Introducing your cat to your new baby
As you may well know, cats are creatures of routine and predictability. So it’s no surprise that sometimes adding a new addition to the household can perhaps interfere with their peace of mind.
Imagine how confusing it must be to suddenly not be the fur-baby of the house and have your owner’s full attention any more, as well as a sudden very messy and loud new companion.
Many cats are able to take changes in their stride, but it’s also important to note that new furniture, new sounds and smells, and baby-related paraphernalia can all cause cats some anxiety.
Why a baby may make a cat anxious:
● Toys with flashing lights and strange noises can be startling
● Strong smells such as milk and dirty nappies can be overwhelming
● A sudden change in devotion level can lead to loneliness and boredom
● Unpredictable behaviour from the baby and invading their personal space can be stressful
It’s also important to note that cats should never be left unattended with a baby, as both can be unpredictable (and difficult to reason with!).
How to make your cat feel safe and secure around these changes:
● Try to make changes as gradual as possible, it’s best to start before the baby arrives
● Allow your cat to investigate all new items thoroughly
● Help your cat feel more connected to new items by rubbing a cloth in front of the cat’s ears and then onto new items (you won’t be able to smell these friendly pheromones, but your cat will!)
● Give your cat plenty of safe, quiet spaces to hide in, such as igloo beds or empty boxes
● Play audio clips of baby sounds occasionally, before the baby arrives
These tips should help prepare your cat for the new arrival, and reduce the anxiety that comes with a lot of sudden changes to their usual lifestyle.
Other tips for safety and wellbeing of both your cat and your baby:
● Wash your hands after handling the cat or cleaning litter trays etc.
● Keep cats off kitchen surfaces
● Keep the baby’s room as a no-go zone for the cat, especially when the baby is very small
● Put a net over a baby basket or pram to prevent the cat from getting in
● Keep up your cat’s preventive health care – flea and worm treatments
We hope this helps give you a good start and a good home-setup for when your new baby arrives. For more information and useful advice, please visit International Cat Care’s full article at this link.