Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Old Wives' Cat Tales

Spring here means, amongst many other things, lots of "lost cat" posters on the telephone poles, taped to the inside of the bus stops, slapped on the bulletin boards at the supermarkets, etc. I see one and I think, "Road pizza". I just don't understand how people can let their cats run free and not expect them to meet up with, say, an angry dog, a sociopathic serial-killer-to-be (they're here, too), spilled antifreeze, etc. This being the spring, too, narcissus flowers and other deadly-to-cats plants are in full bloom.

We are in the minority because our three kitties coexist almost entirely in a small two-bedroom apartment (two bedrooms and a living room and a kitchen, actually), and while they have free access to our balcony on sunny days, they seem to prefer the greenhouse effect of our picture windows in the morning. They are healthy, and while two of them are technically in renal failure, you wouldn't know it by looking at them. Well, maybe you could guess with the Tweeb. But at any rate, our litter boxes don't stink, and except for the two weeks last year when the Tweeb got hauled to the vet and began peeing on our bed at the injustice of being the only cat subjected to such indignities, they haven't got any behavioral issues, either. There is occasional growling and hissing, but by and large the three have reached amicable terms of coexistence.

I say this to refute the old wives' tale that cats need to go outside to be happy and healthy. Noodle, who was previously allowed outside, has shown no desire to so much as be on our balcony (though his curiosity is finally starting to get the better of him--after 3 years). But now that we're in verwachting, there's another old wives' tale that we've been getting from both sides: that cats and babies can't get along, and that we'll have to send our kitties away.

First of all, not bloody likely. The cats were here first. And...well, honestly, who else could be suckered into adopting the Tweeb? Besides, there are enough videos floating around that clearly refute the so-called "fact" that cats are dangerous for babies. If anything, I could probably use the help:

But it's strange how persistent these myths are, despite the higher literacy levels in Europe, and the greater appreciation for animal welfare (especially in the Netherlands). I guess there are some things that not even science or rational thought can trump.


  1. Well, I don't know about myths and I don't want to scare you, but my sister had to give away her cat when she got her first baby. The cat (who was previosuly not at all aggresive and an indoor cat) became extremelly jealous at there being someone else requiring all the attention and attempted to scratch and bite the baby several times. So the only option was to give it away.

  2. Yeah, I won't discount that possibility, but given the temperaments of our fuzzbutts, I find that scenario very unlikely.

  3. That video is the cutest thing ever. It's so funny the way the cat looks at the camera at the end as well as if to say, "You're welcome."

  4. Our cat threw itself under a car two weeks before the baby was born. We'd had the same debates and had decided how everything was going to work, but never had the chance tgo try it out. But we didn't have too many worries.