Cat’s and Newborn Babies – Your home is about to get a whole lot more interesting! But are you worried about how the spoiled little kitty in your house will react to the news? Will he take the newest & youngest family member under his wing?
Cats appreciate uniformity and predictability within their lifestyle. Being sensitive to new sounds and smells, sudden changes in their surroundings will leave them perplexed and sad. And soon, your once so-friendly pet will become picky and unfriendly.
So, how can you create harmony between your two most loved creatures?
Cats and Newborn babies can live together happily, but you must play your part wisely as a parent. Instead of making an abrupt introduction, make some familial preparation to help your cat create a friendly relationship with the infant.
Here, we have some ideas and tips on how you can build a tremendous cat-kid relationship allowing them to co-exist in the same house happily. Whether you are a cat lover, a new parent, or both, read on to discover more about this intriguing topic.
Is an introduction necessary for Cats and Newborn Babies?
Cats adopt a standoffish attitude when the love and affection they receive from their caregiver begins to branch out, even if it’s a baby.
For cats, the Newborn baby’s arrival in a house full of adults is a scary experience. The baby becomes an alien creature for the cat, sparking a commotion in its happy place. The unusual smell of the baby and the odd high-pitched cry of the baby further add to the growing pressure driving the cat crazy. The cat either goes into the stranger–danger mode or develops anxiety.
As stress takes over your cat’s friendly mood, it will begin to lash out with its razor-sharp claws. And you surely don’t want your feline buddy to hold any grudges against your little bundle of joy.
To foster that bond of everlasting friendship between these two little creatures, you need a plan that starts months before the baby’s arrival.
Why Do People Get Rid Of Their Cats During Pregnancy?
Many people give away their pets before or after the arrival of a baby. Giving up your little Furball might seem an extreme decision, but there are some valid explanations for adopting this behaviour.
Let’s look at some of the reasons for giving away their cats once they know a baby is on the way, and more importantly, how to find a way of avoiding any eviction notices!
Risk Of Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite called toxoplasma. Cats get toxoplasmosis when they eat small mammals and birds. The infected cat shed toxoplasmosis cysts in their faeces, making them a threat to an expecting mom. Pregnant women can cause stillbirth, miscarriage, congenital disabilities, hydrocephalus, and epilepsy.
However, there are ways through which an expectant mom can protect herself and her child from getting infected.
- If your cat has been pooping in the garden until now, then great! If not, it’s time to introduce an easy-to-clean litter box. The Pet-safe Scoop free Litterbox will actually self-clean, and prevent you from needing to do a Daily poo clean-up!
- Make sure to wear synthetic gloves while cleaning the litter box. Keep a box of disposable gloves and wear them whenever you clean the litter box. There are 100 pairs in a box, enough to last several months!
- Bring new exciting toys that could keep your cat entertained, to reduce their likelihood of going out ‘Hunting’ or associating with stray cats. You can easily find some interesting cat toys online, such as Cat tunnels, Cat teaser toys, and many more. All these toys will allow the cat hours of unlimited indoor fun! If you find yourself struggling to find time to play with your cat, you may be interested in considering the use of Automatic Toys.
- Undercooked or raw meat also contains toxoplasmosis. Don’t feed your cat raw meat when you are pregnant. Moreover, thoroughly clean any cutting boards and utensils that might have come in contact with the meat.
The Baby May Develop Allergies
Parents may put their cat in a shelter because they fear the newborn might develop allergies. Cats produce allergens. The allergens from their saliva are deposited on their hair. As the cat roams around the house, the allergens get deposited around the house.
However, studies suggest that having pets around during a baby’s first year significantly reduces the chances of developing pet allergies later. So, instead of just giving away the cat, adopt the “wait and see” approach.
The Cat Will Steal My Baby’s Breath!
An old wife’s tale says cats can steal a newborn baby’s breath, causing them to suffocate. According to this myth, the smell of the milk attracts them, and they try to suck out the infant’s breath. So, is it really true?
