Cats are not big fans of change. So imagine the confusion you create in your cat when a new member of the family suddenly arrives, in this case a baby.
When the baby arrives, many people consider that in the face of negative cat behavior we would be facing a cat jealous of the baby , but that is not true. Think “like a cat,” and notice the confusion caused by this major change in the cat’s normal routine and how her environment suddenly becomes unfamiliar. Overnight, the cat discovers that a strange-smelling and sounding creature has just “invaded its territory.”
What’s worse is that everyone around the cat suddenly starts scaring or yelling at him if he tries to get close to this strange little hairless creature, the baby.
To make it as stress-free for the cat as possible, in this article I’ll show you how to prepare a cat for the arrival of a baby.
Start grooming your cat as soon as possible
As soon as you know a baby is on the way, everyone in the family should start preparing for future changes.
Your cat should also be prepared for the new arrival, as there will be changes in the environment and in the home routine once the baby arrives home.
If possible, you should make the preparations four months before the birth; don’t leave it to the baby. Among the steps you should take before your baby is born are:
Keeping your cat’s normal schedule
A common mistake is to give the cat a lot of attention before the baby is born to compensate for the lack of free time later.
However, what ends up happening is that your cat will be fine with more playtime, more love and attention, but when the baby arrives, her whole world falls apart.
You should commit to a schedule before the baby is born that you can stick with afterward.
Getting your cat used to baby sounds
To help prepare your cat for the sounds babies make, play back recordings of a baby crying and screaming for short periods during the day. Initially, the sound should be barely audible, gradually increasing the volume as your cat gets used to the noises. It’s important for your cat to feel calm and relaxed to sounds before turning up the volume.
Introducing your cat to baby smells and objects
A highly developed sense of a cat is smell. Allow your cat to research the new items you bring home with the arrival of the baby. Make sure your cat gets used to baby powders, soaps, shampoos, and milk by using them in the months before the baby arrives. It is also a good idea to put some of the new products on your own skin (eg powders, baby lotions); in this way, new smells can be mixed with a familiar “safe” smell.
To make the new objects smell more “familiar” to him, wipe the cat’s head with a cloth and wipe it over the new baby objects. Cats have glands in their cheeks that release pheromones. The pheromones deposited during the rubbing of the cheeks are “friendly”.
Feed your cat where the baby cannot reach
Get your cat used to eating in an area that is difficult for the baby to access, preferably in height. When baby starts to walk and explore, cat food can be an irresistible attraction.
Provide a quiet place for your cat to retreat
You will likely have a lot of visitors when the baby arrives, including family and friends. Sociable cats may enjoy the extra attention they get from visitors, while others may feel overwhelmed if it is something they are not used to.
Cats should always have a quiet and safe place to go when they need to rest or withdraw from visitors . This will be especially important to them once the baby arrives and begins to walk. Cats prefer high, dark and secluded places that have a good view of household activities. A tall scratching post with additional tiers or a tall shelf is ideal for this. Encourage your cat to use these areas by placing some tasty treats and bedding in them.
Separate toys for baby and cat
Cat toys and baby toys are often made of similar materials. Some toys even make the same type of noise, such as a squeak or rattle. Not surprisingly, babies pick up and chew on cat toys. Avoid being mixed, keep them organized and separated.
Rest and sleep place for your cat
You must decide if you need to change where your cat currently rests and sleeps. For example, you may want to use that room as a game room. Gradually accustom your cat to sleeping in other areas, then keep the door to that room closed. Make these and other changes well in advance so that your cat doesn’t associate the transfer with the baby’s arrival.
Your cat’s health is important
Make sure your cat is in good physical health, it should be free of fleas and worms. Any suspicions about the disease or the development of diseases should be reviewed by a veterinarian. Any pain or irritation that a cat is feeling will decrease its tolerance to the changes that are about to occur, which can lead to urination disorders or aggression.
Keep an eye on your cat’s behavior problems
If your cat has a behavior problem, you should solve it before the baby arrives. Afterwards, you will be very busy and focused on the baby and it will be more difficult to address the behavior problems. In addition, the arrival of the new little one can exacerbate the problem of feline behavior.
Precautions during pregnancy with the litter box
If you are pregnant, your doctor has most likely told you to forget about litter box duties (some misinformed doctors or family members may even advise you to get rid of their cat). This is due to the risk to the fetus from toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis cysts are shed in the feces of infected animals.
To prevent cysts that are passed in your stool from becoming infectious, clean your stool at least twice a day.
What to do after the baby is born
How to introduce your baby to your cat
The baby should be placed in a quiet room where the cat has few associations. Hold the baby in your arms and have him sniff it. The cat will be interested for a few seconds and then lose interest. If your cat prefers to run away from the baby, don’t force it, it can be very stressful. Allow your cat to run away and investigate at his own pace. Reward your cat’s good behavior with gentle praise. Keep up with normal daily tasks and routines and your cat will easily accept the new arrival.
Cat and baby diseases
It is essential that your cat is regularly treated for worms and fleas, and that he is dewormed.
Do not leave dirty diapers on the floor, as they can wet or dirty the cat’s place. Use antibacterial soap to clean your hands after feeding, grooming or playing with your cat and always wear rubber gloves, which are washed afterwards, to clean the cat’s litter box.
Monitor the relationship between your baby and the cat
Don’t put your baby on the floor with the cat and don’t leave it unsupervised. This includes all cats, even those with excellent temperaments.
You should never allow a pet to sleep in the crib or in the same room as the baby. Small babies cannot bear the weight of a cat on them, this could cause accidental suffocation in the baby.
Don’t forget this: any close interaction between the cat and the baby should be supervised by you.
Little children and cats
Your baby will start to crawl soon, and it is important to be alert once he begins to move. It is especially important that you make sure that your cat has a safe place to rest and relax that is inaccessible to the child. This will prevent the child from continuously chasing, cornering, and harassing the cat. Finally, remember to place your cat’s litter tray in a quiet area away from areas your baby has access to.
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