I really enjoy having our cats.
Husband and I rescued our first cat, Tiger, about a year after we married. He was in a box in front of a grocery store and we just couldn't walk away from the cutest little black and white bundle of fluff.
He was only a couple weeks old, covered in fleas, mites, and undernourished, but we nursed him back to health. He has been a loyal companion ever since. So much so that he thinks he is a dog. He comes when he is called and he begs at the table. He loves water (he will jump in the shower if we let him and get drenched), and greets us at the door when he comes home.
A year later we decided Tiger needed a friend. Husband and I were both busy doing school and work, so we thought another kitty friend would be good for him.
Enter Buttercup. She is our "blonde". She has orange and black spots on a white canvas. She is a typical cat, keeping to herself, prancing around, and watching everyone with distaste and distrust. It took Tiger a while to warm up to her at first, but now they tolerate each other and even give each other a bath now and then.
When I got pregnant, I knew things would have to change. The cats would no longer be able to roam into every bedroom, every nook and cranny. Instead, they would be banned from sleeping with us, not able to curl up with us wherever we were.
Needless to say, it was a hard adjustment for the cats, and they are definitely attention deprived. The past few nights, Tiger has heard Baby cry, then meows at our door. Baby hears Tiger and decides that she wants to go play. We hear her go "Da! Da!" Then she gets all upset when she can't get to him. It takes us a while to get her to go back to sleep, and by the time we do it's practically time to wake up.
However, having the cats has also been a huge lifesaver. Baby absolutely LOVES Tiger. She will see him from afar and yell "Djiagder!" (That means Tiger, in case you were confused.) She will chase after him and try to pet him. She now understands the concept of soft and will lay her head (or her whole self) on Tiger while he meows pitifully.
The cats got a new toy this past Christmas. It's a bright pink mouse on the end of a string with bells. Baby knows that it is a cat toy because she has seen us play with the cats with it. She will pick it up and try to get Tiger to play (Buttercup likes to hide whenever Baby is around, in case you were wondering where she was). The other day she picked it up and laid it across him. He walked away and shook it off. She picked it up, followed him, and repeated the process. They did this like twenty times, not kidding. It was fabulous. She was so entertained, I was able to make dinner without holding her (this is a huge accomplishment).
Tiger figured out she wasn't going to give up, so he jumped onto the back of the couch where she couldn't reach him. Baby picked up his toy and held it above her head, standing on her tiptoes with her arms stretched as high as she could get him. Unfortunately, she still couldn't reach Tiger. It was the cutest thing to see.
The moral of this post is that babies and animals work well together. For us, anyway. (I'm sure if you had a pet snake or something you would disagree). Once the child figures out the animal exists (it took Baby a while), he or she is easily entertained. Whenever we want to distract Baby, we ask her to find Tiger. Off she will go, on a Djiagder hunt. When she is not wanting to take a bath, we invite Tiger into the bathtub where he happily plays with the bubbles and keeps Baby entertained.
What would I do if we didn't have the cats?