I used to write about my cat, Osman. A column in a newspaper, in his name defending animal rights and a website telling his daily stories. These were the days he was right in the center of our lives, hearts… Yet he still has his place, but he has to learn to share it with two small human beings. This blog won’t be on him, but my life as a mom raising two kids in Brussels. However my first posting is about my grumpy 13-year-old cat, who has been suffering from two young children; ages 2 and 5.

Life with two young children is not easy for Osman.

Life with two young children is not easy for Osman.

I took care of Osman when he was a kitten; then he helped me take care of my babies. He was the first to diagnose my pregnancies. By jumping on my lap, and insisting on not leaving for hours. He was the most reliable “predictor”. He was gentle with the first baby; he slept next to him in contemplation of protection, he played with the baby very softly, not leaving a scratch even when his tail was pulled. Osman was a perfect playmate. He never got frustrated when he did not win unlike human babies:), he always listened to what my son mumbled. So four years later when the second baby arrived, I had no concerns about Osman getting along with my daughter. Proven by experience I thought he would accept her as well. Little I knew!

Osman the cat

Osman became extremely isolated; he now plays less, sleeps longer… He only accepts adults’ attention. When children are around, he throws us this miserable ‘I cannot take it anymore’ look and he hides somewhere in the basement. He has his own protests; peeing outside his sandbox, anywhere close to where children play. And the worst is if we have playdates, he leaves a piece of his ‘kaka’ as an ultimate warning; “Take these creatures away from me!”

Osman the cat

I changed his food, bought two XXL sandbox, took him to the vet’s clinic several times… He has been through blood tests, urinary test and even an ultrasound screening. At the end the diagnosis was that he might be depressed. While I try to offer extra attention and love to him, searching alternatives to make him feel better, a friend told me that finding a “feline behavior consultant” would be helpful. I’m sure there are “feline shrinks” in Belgium, where the estimated feline population is 1.7 million; what I’m not really sure is to afford his monthly bills!

Warmly,
Zeynep Basak
BCT member since 2008

durakz@gmail.com