Your cat has happily been running the household for years, only to notice a new presence in their home. One who they're not as happy to accept as you would've thought!
With a baby on its way, you will want to help your cat and the new addition to your family feel as comfortable as possible. While most cat owners may feel the urge to isolate the cat or newborn from each other, this might not be in the household’s best interests. Taking extra steps to ensure that this transition period goes as smoothly as possible is key in avoiding any chaotic situations or potential disasters. Being a new parent is stressful enough, never mind the worries of catfights and unwanted kitty litter mishaps!
Your new bundle of joy will be welcomed into your home, but it’s vital that your furry friend’s well-being is looked after as well. It’s important to remember that your cat has feelings and emotions too - after all, they are a precious part of your family! Although you may not be able to communicate with your cat, leading with respect, understanding and compassion are important in every situation.
To ensure that your furbaby is happy at home, we’ve put together our top tips to make this transitional time a breeze. These tips will cover aspects such as training, introduction guidance, as well as consistent rule-making that can help you create a happy home while keeping the peace between your fur-baby and your little one.
Tips to Successfully Introduce Your Cat to a Newborn
1. Plan Early
Like with most major changes, planning early is essential. Preparing before bringing the new baby home will help anticipate any potential issues. Therefore, helping to prevent any behavioral mishaps with your cat in the future.
To help you with your planning, you may want to:
- Do your research
- Develop some strategies that can help in stressful situations
- Discuss your concerns with your vet or behavioral specialist
2. Know When to Seek Professional Help
Cats are curious and playful, but can also be rambunctious and overprotective. This could potentially lead to a dangerous time for your newborn! Children aren’t yet equipped with the skills to help themselves when a problem arises with your furry friend.
Your local veterinarian, or even an animal behavior specialist in more extreme situations, will be a great resource if things get out of control. Cats can display aggressive behaviors or become hyperactive in certain situations. By consulting with a professional, you will have someone to quickly turn to for help.
Before you bring your little miracle home, it is a good idea to take your cat in for a checkup with your trusted vet too. It's important that all of their vaccinations are up to date to protect both your furbaby and your newborn.
3. Create a Safe Space for Your Cat
Let’s face it, when it comes to your cat, a safe space is a happy space! When you're getting ready to bring your bundle of joy home, spend some time creating a space just for your cat. This will help create healthy boundaries and provide a comfortable space for your cat to retreat to whenever things get too stressful. If only there was such a haven for moms and dads!
As you prepare for your newborn, dedicate some of your time to getting your cat's room ready too. This room will become their safe haven that's full of their favorite things. You can look to include:
- A comfy cat bed
- A suitable sleeping spot
- A fun cat tree and toys
Adding in the Door Buddy latch early will also help get your cat used to going to their safe space. It will be comforting to know that while your cat is enjoying their space, your little one won't be able to disturb them.
4. Set Boundaries for Your Cat
Remember, following through on your rules is incredibly important in making your cat feel well-adjusted. If your cat is not allowed to climb up on surfaces, you have to be strict in constantly enforcing this rule. Training your cat not to get on the furniture or jump on the counter will be a great training and behavior practice for when the small member arrives home. Doing so will help alleviate any stresses you may have about your cat coming into your bed or higher areas where your latest bundle of joy may be.
These enforced rules will come handy when you start planning your nursery too! If you're looking to keep your cat's access to the nursery limited, training is essential. As soon as the nursery is set up, you can start limiting your furry friend's access to the room by using Door Buddy. This will help create a familiar boundary while still promoting a sense of comfort as your cat gets used to the new objects and smells. An added bonus is that, with the door slightly cracked, you can easily hear when your baby is crying and ensure that sufficient airflow is being regulated.
Coming from parents who've gone through this ourselves, you won't want to skip over helping with this critical transitional and introductory period through healthy boundaries!
5. Keep Up a Regular Schedule
Like most of us, cats thrive off of routine. In a time of change, routine can help settle any anxieties that your purfect companion may be feeling. Getting your cat on regular schedules for eating, activities, and potty (if your cat goes outside) can go a long way in preparing it for your baby.
For indoor cats, a great way to ensure a stress-free and private potty time is to place the litter box in a separate room. Using Door Buddy will let your cat freely enter while giving you peace of mind knowing your little one can't explore and find treasure in the kitty litter box.
Getting the cat on a regular schedule will benefit you and your family to be able to have time for other things that need to be done. With your household activities in a new swing of things, it will also help you in knowing when you have to attend to the cat. This can help guarantee that your cat is always loved and looked after - preventing any situations where your cat may feel like it needs to rebel in order to gain your attention.
6. Promote Social Interactions
Is your furry pal a little anti-social? Cats are famous for their secretive ways and independent activities (tummy rubs excluded, of course!). Promoting social interactions will help get your cat used to other people and environments before the new baby arrives. After all, cats need social interaction in order to adjust to their new surroundings.
Encouraging social interactions with new visitors will be beneficial for when your newborn arrives too. As you're getting settled at home, it's only natural for friends and family to want to come and visit. There are a number of ways to get your cat familiar with new faces. You can try making regular visits to the groomer and even start inviting more people to your home to help your cat become comfortable with the line of events.
With regular visits to social surroundings, your cat will be better equipped to handle new people entering their territory. This will help make introducing your new family member to your loving pal much easier!
7. Show Your Cat Some Love
Once your baby arrives home there will be changes and you want your cat to be able to help with those changes. Before your home environment changes too much, try spending extra time with your cat and give them the love they deserve.
Taking an extra moment to comfort and bond with your furry friend will help keep them settled and remind them that they are an important part of your family too. After all, no one knows your furbaby quite as you do and by spending time with them, you will be more equipped to notice any sudden behavior changes or anxieties.
Change is never easy, especially for your furbaby. Using these 7 training tips will lead to a more relaxed introduction to your new baby and ensure that your cat feels comfortable at home. After all, a happy cat means a happy home!
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