The fact behind this absurd idea is pretty simple. Cats (when they begin to love newborns) enjoy cuddling with babies due to their warmth. A cat sleeping close to the baby may suffocate the baby leading to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). And so cats shouldn’t be allowed to lay near a sleeping newborn baby.
This can be managed very simply be ensuring your sleeping baby is not left unattended, and that your cat is unable to access sleeping areas. Many parents also opt to purchase a ‘Safety Net’ in order to prevent the Cat from sneaking it’s way into your Babies Crib!
The Cat Will Hurt The Baby
Parents are concerned about the safety of their newborns. Cats become aggressive to newborn babies when they have to share the love and care of their owner. A fierce cat is a genuine threat to a newborn. And as a parent, you don’t want your kid to get scratched or bitten by the cat.
However, instead of rehoming your favourite animal, adopt a strategic approach and prepare your cat for the baby’s arrival. Taking necessary precautions right from the start of the pregnancy will create a bond of love and friendship between the two little fellows you love the most!
We recommend buying a Feliway Diffuser (Several if you have a bigger home!). The diffuser releases a calming pheromone around your home, which can Calm your Cat, and significantly lower their levels of Stress and Anxiety. And don’t worry – It’s 100% scentless to humans, and will only affect your Cat! Top Tip: Set up the diffuser around 1 month before the arrival of your baby to allow the Pheromone time to spread into all corners of your home.
For a devoted cat parent, the idea of giving away their kitty is heart-breaking. If you are in the same boat, we are here to help!
Prepare Your Cat For The Arrival
You indeed have a lot on your plate for a soon-to-be mom, but you want your pet to have a friendly relationship with the newborn. And for that, you need to be proactive right from the beginning.
Remember that your feline friend is a creature of habit. An unexpected arrival of a little human creature will baffle your cat, causing it to behave aggressively. However, taking baby steps and making gradual changes around the house will excite your fur friend about having a little brother.
Here are some things you can do to prepare your cat for the arrival of a newborn baby.
Let The Cat Explore The Nursery
Allowing the cat an occasional sneak peek into the nursery is an excellent strategy for preparing the cat for the coming baby. But decide whether or not the cat will be allowed into the baby’s room. If you wish to keep the cat away from the baby’s room, now is the time to plan things out.
Reward the kitty by tossing treats in the opposite direction of the room. When you leave the baby’s room, spend quality time with your pet and praise it occasionally. Make gradual changes to your home to avoid surprising the cat.
But if you want your cat to visit the baby in the nursery under your supervision, let it come to the room with you.
- Let it get accustomed to the nursery room before making it out of bounds for the cat.
- Let the cat sniff the crib and baby blanket but teach him not to settle inside.
- Cover the crib with a Safety Net if you are concerned about the cat getting comfortable inside the crib. But do teach the cat to stay out of the net.
Introduce Baby Accessories
Allow your feline friend to investigate the new things you’re bringing into the space so it doesn’t feel left out and nervous. Prams, cots, and toys – anything you bring home encourages the cat to get familiar with them. Place baby’s accessories in a neutral area away from the cat’s litter box and food trays before placing them inside the nursery room.
To encourage your fur friend to explore the baby’s belongings, put your cat’s favourite treats on or around the objects. The cat will explore things in its free time, and the baby’s arrival won’t be a shock.
Get A Scratching Post
Cats release stress through scratching. A scratching session allows the cats to mark their territory and helps them feel better about all the changes around the house.
The cat may get curious about a closed door (the door to the nursery room). Although familiarizing the pet with the things in the nursery room may kill its curiosity, the cat may try to open the door using sharp claws. You don’t want to destroy the newly painted door, do you?
The trick is to get a scratching post and get the kitty accustomed to it before the arrival of the newborn baby. You may even choose to really spoil your Cat and go for the Ultimate Scratching Post! Whenever the cat gets irritated with the crying baby, it will retreat to the scratching post to let out all its frustration.
