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Are you wondering how to introduce a new baby to you cat? Read this article to learn about the best approaches to use for a smooth introduction.
One of the most exciting milestones in a person’s life is having a baby, whether they are fur babies or human babies. Having both is having double the joy and love. Watching babies and pets interact with each other can be the most adorable thing you could witness.
However, we have to keep in mind that we still both give them undivided attention. We do not want the other baby to get neglected.
Some new parents set their furbaby up for adoption to provide more attention to their children. This could be traumatic and unnerving for your pets, especially to adult dogs and cats. In this article, we will be tackling in detail how to introduce a new baby to your cat.
Why Introducing Your Cat To Your New Baby Matter?
Keep in mind that your furbaby is your first “child.” If your cat is not yet exposed to kids and is used to being around with adults, they will be overwhelmed and disoriented.
Your pet cat can become anxious when smelling the baby and hearing their high-pitched cries for the first time. Due to this, they can become defensive around babies and try to scare them away.
Planning months ahead will make the transition smoother both for your baby and your feline friend. But do not worry, in this guide, we will help you and give you ideas on how to introduce your cat to your new baby.
Debunking Myths About Babies and Cats Relationship
Myths about the coexistence of cats and babies have left parents a little on edge for a long time now. Before we get to the ways of introducing your cat to your baby, we have to clear up some myths that have been going around since the age of man.
Myth 1: Cats know when you’re pregnant
This is true. Animal behavior specialists say that cats can tell you’re pregnant before you even know it. Frequently, cats that were once solitary and aloof are suddenly more clingy to their pet parent.
So how do cats do it? It’s all thanks to your changing body. Changes in your hormones during pregnancy will also change your scent. Cats having a keen, great range of sense of smell, they may detect this scent change, knowing that you are pregnant.
In addition to cats having the ability to detect hormonal scent changes, they can also catch the increase in your body temperature.
Pregnant women notice that cats are more likely to snuggle up with them or rub themselves on their parent’s legs. During pregnancy, blood flow in your body increases that helps in boosting your metabolism by around 20%.
Myth 2: Cats smother babies with kisses that may suffocate them
This myth has begun due to the idea that cats love the milk scent of babies. On a more distressing idea, cats were also associated with the symbolism of evil, thus having babies near them seems dangerous.
This myth is not valid. As we know, cats are curious animals, and they always seek warmth and comfort. Curling up next to a baby satisfies these needs. Just make sure to keep an eye on the position of your furbaby not to cover the baby’s face.
Myth 3: Cats hate the sound of a baby crying
When hearing a new noise, cats have the desire to investigate it. As previously stated, babies give off warmth that attracts cats. A cat may try to climb the crib and feel the heat of the baby, but will never harm him.
It is not recommended for cats and babies to sleep together. If a cat next to your baby is making you feel uneasy, it is better to place a net over the crib, to prevent your cat from going inside.
Myth 4: Bites from cat fleas can be life-threatening to a baby
The worst thing a bite from a cat flea can do to your baby is rashes. One thing to do to avoid this is to have your cat checked by your veterinarian to eliminate fleas and you can invest in a cat flea collar to keep the fleas away. Veterinarians can treat your cat by getting rid of internal and external parasites.
Myth 5: Cats hate babies
This is the opposite. Once you bring your new baby home, let your furbaby sniff around the infant. This will allow the cat to see, smell, and even feel the latest member of the family and will reassure your cat to not fear around them.
Cats learn to adapt as long as they can still feel that they are being taken care of and not neglected. Cats are known to be protective around babies.
Tips for Pregnant Pet Owners
Pregnant moms often undergo little changes in their lives to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. If you are an expectant cat parent, it means you will need to think about a few more things that will help you and your furbaby through the transition.
In general, you and your cat should maintain excellent physical hygiene. However, it is not recommended for expecting moms to clean cat litter and cat waste in general.
This also includes minimal exposure to handling objects that could have come in contact with cat waste, including cat cleaning materials, soil from your yard, and gardening tools.
Someone should clean the cat litter more frequently than before pregnancy. This is to reduce the risk of infections, it is also essential to keep your cats de-wormed regularly to avoid external contamination.
Last but not least, expecting moms should avoid contact with unknown and stray cats. Stray cats could be infected with fleas and worms that may harm them.
What to Do Before the Baby Arrives?
Sure, cats and babies can live happily with each other. However, it is vital to take precautionary measures that expecting parents can do to make sure they bond harmoniously.
Make Slow, Gradual Changes Overtime
Cats are used to routine and consistency, they can determine the slightest little change that you do and can become disoriented and upset.
