Is the cat jealous of your baby?
In the master-slave hierarchy, baby trumps cat, confesses Catherine Goldfain.
In the midst of a harsh Highveld winter, baby's room is by far the warmest place in the house... something my cat's cottoned onto fairly quickly. Just the other day, I walked in to find my feline friend sprawled across the change table.

Considering he's the only one who gets any proper sleep around here, I was tempted to empty the entire contents of the talcum powder bottle over his head. Instead, I shoo'd him away, allowing him to take up his usual spot, stretched out alongside the heater. It's here that he remains for most of the day: ready to trip me up in a careless moment.

To tell you the truth, I'm seriously beginning to suspect some jealousy issues. Take playtime for instance. While baby gurgles at the fluffy creatures on the playgym, Aslan launches himself into pounce and attack mode. And let me tell you, there's nothing that comes between a determined cat and an all-singing, all-dancing toy mouse.

When it comes down to it, the attention-grabbing behaviour could well be my fault. You see, in the quest for Mom's affection, Baby trumps Cat any day. In the master-slave scheme of things, Mom's found a brand new boss: someone who actually appreciates all her efforts. Of course, rejection is never easy: a feeling that can drive the sweetest kitty cat to seek revenge.

For weeks, we couldn't figure out how baby's door managed to swing open during the night: letting all the hot air out - and in turn, chilling the room just enough to wake him. Granted, it didn't take long to figure out what my devious little furball was up to.

Under the cover of darkness, our crafty cat would sneak off our bed and down the passage to baby's room. A quick push on the door was all it took for this little cat burglar to compromise Mom's sleep security. As baby grew accustomed to such breaking and entering, the little marauder took to pushing open the cupboard door (the one that is prone to creak) before sneaking back onto our bed to await the first cry.

Ok, I do kind of get where he's coming from, but there's just one point where I have to draw the line - and that's when it comes to baby's  safety. Which is why this morning, it was time for me to teach him a lesson.

There I was, ready to pop my near-sleeping baby into his cot. As I lifted the duvet, I spied a contented ball of black fur, curled up into the foetal position. 'Miaow' said the cat. 'BOO-HOO' yelled the baby and 'AAAAAAAARGH' screeched the Mama, (ready to pull her hair out).

And with one swift movement, the cat was back on the mat. Where he belongs.

Where do your pets fall in the family hierarchy? And do they know it?

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