Here are some helpful tips and advice for preparing your cat to introduce a new baby in and around the house.
11 May 2014| Last updated on 19 January 2020
But he didn’t seem too thrilled with the news, did he? Well, while he probably didn’t understand a word you said (come on now... you know he doesn't understand you, right?), he may sense change is a comin’ with the hustle and bustle of the nursery preparation, the addition of new furniture and supplies, and the changes you’re making to get your home “baby-safe.”
Undoubtedly, you’ll want to create a happy relationship between your newborn and your cat, and it will take a little bit of preparation to ease your feline friend into the idea of yet another human being to tolerate. But go on, admit it, before the little bean was on it’s way, your cat was the center of your world (aside from your spouse... of course, right?) and because cats, Dubai pet lovers should know, are creatures of habit and routine, anything that disrupts his harmony can quite possibly stress him out. So if you truly want a smooth transition when your two-legged baby arrives, it’s a good idea to get prepping now (while you can still comfortably move about and aren’t feeling like a ton of bricks is on your belly!).
To tackle the task, think about the changes the presence of a newborn brings, such as unfamiliar noises, erratic schedules, lots of things (who knew such a tiny human required so much stuff!?), cribs, baby smells (dirty nappies, wipes and lotions), rocking chairs, changing tables, and loads and loads of toys. And while you’re kitting out the baby’s room, know that in the feline world, the addition of each and every one of these items may represent for him an invasion of his sanctuary (his home) and he may therefore react in a way that you’ll find very annoying (like toileting and marking in areas OUTSIDE of his litter tray…).
To go about introducing all this newness, a gradual approach on kitty’s terms, and one that reinforces a positive association to the new items through a reward (food, play or cuddles), will help to ease his anxiety (probably!).
Here are a few suggestions (warning - some of them do indeed seem silly!):
Music to His Ears: With all of the squawking, mewling and crying a baby musters, it’s not a bad idea to find some videos of babies making… well... baby noises, and play them around your cat. In this way, the sounds won’t seem so foreign once the little noisemaker arrives.
Consistency is Key (yeah, right, we’re talking babies here): While your human baby’s schedule may leave you a bit frazzled, do try to maintain the schedule of your four-legged baby. Feeding, changing of his litter tray, and play-time/cuddle-time should all occur roughly around the same time each day.
Off Limits?: Decide (and stick to it) if your cat will have access to the baby’s room. If kitty will indeed have access, you’ll need to introduce him to everything new in the room. Or if he won’t be allowed access and the room was previously a place for him to hang out, you’ll want to transition him away from the space as soon as the decision is made. And if he had a favorite chair or other piece of furniture to lounge on, you’ll want to move that out of the room and find him a new chill-out space away from the baby’s room.
Smelly Cat: The lotions, wipes and shampoos you use on your newborn will be a new olfactory experience for your kitty, so why not try using them on yourself before baby arrives. In this way, the scents won’t seem so foreign and kitty will associate the scent with someone familiar.
Lastly, if all this newborn and cats talk has got you wondering and worrying about the overall benefits/risks of having a baby and a cat together at all, take a look at a blog we wrote some time ago, in which we discuss the health benefits animals bring to humans (including babies!)