To avoid this, try introducing your cat to a new lifestyle of having a baby around. This way, your furbaby, and your baby can get along together more comfortably and more at ease.
Same as when you introduce a new cat to your resident cat, you need to go through the introduction process slowly.
For example, you can bring them to the baby’s room and get them accustomed to it. You can let them stay there and spend your time playing with them in it, this will make them more comfortable and feel positive.
Find a Different Spot for the Litter Box
We know how dirty cat dirt can be, so it must have a safe distance away from your baby. Cats are not good with changes, so months before the baby arrives, you should have already found a place for the cat litter box and relocated it there.
During that period, they will have enough time to adjust to a new location to do their business.
Get Your Furbaby Used to Crying Sounds
Cat’s keen sense of hearing can be astonishing. They are very sensitive to even the slightest sound they hear.
We know that a baby’s cry can be loud, so it is essential to get them used to it before the baby arrives. Play baby sound and cry noises from YouTube to get them used to that noise as early as possible.
Get the Cat Used to Baby Scent
A baby’s scent can be the most interesting smell, however, it can be different from a cat’s perspective. A cat’s sense of smell can be too sensitive, and a baby’s scent can be overwhelming for them.
It is advisable to get them used to it before the baby arrives, and here’s a way of how you can do this. You can use baby products on yourself, such as a baby lotion or baby powder, when you play with them. This way, a cat can associate a positive association with a baby’s scent.
A Silent Sanctuary
Set up a quiet room for your cat so they can seek sanctuary in there when they become overwhelmed with the baby’s crying.
Additionally, this place can also be a place where your furbaby can stay if you have guests coming over, and do not want them to get uncomfortable around many people at once.
Introducing Your Cat to your New Baby
Your precious baby is now finally coming home, keep in mind that your furbaby is still a valuable family member. It is essential to give the same amount of attention as before and monitor its interaction with your baby.
Introduce your baby to your cat in a quiet room, a place that is unfrequented by your cat. Hold your baby around your arms and have your cat sniff your baby, always praise your cat whenever they are in a calm behavior.
In a few minutes, the cat will become interested in your baby, then will lose interest after a few more minutes.
If your cat prefers to run away from your baby, that is perfectly okay. Forcing your furbaby to interact with your baby can be overwhelming for them.
Let them escape and come back to investigate on their own. Continue your life as usual and stick to your previous routine, and your feline friend should finally accept the new arrival of the baby.
Stay Hygienic and Squeaky Clean
It is vital to get your cat treated regularly for worms and fleas. Take the extra precaution by asking your doctor, if the products to be used for treating fleas and worms can be harmful to babies.
As for the babies, always keep dirty diapers away, even if you do not have pet cats. Cats can smell a wet diaper and think it is okay to pee on that spot.
After feeding, grooming or playing with your feline buddy, always use an antibacterial soap to clean your hands thoroughly. Another option is to use rubber gloves that are also to be washed every after use.
Always Check Your Baby Around Your Cat
NEVER leave a baby unsupervised with your cat. Even though your cat is behaved and calm, it is still not a good idea to leave your cat alone with your baby.
You can install a screen door in the nursery room to keep the door shut while keeping the access of seeing and hearing the baby.
Keep an Eye on Small Baby Items
Cats like to tinker on small objects and play with them. Baby’s things such as pacifiers, teethers, and socks can be a victim of a cat’s playfulness. It is essential to keep them out of place, in a high place, or inside a drawer.
Think of Giving Your Cat a Nail Cap
If you’re worried that your cat may scratch your baby, you may want to give them nail caps. Nails caps are non-toxic rubber tips that are glued onto your cat’s toenails to reduce sharpness and their ability to scratch. This procedure can eliminate trimming the claws that can traumatize your furbaby.
Respect Your Cat’s Space
There may be times that your cat needs alone time. Let them go in their quiet place and leave them until they go out again on their own.
Help in Forming Bond Between Your Cats and Child
Once your baby is transitioning as a toddler, teach them to respect your cat as well. Their coexistence should be in harmony, and day-to-day interaction is necessary to form a loving bond between them.
To help you more, here’s a video you can watch to get you started on preparing your cat for getting to know your baby:
Cats are famous for their mood swings, they would even do something wrong to get some attention. These actions are what make them more lovable and adorable, keep in mind that the parents should create a harmonious connection and set up boundaries between cats and babies.
Having a cat and a baby is having the best of both worlds. Though it may seem to be a big responsibility, the endless fun and memories you will have will surely be the best you’ll ever experience. They will become each other’s lifelong companions that will share great, fun times.
Now that you have discovered how to introduce a new baby to your cat, it is time to have them familiarized and tell us in the comment box below if our tips are helpful.
Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.