Move over, Juniper. There’s a new cat in town. Her name is September, and she’s your new baby sister.
Imagine having a small get together with the folks you love. Then walks in some complete stranger and you’re like, “WTF. Who invited you?”
That was Juniper.
Last Wednesday, I was cooking dinner when Josh walked in the door from work, put his bags down, and said, “Hey, I have a surprise.” Giddily, I asked, “What is it?!” He handed me his cell phone, and on the screen was a picture of himself holding a very tiny kitten. “We’re getting a kitten?” I asked, confused and happy at the same time. Josh and I had recently decided our next pet would be a dog, as we already have a cat (Juniper AKA June, Juni, June bug) who is around 2 years old. “Yep,” said Josh, “she was found in a litter behind the Iron Pit.” Josh picked her up that Friday morning, and she was as sweet as ever. We named her September, in honor of our wedding month.
When I found out we were adding another family member into the mix (yes, cats are a part of our family and I understand I am very at risk for sounding like a crazy cat lady when saying that), I couldn’t help but think about how mamas feel when they realize they’re expecting again. It’s a mixed bag, right? I was excited to meet Seppie and see what she looked like in person. I anticipated how June and Seppie would handle meeting. Would June like Seppie? In a dream world, June would take on the mama cat role and care for Seppie like she was hers.
We are not living in a dream world.
The night before we got Sep, I had a few words with June. Josh overheard me in a nearby room and still makes fun of me for doing this. “June, there will be a new sweet kitty here tomorrow that you are going to love! You are going to be the big sister, so please be nice.” Days following that “talk,” I continued saying things like, “C’mon, June. She’s just a little thing. We gotta take care of her.” I kid you not. That cat would look me in the eye, practically into the depths of my soul, then turn her back and slowly walk away. Like she owned the place or something. Like with this, “Watch me, biotch” attitude. That’s when I thought to myself, Holy crap. June is the big sister. She is the rebellious adolescent right now (or for those of you with toddlers, she’s the one acting out, throwing a tantrum, and vying for your attention). Here is a great depiction of how our relationship was the week of September’s homecoming:
Sweet Sep, she doesn’t know any better. She follows June around constantly, probably because she thinks June is her mom. For the first few days, June would hiss, swat at, and sometimes tackle September. The first handful of times, I gave June a break and thought, She’s having a hard time adjusting, but she’ll get used to September being around. But she kept doing it. She was practically harassing September. I found myself getting very protective of the kitten and being angry with June. And then I’d feel bad. I mourned June no longer being the baby. And she was pissed at me because she knew she was no longer the baby. Now that we had a new kitten, June looked ginormous. Parents, do you know what I mean? Like…when you just have one kid, you think, “He’s my baby, he’s so little.” But then you birth this tiny creature and your first-born looks like… (GASP) more grown up. You’re thinking, “What?! When did this happen?” I’m re-reading this paragraph and asking you not to take it too literally. No, I did not give birth to my cat.
Juniper, The Bully