Cliff and I were the type who thought it would be best to test out being parents on cats. The thing about that is that cats tolerate being left alone for weekends, days, and such more than infants and toddlers. So when we had Holden and he wanted me 24/7, I was not prepared...not even a little. So all those years of parenting our cats Rudy and Pebbles were wasted. We'd have been better prepared by going to LLL meetings or Attachment Parenting support groups. I envy those who are that prepared and at the same time I am grateful for parents who are so thoughtful and intelligent! It would have been smarter to have pets for maybe a year so then have kids. Instead we just had cats for years...
Rudy (Garfield colors) passed on last summer at the age of 11. It took him a few years to tolerate children. He was like a grouchy uncle. Pebbles hissed at them at first and then grew to mother them and tolerate all sorts of love--as seen in the above photo. Holden loves to take naps with her. She is a very cute and sweet cat. Except she likes to kneed on us. She has some unmet needs, maybe?
Shadow (Cocker Spaniel) was given to us when she was a few years old and Holden was just over a year. It has taken awhile for me to bond with her. But she is so loyal and loving. She is a very protective dog. Cocker Spaniels have some strange tendancies though. At least Shadow does. I will spare you all the odd details. All I can say is getting her fixed didn't stop her inborn needs. And she still likes to nip people she doesn't like or know. Other than that she is a very awesome girl. And she's a great rabbit hunter. I told Holden recently, if we are ever in the woods and need food, she is the dog to have! Another thing, she really loves to go on walks! Great for getting outdoors.
Having pets and children is a neat experience overall. I won't lie there are moments I am overwhelmed by all their needs. But now Holden is very wonderful at helping to care for them. He feeds and waters them when I ask him to. Tonight Pebbles wanted to go outside for a prowl. Holden didn't want her to. He is very protective of her. I told him it was o.k. for her to go out. He was worried she'd get lost or something so he put her collar on and explained that if she gets lost they will call us or take her to the animal shelter.
Animals are like having kids in some ways. They need so much attention and they need health care as well and it is not cheap. I would suggest to anyone considering getting a dog or a cat to dog sit or cat sit for a few weeks or months. Pet caretaking can be tedious. But also rewarding! Plus it's good for relaxing (cat) and getting exercise (dog).
I would suggest to anyone wanting children or preparing for kids to go to a LLL meeting and Attachment Parenting group, if you haven't already or aren't current on the importance of breastfeeding and attachment parenting. Kids are a much more serious investment of your time and commitment. You'll want to get some valuable information from people who have current and essential parenting and health advice. Times have changed and your kids physical and mental health are not worth chancing. Best of luck to all future parents or pet parents.
Now I better go let the cat in!!