Throughout my childhood, we had a total of 2 dogs, 4 cats, a guinea pig, and fish. I loved them all. I had to learn how to care for them by feeding, bathing, walking, and playing with them. I hated having to clean their litter boxes or move their doodie (my term for poop at that time) to a place in the yard, and bury it. Despite this, I loved playing with them! It taught me to be gentle, kind, loving, and responsible.
A few years into my husband and my relationship, we adopted 2 sibling cats to practice being a family. We gave them tons of love and eventually they came around from their feral ways. When I became pregnant (6 months later) my female cat, Kasha, would sleep up against my stomach (which she had never done before). She seemed to know there was a little life inside me. Obviously when my daughter Lilah was born, it was a huge change for all of us (including the kitties!). Most cats don’t take well to crying babies (plus they get much less attention), but since my cats were still young themselves, they seemed to get used to it pretty quickly. Kasha stuck close to Lilah, but slightly out of her range. Ozzy (my other cat) generally stayed at least 10 feet away from her.
What I can say now is that Lilah adores her kitties. They tolerate her laying on them, carrying them around the house, and throwing balls, Frisbees and whatever else she thinks they’ll like. So far her responsibilities are just to love and play with them, retrieve them if they get out in the yard, and know exactly where they are at all times (she took this on without being asked). Eventually I will give her more tasks like I was given as a child. Maybe in a few years we could add a dog to mix, but for now, I think our family of 5 is just …purrfect.
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