Friday, August 8, 2014

Preparing Your Cat for a New Baby

Bringing home a new baby is exciting for you, but it can be quite confusing for your kitty.  That's why it's important to not only prepare yourself and your home for your new baby, it's important to prepare your cat for the new arrival as well. 

Photo credit: Brad Brundage

Keep a Schedule: Cats are creatures of habit and don't like change.  Create a schedule before the baby comes that you'll be able to keep.  Gradually move your cat's feedings, playtime, and cuddles to the new schedule so he will be accustomed to it by the time you bring home your new baby.  Don't give your kitty a lot of extra attention before the birth of the baby.  Instead, gradually give your cat less attention outside of his scheduled play and cuddle time so he won't feel ignored when you're busy taking care of the baby.

Getting Kitties Used to Baby Sounds: You can help your kitty adjust to all the strange sounds that will inevitably come into the home with a new baby.  Purchase a CD of a baby crying.  Begin by playing the CD at a very low volume while your cat enjoys mealtime or engages in interactive play with you.  You want to ensure that your kitty associates a baby's cry with positive experiences.  Gradually raise the volume of the CD over several days or weeks until you have reached a realistic volume.  Be sure to go at your cat's pace; don't increase the volume of the crying baby until she is comfortable.  

Photo credit: Daniel Guumaraes

Baby toys and equipment also make noises your cat won't be used to.  If at all possible, buy and set up baby equipment well ahead of time.  Turn on the baby swing, and reward your cat if she decides to get near it.  Likewise, get out new baby toys, turn them on, and allow your cat to check them out.  Reward her for approaching or getting near them.  Never force your kitty to get near baby toys or equipment.  Remember, you want your cat to have positive experiences around the baby's things.

Helping Your Cat Adjust to New Smells: Use baby powder, baby oil, baby shampoo, and baby lotion on yourself so your cat can begin to get used to these new scents.  

The Baby's Room: Decide whether your cat will be allowed in the baby's room well before the arrival of the infant.  

If the Room Will be Off-Limits: Take any furniture your cat loves out of the baby's room so that he can continue to have access to it.  Put a cat tree or bed just outside the baby's room.  Install a tall baby gate in the doorway to get your kitty used to being restricted from the room.  Aytime you go into the baby's room, put a couple of treats on your cat's tree or in his bed.  

Once the baby comes home, give your kitty treats when you're feeding or rocking the baby in its room.  This will help your kitty associate the baby with something positive while rewarding him for staying out of the room.  

If your cat sneaks into the baby's room, gently put him outside the door.  Do not scold or punish him.

Photo credit: Trevor Leyenhorst

If the Baby's Room Will Not be Off-Limits: Put a cat tree or bed inside the baby's room.  Aytime you enter the baby's room, reward your cat with treats in her bed or on her tree.  After the baby arrives, give your cat treats in her bed or on her tree when you are feeding or rocking the baby to reward her for being near the baby.  

To train kitty not to jump into the crib, place some soda cans filled with pennies on the crib's rim.  If your cat tries to jump into the crib, the noisy soda cans should deter her.  Alternatively, you can use a crib tent to keep your kitty out of the crib.

When Baby Arrives: Be calm when you introduce your cat to the baby.  Talk to him in a soothing tone.  Reward him for getting near or approaching the baby and for positive interactions with the infant. 

Cats can happily coexist with new babies.  These tips should help your cat adjust to the arrival of a new family member.  

Have you ever introduced a cat to a new baby?  What tips can you share with expecting parents?

13 comments:

  1. A furry informative post fur those expecting a stork in the near future... :)

    Happy Friday

    Basil XOX

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  2. Good info for humans who will be bringing a baby home soon. Too many will get rid of the cat when a baby comes.

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  3. Great advice! Before I came along my mom's cat Patch had dibs on her lap. So when I arrived and she was holding me in her arms, she would have to put her feet up so that Patch could sleep on her legs :)

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  4. Great advice! Paws up for this.

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  5. That was great info and I hope everyone pays attention. We hate seeing critters dumped when a baby comes home.

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  6. That is all great advice. I wouldn't have thought about the baby sounds CD, but it's a great idea!

    Purrs (and wags) from Life with Dogs and Cats

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  7. When meowmy had her furst baby, she would sit on the couch, with one or both kitties that were there at the time (Groucho and Simba), and take the baby's little hand to pet the fur. A good experience fur kitty and baby and meowmy, too! She did the same fur baby number two. Never had any obvious 'issues'.

    When unfur the elder came home, he was asleep in his carrier.
    Meowmy put the carrier down on the floor and walked away to watch from a distance. Sure enough both kitties came right away to check out 'this new thing'...and when baby squirmed a bit and made one of those sweet little baby grunts, they both jumped away all afluff! MOL! Then they came back a little more cautiously...and had a good sniff. No hissing or biting...and they just walked away disinterested. He didn't smell like a kitty!

    We ourselves have nevfur seen a baby...
    MIAOW!

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  8. Very informative!! I never thought about any of these things. But having a baby is a big adjustment for everyone, even pets.

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  9. Excellent excellent informative blog. If I ever get a grandchild and they will certainly bring the baby over here with Katie and me, then I will do the CD for certain. xxoo

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  10. That is some great information. Lots of good suggestions. Enjoy your Sunday.

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  11. Have you seen this CD of noises to prepare your cat on Amazon? http://www.amazon.com/Tell-Your-Cat-Youre-Pregnant/dp/B00BNPXRPQ

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