Jesse came in to where I was napping this morning and said, “Kelly, I have bad news. Our dog ate our baby”.
This is the little 1 inch plastic model that the mid-wife gave me at my 11-almost 12 week appt. And Claire chewed off it’s head and legs.
This comes on the heels of of a question we’ve been pondering quite seriously– what ARE we going to do with our pets once the baby comes? Other than occasionally chewing up small objects, peeing on the carpet, and humping small children (a BAD new habit she’s developed, probably because Topher likes to give her big open-mouthed kisses), Claire’s not a danger. She’s very obedient to verbal commands. We often don’t even need a leash when we take her outside to “do her business”.
But then there’s Mirabelle. Our cat who picked up a few demons on the long road from CA to TX 3 yrs. ago. Here’s my HONEST assessment of Mirabelle’s current mental state: she’s a loving cat who trusts NO ONE other than Jesse and I. She cuddles with us every morning, purring away. I am not kidding. But she growls, hisses and spits the moment anyone else comes within 20 feet of her.
And, on top of her normal eccentricities, she plays ROUGH. Claire doesn’t usually mind this– they bark at and chase each other all day long. But if a human happens to get in the way? YIKES. I accidentally let my hand dangle off the bed while I was sleeping a few weeks ago. I awoke at 2 am with Mirabelle’s teeth and claws wrapped around and sinking into to my arm. Immediately, I was screaming and waving my arm around, which only made Mirabelle cling and bite harder. Just 2 nights ago, I was sitting at the dinner table, minding my own business, when Mirabelle forgot I was there and tried to jump up into my chair to avoid Claire in one of their nightly chase scenes. What ensued were four claws into my KNEE CAP. I have the puncture wounds to prove it.
So you can imagine why I’m nervous. What if the cat attacks our baby? She would never do it in play, since she doesn’t trust anyone else enough to play. If it happened, it would be malicious. Which is actually comforting, because Mirabelle is all bark and never bite– the only person I’ve ever seen her attack was my brother Joe, and this was because he was hitting her in the face with a shoe as she was cornered under a bed.
No, my fear is if Mirabelle ever becomes “trusting” of the newest member of the household, she will try to “play” with him or her. Which could result in missing limbs or fingers.
I know this seems like an easy solution to everyone else out there, but it’s actually a tough one. MOST of the time, we love Mirabelle. I saved her as a kitten and bottle-fed her back to life. She’s lived with us for almost 4 years and is a great distraction and play-mate for Claire. They are actually, quite often, partners in crime. Mirabelle knocks things off the counter for Claire to chew, which is how our plastic baby lost it’s life.
We have a few options. Perhaps you could chime in with your vote.
#1 My aunt Collette has agreed to take Mirabelle as a barn cat for their country home outside of Austin. No one would ever love her or pick her up again, but at least she’d have a place to roam and food to eat.
#2 De-clawing her front paws. As “in-humane” as so many people say this is, it’s more humane than taking her to the pound. The downsides are $$ and the fact that many cats have urine accidents after the surgery since they can’t feel the litter as well without their claws. Sounds dumb, but it’s a documented fact.
#3 Moving to a house with a yard. This would solve many problems– Claire could have a doggie door, and Mirabelle could…never come inside. The downside to this is that Mirabelle would probably find a way in the house, seeing as she’s been a house cat for 4 years and wouldn’t understand what changed. We’d also have to find a way to get a collar back around Mirabelle’s neck.
What to do???