I have a cat. His name is Gabriel. I actually have 2 cats... but Gabriel is my cat.
He's always been a snuggler. Especially when I was pregnant last year. He'd make his way to my lap...looking for his spot. But as my belly grew, I couldn't really accommodate his need to constantly be ON me. I was trying to get him used to a little distance anyway, with a baby on the way and all. I didn't want him in SHOCK when he didn't have first dibs on my lap space.
When we moved into this house at the beginning of the year... it took him some time to adjust. He doesn't do well with change. So the move was big for him. I've moved three times with him before, but it was always from apartment to condo, so it only ever took him a few weeks to adjust. This time, moving to an entire HOUSE was a bit of a big deal. Plus, he had a new set of rules to now follow. He wasn't allowed in the bedrooms (again, preparing his behaviour for when baby would arrive) and I usually found him sleeping in the dining room, tucked under the table on a chair. On random nights, he would do his best to find a sliver of couch near me, or find space around my legs as my fully grown belly took up most of my personal snuggle space.
After Alexander was stillborn, and we came home empty handed, the cats seemed unfazed. We had only been in this house for 6 weeks when my pregnancy ended. I sensed Gabriel could feel the emotion turmoil living with us, but essentially nothing in his reality changed. And as freaked out as he still was over every knock at the door, and creek in the floor boards, his only response was to do what he always does when he feels I'm down - just be there for me.
But I couldn't have anything of the sort. My belly was all broken and floppy, and having him cuddle me was somewhat of a cruel reminder that I didn't have a baby occupying my environment and I was essentially "free" for him to snuggle. I was too heartbroken to have some stupid cat claiming me, using me. Jeez, how dare he!
He had tough tendencies to break. Or, maybe he just loves me that much. But he stopped looking for my lap, and found places on the floor next to the couch, or on our ottoman we were substituting for a coffee table... or at times, especially after a few weeks out when I'd be on the couch 24/7 with lap open (skimming articles and blogs on stillbirth) he'd find a spot right beside me.
During the summer, as usual, we had less contact. It's hot, and he sheds and we both would rather not share body heat during this season.
But I wondered if he'd still be his regular snuggly self if I allowed it. After all, he might hold a grudge. I had a monster belly for about 3 months, and then for a good 6 months after that I denied him his lap space.
But lately...coincidentally... he's been all love. I'm pregnant again, and a part of me feels like he knows, and he's doing his best to love on me hard while he still has the chance.
Earlier today, I was channel surfing on mute and browsing emails on my ipad (I know, another tough Tuesday) and he slowly nudged his way on to my lap. I was feeling bloated and cramped up, so rested the ipad on my stomach so he couldn't knead his way into pissing me off. So he happily found a spot balancing awkwardly on my thighs. He purred deeply from behind my ipad, and I couldn't help but feel like he was telling me he'd be gentle if given the change to sprawl out.
He laid down, and started kneading the air around my belly. He was cuddling his head right into my belly while his pawns spread and flexed their way into some sort of hugging gesture.
Yeah yeah.. I have a cat, in every sense of the definition... but today just felt extra oozy and cozy! I grabbed my phone, and tried to capture the sweetness... but of course, he saw the device in my hand, and acted less adorable. I tried whispering sweet nothings to him to induce a little more cat love... but he was pretty ready for a good cat nap after his little pet himself silly on a mushy tummy fest.
8 years of cat love from this guy.
There was a time after Alexander died that I resented having him around. I couldn't find any enjoyment in his company, and I simply couldn't love him the way I used to.
Whatever stage of my grief induced those feelings has since (mostly) passed. We have old love for each other... and I'm happy he didn't give me reason to want to kick him to the curb after our baby died. I've come terribly close with my other cat, and Sam is still on thin ice most days, but Gabriel and I are in it until the end. And as cheesy as this sounds, I'm thankful that he's around.
(Mind you, if he does ANYTHING to make me feel like our next baby's well being is in jeopardy, in.a.heartbeat, he's gone...or up for adoption... or will be locked in the basement!, but I've explained that to him... and I'm pretty sure he gets my drift ;))
And yes, in this video, you can see my belly roll, and humongous pregnant boobs. And I'm wearing smurf pyjama pants!!
I know it's probably overkill, but he snores too! Again, he was much louder before I fumbled with my phone, and woke him up a bit.
P.S I hope the video upload works!