You can bet that with a new baby around, you’ll have less time, energy and attention to offer your cat. That can be confusing and concerning for the former center of your attention. Your cat may beg, mope, or worse, become jealous and aggressive — which isn’t good for anyone involved.
Here are some tips to ease the transition, encourage a smitten kitten and help ensure baby’s safety.
Introduce your cat to babies now if possible.
When you can, invite family and friends with young children over to get your cat used to the sounds and smells they bring with them. (Note from editor: Please wait until after the global pandemic to have any type of gathering.)
Establish boundaries ahead of time.
If your cat won’t be allowed in a certain room or cozy spot, make that clear well ahead of the due date, especially if the area was previously used for the litter box. Put up a physical boundary if you need to – close a door, get a gate, add a mosquito net, etc.
Let them learn your baby’s scent.
When you bring your newborn home, put a used, unwashed baby blanket in your cat’s favorite spot. This should help them become familiar with your baby’s scent.
Give your cat a special treat when baby comes home.
They’ll learn that behaving well around the baby gets them the attention and rewards they crave. Make sure the initial introduction is in a peaceful setting.
Don’t forget the one-on-one attention.
Try to spend at least five minutes each day focused on your cat and be sure to find ways to incorporate them into your new routine. Nursing time can be a great time to cuddle a cat.
Visit the vet for a checkup.
Make sure they’re up-to-date on vaccines and flea-free. Ask your vet about flea prevention options that are safe to use around babies.
Never allow cats unsupervised in a room where a baby or child is sleeping.
“A newborn cannot turn over or even move her head at first, so a heat-seeking cat who chooses to cuddle up close to the baby’s face could make it difficult for the child to breathe.” – ‘Cats and Babies,’ ASPCA.
With a little advance preparation, kids and cats can live together in harmony—and share a special bond, too!