I’ve had my beloved little Mickey for ten years. He was a street cat who was abandoned; probably the runt of the litter. When my husband, then boyfriend, Steve, moved in with me, little Mickey fell in love with him. I barely got any of Mickey’s affection anymore; he began to perch on Steve’s shoulder when he was cooking, sit on his lap when he was working, and cuddle up with him at bed every night. He has been doing so ever since.
That all changed about a couple of months ago when I was around 7 months pregnant. All of a sudden, this cat became obsessed with me. He still goes to my husband sometimes, but any opportunity to nuzzle up to me, he takes! At the dinner table, he’ll jump on my lap and try to squeeze his little face in between my arm and rib cage. He’s constantly trying to get his scent all over me. And at night, as I am always lying on my side now, he’ll awkwardly but determinedly curl up on my hip. If I disturb him to go to the bathroom, which is currently at least twice a night, he’ll wait and immediately resettle when I get back to bed.
This didn’t happen with my last pregnancy, so it came as a surprise. What is going on? Can cats detect hormonal changes, such as pregnancy? I started to research this and soon realized it is pretty common. According to veterinary surgeon Pete Wedderburn, cats, being highly sensitive animals, can indeed pick up on all sorts of vapors and smells that humans cannot, including pheromones being produced by human pregnancies. This is not surprising when we consider some animal behavioral products like Feliway sprays and diffusers release pheromones with the purpose of de-stressing cats.
Sensing human pheromones though may not always mean affection, some report of the opposite – of being jumped on and “attacked,” because of “jealousy.” So I guess we’re lucky that our little guy chose affection to express his opinion on the pregnancy!
The question now will be how he responds to the actual baby. We have approximately a week until we will find out!