Panda the cat had followed her owner Liel Ainmar Assayag around the house for nine months. During that time, Panda loved nothing more than to put her legs around her human’s pregnant stomach. But how would the moggy react to meeting the new baby? There was only one way to find out. Assayag took a deep breath and stepped through the front door.
Liel Ainmar Assayag lives with her husband and their cats in Alberta, Canada. Like all moms, she leads a busy life and juggles her time accordingly. Not only does Assayag work as an assistant manager for a footwear retailer, but she also runs her own photography business too.
To be more precise, she owns Li-el Photography, which specializes in capturing precious childhood moments on camera. This is an appropriate line of work considering that Assayag is also a mother. But before she fell pregnant, her first children were her furbabies.
In fact, Assayag has three cats, including a rescued tuxedo kitty appropriately named Panda. Assayag and her husband adopted Panda in 2014, two years before Assayag fell pregnant. And she revealed that the smart-looking cat fitted into the family right away.
“Panda connected with me instantly; she slept with me, purred on me,” Assayag told Buzzfeed on March 3, 2016. Although she described Panda as a “quiet and gentle girl,” the cat also appears to have a bit of a mischievous side. Apparently, she was quite the explorer.
Assayag explained that Panda is prone to going on adventures in her home. And these indoor forays can turn out to be somewhat destructive. In Assayag’s own words, Panda likes “to run around the house, ruin the carpet, and knock over things.” Thankfully, the cat is infinitely more careful with humans, though.
For example, when Assayag fell pregnant in 2015, Panda was the cat who showed her the most affection. It wasn’t just her human mommy that Panda offered her love to, either. The kitty took a great interest in Assayag’s baby bump as it became more and more prominent.
Assayag couldn’t help but notice that Panda was fascinated by the new bulge, and, much like the bump itself, Panda’s obsession with it continued to grow. In fact, it was almost like a magnet to her, something Assayag made clear to Love Meow on February 23, 2016. “Once I got pregnant she started following me around the house,” Assayag said.
But that wasn’t all the cat did; Assayag described how Panda also showed her love for the unborn child. She told how Panda would press her head against the bulge. Furthermore, whenever she did so, Panda purred up a storm.
Moreover, Panda’s enthusiasm for her future human sibling didn’t end there. She even tried embracing the unborn baby, as the mom-to-be explained to Buzzfeed. “When the belly got bigger, [Panda] started putting her paws around the belly so it looked like she [was] hugging it,” Assayag said.
Of course, even though it seemed like Panda had already fallen in love with the baby, Assayag was careful. And when she gave birth to her son Sean, she didn’t rush him straight to meet the cats. She wanted to ease the kitties into an introduction.
With that in mind, she asked her husband to take some of Sean’s onesies home ahead of her return. By doing this, the new mom hoped that the cats would get used to her baby’s scent. Yet Sean’s first meeting with his fur siblings was initially underwhelming.
You see, when Assayag introduced the cats to Sean, they showed little interest in the new bundle of joy. “They ignored the baby for about a month,” Assayag recalled. But things didn’t stay that way for long. The new addition to the family piqued the moggies’ interest shortly after, and they subsequently began to approach Sean.
“After a month, they started coming closer to him and [sniffing] him,” Assayag continued. And as expected, Panda was the first feline to adjust to the new baby. It still took her some time to get over the initial shock of Sean’s transformation from bump to baby, though.
In fact, Panda was baffled by this the new presence in the family – until she got a bit closer, that is. Further investigations then seemed to trigger something in the cat and the penny dropped. She appeared to realize who Shaun was. It was as if Panda had made the connection between the new baby and her previous hugging partner.
Suddenly, Panda’s old affection came flooding back, and it has remained there ever since. Assayag described how cat and baby have become inseparable. “[Panda] jumps on the bed near him, smells him, sits next to him,” she told Love Meow.
Furthermore, Assayag recognized the way Panda lay on Sean, pressed her head against him and purred. It’s the same behavior the cat used to demonstrate in the months prior to the baby’s birth. However, Sean was going to be spoiled. You see, he didn’t just get one furry companion.
In fact, the other cats soon warmed to the new arrival too, and now he has a clowder of protective siblings. Although Panda is the most obviously affectionate cat, they all have their own ways of showing Sean love. For example, one of them even likes to share his bed, something Sean’s mom is a little nonplussed about.
“The cats are not allowed in the baby’s bed when the baby is in the crib,” Assayag told Love Meow. “But every time I put the baby in the crib, I can see lots of cat fur all over the bed. They were guarding the bed for him. They call me at night when the baby is crying, laying down beside him to keep him safe.”
Assayag also hopes that her touching tale will persuade new mothers to keep their pets, instead of giving them up. According to her, pets see humans as their family, and that’s how they deserve to be treated. “And you don’t give up on your family,” Sean’s mom concluded.