Monday, June 15, 2009

Four babies and a cat mom

Three years before Ted and I became the parents of quads, we adopted a stray kitten and bestowed upon her the name of Pepper (after the Beatles album, of course!). Despite our efforts to tame this beautiful beast, she was a feral kitty and would not let us forget it. My hands daily bore the scars of her aggression, the veterinarian (and his entire staff) dreaded her checkups, and to say that she was skittish with anyone besides me or Ted would be a gross understatement—even our regular cat-sitter Jana never failed to get the hiss-and-swat treatment. So we were understandably concerned when we found out that we were having not one baby, but FOUR. How would this not-so-cuddly kitty adjust to a house full of infants?

It did not take long to find out, and her reaction has been fascinating. Although she still refuses to come within arm's reach of the babies (smart kitty), she responds to their cries as any cat mother would: She brings them food! Watch as Pepper retrieves Scooby (a toy that alternately serves as her playmate and prey) in an effort to comfort Jude while he waits for his lunch. (Don't worry, no babies were harmed in the making of this video.)



Has anyone else ever seen a cat exhibit this type of behavior? She does this when one of the babies cries (usually before/during feedings and sometimes during naps). After announcing her approach with her signature "Scooby cry," she will drop the toy near the crib or bouncy seat, peer at the baby (standing up on her hind legs to look in the crib, if necessary), and then look up at us, as if to say, "Why don't you do something?"

I think it's so cute, but we'll see how things change when the babies start crawling and grabbing everything in sight (it won't be long now). Watch out, Pepper!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

When our grandchildren were babies our Tiffany kitty would try to come to their rescue when they cried. She would meow and go towards the baby and then look at us the same way "do something." It is cute to see the kitty genuinely concerned, but just doesn't know what to do. As you know, I'm a cat lover too. Loved the video. ~aunt becky

Suzy said...

And people say that cats don't care about their people! :) The thing that really gets me about Pepper is how she brings Scooby ... why does she do this? Is this normal, or is she a cat genius? haha

carriegood said...

smudge also brings us his toy, but since we have no crying babies, i have no idea what prompts it. usually it's just when jeff is up late on the computer, so we always figured smudge brings his crab to play fetch.

Suzy said...

Carrie, speaking of late night, Pepper also cries and brings Scooby to our bed every night after we get in bed. Thank goodness this does not wake the babies up. In fact, today my mom noticed that the babies stop crying when Pepper starts doing her Scooby cry ... eeen-teresting!

carriegood said...

i can't tell you how many mornings jeff and i wake up and find not smudge, but crabbie in our bed with us.

and smudge also makes this super-weird garbled meow/noise when he's bringing us his toy. jeff imitates it perfectly but i won't attempt transcribing it. even though i've heard it dozens of times, every time he does it, i stop and go "what the hell is that?"

Suzy said...

Turn up the volume and listen to the very first part of the video ... I caught a bit of Pepper's garbled meow cry. That's what I'm talking about when I say "Scooby cry." :) Maybe these two crazy cats really are related somehow?

carriegood said...

that IS a great sound. more plaintive, as opposed to smudge's, which is more "mouth full of marbles" -- and i've been googling this issue (don't tell my boss) and i'm afraid it's not that rare. a pretty large minority of cats bring their owners their toys, and some (not all) also make weird meows while doing it.

Stacie Cook said...

Wow! One of our cats did that when we first brought Maya home. She would cry during diaper changes and Cosmo would come running and meow as if to say "help her!" lol

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