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Wife getting tired of cats

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by munkyleon, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. munkyleon

    munkyleon Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Jun 27, 2011
    Groton, CT
    Ever since my son was born two months ago, my wife has been talking about getting rid of the cats. I have to admit they've gotten ridiculously annoying as of late.
    They always act like they're hungry, begging incessantly (meow meow meow meow meow meow24/7, then running like psychopaths into the kitchen when we even go close to it). I know I feed them more than enough wet food (I looked it up) and if I give them more they vomit.
    We switched them back to the litterbox after a failed attempt at toilet training. Now she's upset about the litter on the floor.
    Their hair covers everything more than dust. This was never an issue before, but now it is.
    Every week there's a new discussion on how she wants to find a place for them. I don't see any justification, they really aren't that bad or messy apart from the incessant whining. Somehow I know she'll miss them and regret giving them away.
    Is there anything I can do to help stop their whining and perhaps is there a type of litter that's hard to kick out of the box? we have a top-loader and one of them gets it all over his fur.

  2. mrblanche

    mrblanche TCS Member Veteran

    Jan 28, 2008
    Just as with a child, you made a lifetime commitment when you took on the cats. You owe it to them to work out the whole situation. We see people bringing cats/kittens into the shelter with this excuse on a regular basis, and you can bet a good portion of them ultimately end up in that terrible room in the back.

    But it sound to me like they want some attention. A covered litter box might help, too, but just as you have dirty diapers with a baby, you have litter boxes and litter with cats.

    Others who have had children here can probably make more suggestions; I'm just concerned about the lives of the cats involved. It's too easy to consider them "disposable pets."

  3. ruthyb

    ruthyb TCS Member Top Cat

    Oct 28, 2009
    Derbyshire UK.
    I agree you took on the cats for life and they deserve to stay with you for life. I have 3 children and I considered my cats when I had my first daughter,the impact that having a baby would have on the cats too,as it must have been strange for them and they would be getting less attention.Have you thought about this?Your cats may wonder where this baby has come from and all of a sudden your attention has been moved onto something else.I had a few problems at first but I just made sure I really fussed the cats still and also visitors who came to see my daughter I made sure they gave some attention to the cats too.
    I would have never considered getting rid of my cats and it makes me so angry when I read adverts "getting rid due to new baby",its so sad,the poor cats haven't done anything wrong.As for hairs then hoover,I find with having children I hoover up a lot more and hairs aren't really a problem.Yes I must say you do notice things more when you have children,especially with a newborn as you are very hygiene conscious but cats are very clean and I agree a covered litter tray would probably suit you better,I have one and its great.
    Good luck and i hope you can find a way to solve your problems without giving up your cats.x

  4. anita1216

    anita1216 TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Feb 23, 2009
    Southeast Michigan
    While pregnant with my daughter, my beloved cat started acting bonkers and once the baby came, she went totally off the deep end. I had her to so many vets for her hair pulling (she was totally bald from her hind legs up). She just did not understand the baby and where this new thing had come from. Megan(my cat) was on valium for a long time after our daughter was born and it helped her quite a bit. It was not my daughter that I was concerned about, it was my cats mental health and her destructive behavior to herself!

    I really believe many parents, escpecially first time parents, take everything way to seriously. I know you love your baby, this miracle, he/she is your world and rightfully so. Children have been being born forever, lol, and have survived in really deplorable conditions and thrived. Getting rid of the cats because of some scattered litter or mewling for snackage seems a bit silly IMO.

    It may simply be that your wife is feeling overwhelmed, a new baby is exhausting. The cats probably do just want attention and love from you both.

    My daughter is 14 now and we lost Megan 3 years ago at just short of 20! I miss her so much and yes, she did eventually come around and loved my daughter[​IMG]

    Good luck! I hope you can find a compromise that works for all of you so you can remain a happy family.

  5. quarkthecat

    quarkthecat TCS Member Kitten

    Jul 31, 2011
    Poor kitties!

