this cat expert on Youtube that Maine Coon’s can actually be washed, but you just have to make sure his fur does not become matted. So I rinsed him off and then wiped his fur down with these pet-safe wipes that I had gotten at the store. This way he at least won’t smell like cat pee.

He was not happy though and Cooper came out of that shower looking like a drowned rat. I felt like a terrible mom. For thirty minutes I sat there with a wet cat and a towel drying to soak up as much water as I could so that his fur could air dry the rest of the way as he ran around. Brooke sat silently in the kitchen with her head peeking around the bathroom door, looking all innocent. Secretly, I think she was laughing at the way Cooper looked, but that’s just me because cats don’t laugh.

After I cleaned the cat, I then went back, picked up that pile of poop and used my Lysol wipes there as well just to be extra sure my floor would not stink of cat poo for all of eternity. That night, I was the bad guy in the house because I stuck the cat in the water. That’s one of the hardest things about being Coop’s mom. I spend a lot of time being the bad guy.

“Cooper! Leave Brooke alone!”

“Cooper, get off the kitchen table!”

“Cooper! Cooper, what have I told you about eating my shoes!”

He will always look up at me, give the cat sound that equates a sigh or a “but mom!” and he will continue on his way to his next adventure. Brooke will always be my silent child, who meows when the time is right, comes running for food, and will poke her head in the door if she hears a loud noise. Hopefully, as she takes her sweet time to adjust to life here, she will really learn to open up and become half as playful as Cooper is.

For now, I continue to mother these two cats and love them as much as possible no matter how hard or smelly that might be some days.

Living with Cooper

I moved into my apartment all on my own, and I NEVER planned on having a roommate. Then, I met Cooper – the domestic, long-haired cat in my life, and within 24 hours there was a little man living here.

He is only a year old, but it is like having a young child as well as another twenty-something around. When Cooper is sick, I sit up with him and make sure that he stays hydrated and that he isn’t cold. I take him to the vet, I feed him, brush his hair, and I provide him with all of the toys he could ever need or want. Actually, this reminds me that two of his toys are busted and that I should replace them soon.

IMG_2245When I can’t sleep, he hangs out with me until I pass out. If I have home-work to finish, then he hangs out until I finish.  When I am upset about something, he is there to listen. While I know he will never be able to respond or give his opinion on anything, it’s just nice to have someone else in the room to hear my rant.

He and I fell into a nice rhythm from the first day he arrived here. I work in Manhattan so our day starts very, very early every morning. I wake up at 4am to Cooper’s very warm body snuggled next to my back, and then I fill his food and water. I’ll take a shower, but I will leave the door open because he likes to climb up and sit on the low shelf in the wall where the towels are stored. By 4:30, I am showered, dressed, and packing my bag for the train ride to the office. I make sure that all of Cooper’s toys are in the center of the living room and that the blinds are pulled up half way so that he can look out the window while he is home. Sometimes, I will actually catch him sitting on the windowsill when I walk back from the bus stop.

It can also be very stressful having a pet. When you go away, you need to make sure he has enough food and water and there is nothing laying around that he can get into. Some nights, I just want some alone time, but he just cries at my bedroom door, if it is closed, until I invite him in. Some days I just want to be by myself, which was the perk of having my own place. He is such a good boy though so having him around even when I want some privacy is okay by me.