Bringing home a little bundle of joy, but worried about how you cat might react? Below is some great advice for preparing your cat for the arrival of your new child!
It’s hard enough worrying about the arrival of a new child without stressing about how your cat is going to react to the new addition to the household. It is easy to get caught up in all the rumors and miss truths. Don’t panic just yet. Most babies and cats get along just fine. There are some simple steps to take to make the transition flow smoothly, and we’ll get into those cat training steps below.
The first thing that all new families need to be aware of is the risks of toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is an infectious disease which can cause injury or death to a developing fetus in the womb. The good news for families is that toxoplasmosis is very rare in indoor cats that spend the majority of their lives inside. You can greatly reduce any risk of contracting toxoplasmosis by wearing gloves and a mask while changing any cat litter or simply getting someone else to the job for you. If you have a large population of wild cats around the house, then it is a good idea to wear gloves while you’re working in the garden.
You have nine months to prepare your cat for the arrival of a new baby. Don’t rush around a week before the baby is due and expect your cat just to change its ways. If you’re planning on constructing a nursery or painting, then do it over several months. Make sure that you pay attention to the cat so that it has positive associations with each of these areas. If you’re constantly yelling or chasing the cat away from new areas, it will have negative feelings towards all the new furniture and eventually the baby once it arrives.
It’s important to keep the cat out of the baby’s crib or cot. You aren’t creating a new sleeping place for the cat, and it’s important that the cat doesn’t assume it can sleep in the baby’s crib whenever it wants. Cats will often look for a warm and quiet place to sleep. Snuggling up with a sleeping baby may seem like a good idea to the cat, but for the baby’s safety, it’s not a good idea. Try keeping the door to the baby’s room closed when it’s sleeping. A baby monitor is a good way to ensure that you can hear the baby even with the door closed.
Cats have good hearing. Many high-pitched sounds can be disturbing for a cat, especially when they aren’t used to a baby crying or screaming. The good idea is to play baby sounds before the baby arrives to get the cat used to them. You can buy baby sounds on tape, or get a friend with a baby to make a recording for you. Don’t just start blaring screaming baby noises! Start off in small doses and then increase the volume over a few sessions.
Don’t change your cat’s schedule once the baby comes home. If you normally snuggle up with the cat on the couch while you watch a show, then try to keep doing it. If one person is handling the baby, the other person should be playing with the cat or paying it some attention. If you normally feed the cat at certain times, then make sure you keep doing it at the same time as you normally would.
When the baby and the cat are together, always supervise them. Don’t just walk away and leave the cat with the baby alone. While the baby is sleeping and not crawling or walking, it is vulnerable to the cat. The same applies once the baby is walking and crawling. You don’t want the cat alone with the baby where it can be grabbed or squeezed. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. Everyone will be much happier in the long run!
If you have any great tips for when you have introduced your child to your cat, then please comment below! Be sure to check out all of our other great cat training articles here.