  6. txcats

    txcats TCS Member Young Cat

    Jul 29, 2011
    This is so sad, there are so many pets who are beloved until a baby comes along, and then they are considered a burden. I don't understand (nor like) people who look at living beings as disposable. That attitude says a lot about them.
    However, if your wife resents the cats and takes it out on them, it may be better for them to be re-homed, hopefully to people who will love and appreciate them.

  7. ldg

    ldg TCS Member Veteran

    I believe, as other posters have mentioned, that your kitties need more attention. [​IMG] Give them a good session of play with interactive wand toys each morning and evening. Play helps relieve stress. Invest in Feliway plug-ins, this will also help reduce stress. Hide treats around the house for them to find before you head out to work.

    Help your wife with the vacuuming, and if you can afford it, invest in a hand held vac to pick up the litter they scatter when leaving the box. It just takes a minute or two a couple times a day. [​IMG]

    You can also purchase some Bach's Flower Essences Rescue Remedy. Put a few drops in their water every day when you change it, and before you leave for work in the morning, put a very small dab under their chins, at the base of their necks and at the base of their tails. This may help them calm down a bit too.

    I'm so sorry your wife doesn't believe pets are family members for life. [​IMG] I hope you're able to help her change her mind.

  8. swampwitch

    swampwitch TCS Member Top Cat

    It sounds like you really want to keep your cats, and your opinion is just as important as your wife's in family matters! Hold your ground and tell her "we don't dispose of family members in this family" and tell her you are going to help make it work. When the cats are needy and noisy, get out the laser pen or da bird and spend 5-10 minutes playing with them. Your kitties are going through changes in the family, too, not just you and your wife, and they are uncertain and need assurance that you are there for them.

    Your wife still has all the pregnancy hormones going on, and the stress (even though it's happy) of a newborn. When her hormones regulate again, she would probably be very upset that the family kitties are gone, and you may resent her for causing it.

    This is a bad time to make any more life-changes; if she insists tell her you want a compromise. Tell her you both can re-evaluate how it's going in a year, and then play with and pet those kitties. She will be seeing more clearly by then.

  9. swampwitch

    swampwitch TCS Member Top Cat

    p.s. You might also think of what message you are sending to your child. Your son will hear you both talk about the kitties, and years from now your son will see pictures of them. What are you going to tell him? Was there a really good reason to "get rid of" your cats? What you do now will affect his way of thinking about life and empathy for other creatures. There are lots of kids who think their elderly parents are pretty disposable, too.

  10. ducman69

    ducman69 TCS Member Top Cat

    Sep 18, 2010
    Feed on an exact schedule, and try switching partially to dry feeding from an autofeeder. You could do two dry meals and one wet meal for example, or two wet and one dry, and I would highly recommend a grain-free low glycemic rich food, else cats just feel so hungry from the carb rush of dry foods with lots of grain or wet foods with gravy and the like.

    This is not only less work, but they will not expect to get food out of you more than very close to the timeframe they are supposed to be fed. Wesley is a huge chatterbox, but he'll just sit quietly by the pet feeder a half an hour before it dispenses, and its a life-saver for when you want to go out. There's also a huge cost savings, as even the best premium kibble bought in the largest bags is far cheaper than even the least expensive wet food on a calorie for calorie basis, as its just cheaper to package and distribute. I can also link you to a very large extensive study that demonstrated cats on mixed diets had better dental hygiene than cats that only ate wet.


    For the shedding, I would recommend getting a square metal brush and a furminator, and you can do them once a week which will help. You can even use a lint roller on them in between, and my cats love it like its a swedish massage. [​IMG]

    For litter, I would recommend using a ribbed or purpose made littermat, which should minimize tracking. I use Swheat Scoop Multicat wheat litter, and really like it, and it is definitely far less dusty than clay litter most use (and healthier and flushable too), although it does track immediately outside the litterbox, but never far since its big wheat clumps.

