My Cat Saved My Unborn Child
by Elisa Black-Taylor
Laura and Smoky
"My Cat Saved My Unborn Child" is a true story and today is the 29th anniversary of when this took place.
All of my online friends know my daughter Laura and how important she is to all of us. What most people don't know is the difficult pregnancy I had with her. Not only did I gain a lot of weight, but I had edema and blood pressure problems from the seventh month until I delivered.
I had found my Russian Blue Smokey the previous winter when Smokey was too weak to even climb over a fence to get to food. There was snow on the ground that day and since I had no cats, I had no cat food on hand. Smokey ate corn flakes and popcorn the first day with us.
I became attached to Smokey and she followed me everywhere.
On March 31, 1983, I woke up around 9 a.m. and decided to have a bowl of cereal before walking the few hundred yards to my mother's house. For some reason, Smokey didn't want me to leave the bedroom. She lay down in front of the door and refused to budge.
As I thought back later on this event, I realized what Smokey really wanted was for me to have to bend over and pick her up. As I did, I became very dizzy and disoriented. This was the first and only dizzy spell I had while pregnant. I forgot the bowl of cereal and lay back down for a few minutes until I felt well enough to walk to mama's house.
Mama immediately called my doctor when I told her what had happened. She believed something was wrong for me to get that dizzy from picking up a cat. The doctor told me to be at his office as soon as I could get there.
Since it was time for me to go into labor (the ultrasound said I was due between April 1-9), I wondered if I was about to go into labor.
The doctor who examined me was the other doctor in practice with the one who was to deliver my baby. He didn't quite know what to do with me. It appeared I was leaking amniotic fluid, but I wasn't in full labor. He contacted my doctor by phone and I was sent across the street to the hospital.
I had a difficult labor where my heartbeat (as well as Laura's) and blood pressure kept the nurses busy trying to keep us within normal range. Laura was born an hour after midnight on April 1. I had technically been in labor over 26 hours.
I'll always believe Smokey knew something was wrong with me and she was determined to let me know I needed my doctor. Without the insight of my beloved cat, my daughter may not be here today.
Which brings me to the reason for this article. I've seen so many animals listed as turned into the shelter because a new baby is on the way or just arrived.
Why are women still in the stone age about the myths surrounding cats and babies? There are more positives than negatives to having a cat around when you're pregnant and after you deliver a baby.
First of all, cats are very intuitive and they find ways to communicate when something is wrong. I've had cats who refuse to leave my side when I'm sick. I wouldn't doubt if some of the readers have owned cats who let them know when a child is sick. Usually by keeping vigil near the sick child. We had a dog who used to do this with Laura. Laura wasn't pleased at all with this arrangement as she couldn't play hooky from school. If the dog wasn't beside her, then she was faking being sick.
I've heard many excuses why a cat is thrown away over a new baby. The litter box is one issue. Children shouldn't play in a litter box. There are ways to teach a child this is a no-no. There's a universal word that works for children, adults and animals. It's "AAANNNKKKK!" and it means NO. There are also litter boxes that are child resistant. Don't throw away your cat. Just educate your child.
Another excuse I hear is "no time for the cat." Do you believe your cat would prefer a shelter cage and death to having a little less attention paid to it? I don't think so!
I won't go into all of the old myths we used to hear about babies and cats. Instead I want to ask readers if their cats ever warned them their child was sick. Or, as in my case, something had gone wrong during the pregnancy.
I'm very fortunate my mother was able to read between the lines over something I was going to ignore and she made the decision to call my doctor.
Laura and Smokey were good friends. I'd often find Smokey in Laura's lap while she watched cartoons.
Then one day, shortly after being turned outside for some playtime, Smokey was chased to the road by a neighbors cat. We buried her in one of her favorite napping spots.
There would be many more cats in Laura's life. Cats are NOT a danger to a pregnant woman or to a child as long as precautions are taken.
When you throw away your cat, keep in mind you're throwing away a family member whose only crime is loving you. You're basing your decision on information that went out of date thirty years ago or more.
Readers, please send this article to any family member or friend who is pregnant and has a cat. Maybe we can save a few cats from the consequences of outdated myths.
P.S. Happy Birthday Laura!