Nothing can strike fear into a new mom’s heart like the thought of upsetting her furbaby when a human baby comes along (except for maybe the actual birthing process).
Cats are creatures of habit so it can be very upsetting for a feline when a new schedule-changer (aka the baby) turns its world upside-down. But there are ways to soften the emotional turmoil.
Read on to discover helpful tips on how to prepare your cat for a new baby.
Keep a Consistent Kitty Schedule:
Babies are hectic and everyone’s schedule gets thrown into chaos.
However, cats are creatures of habit and dislike any upset in their routine, so before your baby arrives make sure your cat is used to a consistent routine. This includes feeding times, scooping the litter box and playtime.
If you feel you may have trouble keeping Kitty’s schedule, enlist the help of those around you and invest in an automatic food dispenser.
Slowing Introduce New Sights, Sounds, Objects and Smells:
We as humans may take for granted all the new sights, sounds, objects and even smells a new baby brings with it. But for your routine-based furbaby, all these strange, new stimuli can be quite overwhelming.
To conquer this, let your cat sniff the new baby items as you bring them into your home.
Let her rub her face on the items (marking) so they will be just a part of the home to her. After the baby is born, bring home an item from the hospital that the baby has been in contact with and let your cat sniff and mark it.
This allows your cat to become sensitive to the smell of the new baby, without him or her actually being there.
Did you know there’s a CD of baby sounds? This is excellent to play in the background so your cat can become accustomed to all the odd sounds a baby makes. Play this when your cat is relaxed or you’re cuddling with her so she knows there’s nothing to be afraid of.
No Extra Attention:
As much as we may want to, we have to resist the temptation to heap on extra attention to Kitty before the baby arrives.
Remember, cats are routine animals so if you load on the affection to make up for the limited attention she will get after the baby arrives, she will come to expect this everyday.
To help ease Kitty into the “lesser” role, introduce more toys that will have her playing on her own, but still be sure to give her some one-on-one time as per your new schedule.
Allow Exploration of the Baby’s Room:
Keeping the baby’s room “off limits” before the child arrives is one of the worst things we as pet parents can do to our feline friend. Allow your cat to investigate the baby’s sleeping quarters so she becomes familiar with the baby’s items.
Experts even recommend placing a cat bed or scratch post in the room prior to the baby coming home, so your cat feels welcome in the area.
Although, the idea of a cat “stealing a baby’s breathe” is a myth, it’s not a good idea to let your cat sleep with a new baby as they can curl up too close and restrict an infant’s airway.
Some more jealous cats have even been known to urinate inside the crib, so to prevent these unwanted incidents, use a baby crib tent to keep your infant safe while your cat can still see what’s going on.
Cats love to be high up in the air, so invest in a tall scratch post that Kitty can call her own. This allows your cat to flee from a situation she may perceive as “too much” but still allows her to be a part of the goings-on of the family.
Tall cat trees are also perfect perches for when baby becomes a toddler and may become too “grabby” for Kitty’s comfort.
Still My Baby:
Cats are sensitive creatures so even after the baby arrives be sure not to ignore or shoo-away your feline pal. Up to this point, she may have been the center-of-attention and now she will have to get used to not getting the lion’s share of affection.
Give your cat the love she craves when the baby is napping or when someone else in the household is tending to the baby.
Working out the time issues between your new child and the cat will take some effort, but it will be well worth it when your child grows up with a loving pet that may just turn into his or her best friend.
Bonus: Looking for some ways to make your cat happier before or after the baby arrives? We have them!