    I wouldn't try to guilt trip her, as personally that doesn't work on me anyway and just makes me that much more annoyed. Try the honey approach first, by addressing issues that pester her, and I think she'll come around fast. And its not surprising for new moms to be 100% focused on their baby at the expense of other things, but I think that wears off in a bit.

  11. yosemite

    yosemite TCS Member Veteran

    Apr 26, 2001
    Ingersoll, ON
    The first thing you could do is volunteer to clean the litter boxes and area to help her out. I use old towels that I fold and put down in front of the entrance to the litter box. I can then just gently pick them up and shake the litter back into the box and the towels can be washed with the regular laundry each week. The towels catch the litter on their little paws before they can track it into the rest of the house.

    I agree with the others who say the cats are wondering what this noisy thing is that has now taken over the house. They want some attention and need some reinforcement of their value to you. I made sure my cat was allowed to sit on my lap as I breast-fed and she and our daughter became fast friends. My cat at the time was a Siamese that was not particularly friendly to anyone except me, but wow, she was amazing with our daughter. Not once did she ever bite or scratch our baby even when Jennifer got a bit rough.

    Give them time to adjust to the baby and give them some extra love. And, definitely give your wife a hand with the kitties by doing their litter and even handling the feeding.

  12. melesine

    melesine TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Aug 2, 2011
    Your wife is probably exhausted and overwhelmed and on top of it her mothering instincts are putting her baby first, as it should. You should take over the cat duties that are annoying her like vacuuming up the cat hair and cleaning the cat box. I'd also suggest cleaning up the tracked cat litter on a daily basis and you giving the kitties extra attention might reduce her annoyance with them. As a mom myself, it could take 6 months but she will get back into the swing of it. New babies are exhausting.

  13. fetzcatz

    fetzcatz TCS Member Kitten

    Aug 2, 2011
    Seattle WA
    honestly, if we are ever blessed with the chance to become pregnant again, all of my animals will be finding temporary homes elsewhere.... i love them to death but after having a Stillborn child, i know what i will be focused on during and after pregnancy..... how my cats or dog may react to having a new baby around will be the last thing i want to deal with. so for me, taking them out of the equation for a while will be best..... and of course, the new home wont be forever, they will be with family or a close friend for a year or so and we will take our child for visits so that they "know" who the child is in a way..... when the time is right they will come back to live with us...

    perhaps you could give your wife a break for a couple weeks.... have a friend or someone take the cats for you and let her get herself settled.... bringing home a new baby is very stressful in itself and maybe the cats wanting attention too is just too much for her to handle right now? get them out of the picture temporarily, let her catch her breath and then bring them home again.

  14. yosemite

    yosemite TCS Member Veteran

    Apr 26, 2001
    Ingersoll, ON
    You will be hard-pressed to find any responsible cat owners here at TCS who would recommend re-homing cats just because one is pregnant or just had a baby. Cats don't do well being moved around and could well end up with behaviour problems. They prefer a stable environment.

    Most of us have had cats and babies together forever and all is well. I had a miscarriage before I got pregnant for my daughter but I don't for a minute believe my cat had anything to do with it.

    Would one give away their first child (temporarily of course) when they get pregnant for their second child so they could concentrate on their pregnancy? Doesn't make much sense to me.[​IMG]

  15. mrblanche

    mrblanche TCS Member Veteran

    Jan 28, 2008
    We have 3 cats right now at the shelter that were brought in "because I now have grandbabies, and I don't want them exposed to the cats." You have no idea how close the girl at the desk came to climbing over the desk to get to this woman.

    Three cats. One, a yellow-and-white tabby little girl, will probably get adopted. One, a gorgeous adult snow-shoe, will be lucky if a rescue picks her up. And one, an orange tabby boy, will almost certainly be going to that dark room in the back, because he's afraid to let anyone touch him (he's friendly and talky, until you reach out to him, and then he shrinks back and swats).