Create A Cat Space
Even with all the preparation during the nine months, your feline friend will need time to accept her younger sibling. Besides, just like the new mom, the kitty can benefit from some me time!
Create hiding places around the house where your cat can retreat to avoid all that commotion within the house. You can simply place a cardboard box in a warm corner of the house, allowing the cat to calm her nerves when stressed.
And remember to place a warm towel or cat blanket inside the box.
Change Your Play-Time Schedule
The arrival of the baby will turn your world upside down. Your plans and schedules will get affected. It’s essential to carefully consider how your daily routine will change and start making adjustments in advance.
If the expecting mom is the primary caretaker and the cat shares a strong bond with the mother, it’s time to switch roles. Starting your new routine before the newborn baby’s arrival, allow the cat to gradually accept change without blaming her little sibling.
Adjust the feeding time, grooming, sleep time, sleep location, and play sessions – you must adjust everything a few months before the due date. This way, the cat will have time to adapt to its new lifestyle.
Use The Power Of Smells
Cats have a sharp sense of smell. They communicate with scents. Scents that are familiar to the cat’s nose are identified as friends. You can take benefit of that feline personality quirk for developing a solid cat-kid relationship.
Here are some ways to implant the adoring baby scent into the cat’s world.
- Apply the baby powder and lotion to your hands two or three months before the baby’s arrival. Your cat will soon become habitual to it and will adore the baby once it arrives in this world.
- Before your baby is born, stroke your cat with a pair of socks you bought for the infant. When bringing the newborn baby home from the hospital, put the same socks on them. Since he will have a familiar scent, your pet will recognize the baby as a family member.
- Bring home the blanket from the hospital that you wrapped around the infant after birth. Place the blanket somewhere around the house, allowing your cat to sniff it well. That way, the cat will be ready to welcome her younger sibling once he is discharged from the hospital.
Start Introducing Baby Sounds
The last piece of advice for parents with cats is to get them accustomed to the newborn baby’s sounds. Play recordings of various baby sounds such as giggling, laughing, squealing, and especially crying.
A wailing and crying baby sounds like a kitten in distress, which upsets the cats. But again, you have to do things calmly and smoothly.
Play recordings very smoothly at first and start increasing the volume over time. The loud weeping noise may agitate your feline friend. You can shower the cat with treats and praise during the recordings to help the cat adjust to all these sounds.
This way, the cat will gradually adjust to these noises and better cope with a crying baby.
Things To Do After The Arrival Of The Baby
Finally, the baby is home. You just had a tough time delivering the baby. You are exhausted and excited. However, before you settle down in your home, there are a few things that you need to take care of:
- You have been at the hospital, and your pet missed you terribly. Greet your little buddy in a quiet room and reconnect with her to make her feel happy.
- Don’t force the cat to meet the newborn right away because it may startle her away. Place your baby where your pet can see and sniff the little fellow. Make sure your baby is wearing socks having a familiar scent.
- If your cat is not ready to accept the baby yet (she will maintain a distance from the baby), let them follow their own pace. Don’t force the cat to meet her little sibling. When cats control the situation, they are less likely to feel stressed or anxious.
- Finally, keep the interactions positive when the cat is ready to cuddle the baby. For instance, praise your cat, give her treats and food, groom it, and play with it – but make sure the interactions are brief.
- Make sure the door of the baby’s room remains closed at all times. Place a high-tech baby monitor with multiple sound levels for added security.
- Engage your cat in interactive playtime. Toys like fishing rod toys and cat laser lights excite your fur friend. Engaging your cat in playtime not only fulfils its need for stimulation but also helps to alleviate its stress levels.
- Pay close attention to your cat’s body language. If your pet is hissing, withdrawing, or acting strangely, try to slow down the introduction process.
Every cat adjusts at its own pace with a new baby in the house. With mutual respect and careful introductions, the cat-kid relationship will turn into a loving bond. As your infant grows up alongside a happy cat, it will eventually develop that purr-fect relationship that will last a lifetime!