Your indoor cat and newborn baby, friends or foes? Although old wives’ tales would like us to believe that it’s the latter, friend status can easily be achieved between babies and cats! How? By understanding your cat’s behavior, setting up healthy boundaries, and a slow approach to introducing cats to babies.
Now we’ve covered introducing cats to babies in a previous blog post, but what about the rest of it? In this article, we will look at your cat’s behavior after the new baby arrives, concerns about your child's well-being, and ways for your indoor cat and newborn baby to safely bond.
Preparing Your Home for Babies and Cats
Although a peaceful co-existence is easily possible for our two loves, we can take a few steps to help aid the process along. Preparing your home with the right baby proofing is one of them!
Not only is baby proofing an essential part of your parenting journey, but it will also help keep the peace between your furbaby and hooman baby. Even though most parents only think about baby proofing once their little one is mobile, we beg to differ. There are plenty of hazards that can affect our precious tots, mobile or not. On top of this, it’s also a necessary precaution to ensuring that your cat stays safe too!
Being proactive in setting up your home can lay a favorable ground for introducing cats and babies. Don’t let a terrible incident happen for you to action. So, what can be done?
For starters, if you’ve read our article on Introducing Your Cat to Your Newborn, then you’d already know the importance of setting up a safe space for your cat. This space should contain their food, litter box, and other fur-miliar favorites. Having their own room will help make your cat feel comfortable and confident in retreating should they get overwhelmed with their new sibling.
If the litter box has been staying in the soon-to-be nursery and needs relocating, do this sooner rather than later. Try transitioning your cat into their new room several months before. You can do this by slowly edging their litter box day by day until they’ve reached their new room.
Next, using a baby proofing aid like Door Buddy will help keep this space safe. As our tots learn to crawl and explore around the home, keeping them out of the kitty litter is a must! Removing your cat’s litter box and food from easy-to-reach spaces is highly recommended, as these can be a severe danger to your little love’s health.
Baby proofing isn’t the only way we can help prepare our furry friends for their new sibling. With a newborn, new sounds of frequent crying can only be expected. Some cats may startle easily, and we have to keep in mind our purrrfect pets’ emotions. You can try playing tapes of babies crying to help ease them into the new environment they’re about to live in.
Caring for Your Cat’s Behavior with Your Newborn
Change is a hard thing to grapple with, even for us hoomans. Now try and imagine being your cat whose whole world is about to change! Think about it, they were once the apple of your eye, and now a tiny hooman has come into the picture to steal the spotlight. That’s a tough pill to swallow, right?
Our furry friends will always hold a spot in our hearts, but it’s only natural that doting over our pets can fall to the side when a newborn enters the picture. We’re parents, we get it, and we’ve been there! The problem with this is that not only are our pets feeling neglected, but they can also quickly act out in negative ways.
Cat behavior after new baby can be a little removed. Babies are noisy, they pull tails, and let’s face it, they can be pretty tricky to be around when they’re grumpy. Understandably, your cat will want their space during this time. Your cat may even become slightly stressed and agitated as a result.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to help settle their emotions. Adding a scratching post to your home or a cat tree is a great way to help your cat relieve stress. You can try using baby lotion on your hands and lightly stroking your cat to get them familiar with your baby’s smells before they arrive. In more dire situations, catnip can prove useful when your cat gets itself into a state. However, we recommend seeing a vet or a behavior specialist for the use of catnip.
Introducing Cats to Babies - Myths and Concerns
Living with cats and babies can bring about a whole new world of concerns. Being a parent can be challenging, that’s for sure! A part of being a parent, of course, is worry. Worry can consume us with what-ifs and frantic Google searches - especially when it comes to cats and babies living together.
If you’ve spent some time on Google or around friends and family, you may have picked up on a few upsetting myths. One of the most popular myths surrounds your cat potentially suffocating your new babe. As common as this one is, it’s purely a myth and has no medical or scientific facts behind it.
One concern, however, that does hold some weight is the fear of your cat hurting your baby and vice versa. Accidents happen, and there may be more than one occasion when your baby and cat won’t see eye to eye. This is why we recommend setting up a safe space for your cat to retreat to. If they feel threatened or stressed out, they can bolt off into safety (if only us parents had such a room!).
The best thing about being parents to both cats and babies is seeing their love flourish for one another. Although the process may be slow to start at first, you are helping build a lifelong friendship that won’t soon be forgotten. With this being said, should you run into any significant problems, consulting a behavior specialist may be extremely helpful. They will help guide you in the right direction, and craft strategies to purrrfectly suit your home and your kitty.
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