  16. fifi1puss

    fifi1puss TCS Member Top Cat

    Jan 2, 2007
    You've gotten some good advice already. I just wanted to add that as a woman, we can sometimes say things looking for support. She is overwhelmed as any new parent would be and I think the place to start would be for you to say something like "I know Hun, they are a handful and we have the new baby. But they will settle, we just need to get back into a routine again. I'll try and help by (insert you own ideas..maybe dusting more? litter box duty daily? etc) and we'll get through this." followed by something like what a great job she is doing and how you love her and she is amazing etc etc...because she is probably feeling like crap right now especially since her body has changed. Support her and help her get through this time and things will get better. [​IMG]

    p.s.: I think the idea of using towels outside the litter box is awesome! I am even going to try that! Easy to clean...gotta love it!! [​IMG]

  17. rosieposie

    rosieposie TCS Member Young Cat

    Jul 20, 2011
    North East England
    I dont think your wife is a bad person i think she is probably just trying to do the best she can for her baby and she hasnt quite figured out that babies and cats can live together.

    Definately take some of the stress away from your wife with the cat chores. And try and introduce the cats to the baby in a safe and controlled manner.

    I have 5 kids and hygene has never been an issue. If your cats shed alot of hair then perhaps keep them away from the main area that your wife and child will use for now. Your wife doesnt want hair all over the baby and thats fair enough.

  18. kaikrishna1111

    kaikrishna1111 TCS Member Young Cat

    Jul 17, 2011
    Your wife is probably feeling overwhelmed with motherhood, and she might even be suffering from a little post pardem depression. Mother's instinctually get protective of their own young like all in the animal kingdom, and some times rationality and common sense take a back seat. Are your cats indoor outdoor? If they are indoor only, is it possible you could build an outdoor structure for them to spend time in during the day? They could catch bugs and watch birds and get additional entertainment. Or maybe you have a friend who could watch the cats for 6 months while your wife adjusts and she could reevaluate then? Maybe the break is all she needs. Also, my Savannah is a huge obnoxious food meower, we had to start feeding him canned only once a day so he wasn't expecting it all the time, and that actually cut down on his meowing. Good luck and be patient with your wife, new motherhood is challenging.

  19. luvzmykatz

    luvzmykatz TCS Member Adult Cat

    Oct 13, 2005
    Please don't get rid of you cats. The shelters these days are full of perfectly good cats people gave up on because they didn't take the time to work with them. I'm of the mind that if I take on a pet I take that pet for life. So anyone I date know this right off me and my pets are a package deal. Also I would never move somewhere that didn't allow them. The only way I would give them up would be if I couldn't afford to feed or shelter them anymore.

    Here's a few suggests:

    First off you had a baby only a few months ago. Cats are habitual creatures who don't like change but can adjust given some time and patience. They are used to a certain level of attention and probably miss that.

    I would put them in the basement at night or in a separate part of the house. Don't over feed them when you give them what they are crying for then they learn to cry for it more. Keep a strict feeding schedule and only feed them at those times. Twice a day should be enough. My cats nag me for food in the morning. I yell shut up and they quiet down for a hour or so. Sometimes I close the bedroom door on them and they quiet down after a few minutes. They know what no and shut up mean. .

    As far as the litter you could try the clumping litter is pretty good stuff and keeps dust at a minimum.

  20. amberthe bobcat

    amberthe bobcat TCS Member Top Cat

    Oct 17, 2003
    In the Cougars den
    You will not like my answer, but this is how I strongly feel. The cats were in your home BEFORE your child and are just as important. You decided to live with a cat and the cat is NOT a disposable item, just because you have a child. You are now responsible for your child's care AND your cat. However, if you find a HOME, not a shelter, where your cats will be loved as much as or more than, what you have been providing, then ok. However, your cat should not be dumped at a shelter, because you have a child. An animal is not a disposable item.

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