Most people consider their kitten to be their first baby. As they grow from kitten to cat, they rely on you to feed them, fill their water dish and clean their litter box. However, when the time comes, how should you introduce your cat child to your human child when it is born? Have no fear, we’ve done the research and outlined some tips so you can continue being cat mom or cat dad of the year while prepping for your new arrival.
First thing cat parents need to keep in mind is that they should start the baby introduction transition before the new baby is even born.
Tip 1: Keep Your Cat Indoors And Away From Other Cats
Although we encourage you to keep your cats indoors always, this is especially crucial to pregnant women because of the feline parasitic infection, toxoplasmosis. This parasite can infect your cat if it ingests small mammals or birds while outdoors. If a pregnant woman has the toxoplasmosis parasite, it can result in a miscarriage or still birth, and can also cause birth defects such as deafness, epilepsy, blindness, and hydrocephalus. Toxoplasmosis cysts are passed through feces from cats, so it’s important to clean your cat’s litter box regularly – we recommend at least twice a day.
Tip 2: Introduce Your Cat To Baby Sounds
A baby’s cry can be startling to some cats, especially if they are used to living in a quiet home. To help reduce potential stress or anxiety from unfamiliar and unexpected sounds a baby may make, you can play a recording of babies crying, screaming and gurgling for short amounts of time. Start with the volume lowered and gradually increase the volume as your cat becomes familiar with the baby sounds.
Tip 3: Introduce Your Cat To Baby Smells
Cats tend to have a very sensitive sense of smell. Allowing your cat to become familiar with baby powder, baby lotion, baby milk and other new baby smells will help them adjust better to the unfamiliar aroma that comes when a new baby moves in.
Tip 4: Change Your Cats Food Location
A baby eventually turns into a toddler and toddlers are curious and tend to explore once they start to crawl. That is why it is best to move your cat’s food dish where a toddler cannot find it You should be thinking about doing this before the baby born.
Tip 5: Have A Safe Place For Your Cat
For cats that aren’t sociable, adjusting to having visitors in the house can be stressful. Having a baby typically brings visitors so it is important to designate a quiet and secluded place for your cat to feel safe and comfortable in. You can encourage your cat to go to a specific area in your house by leaving treats or creating a comfy spot where the cat won’t be bothered.
Tip 6: Separate Your Cat Toys From Your Baby’s Toys
Cat toys and baby toys can sometimes look similar, especially from a cat’s point of view. To avoid a cat mistaking a baby toy for a toy of its own, put your cats’ toys away. However, make sure to bring your cat’s toys out throughout the day and play with your cat daily!
Bringing The Baby Home
Once you bring your baby home from the hospital, chances are your cat will be very curious, but the meeting between your cat child and human baby is only the start of the new at-home routine.
Tip 1: Don’t Force A Connection
Find a quiet room that isn’t particularly connected to where your cat typically eats, sleeps or plays. Then, allow your cat to sniff the baby while you cradle the baby in your arms. If your cat runs away, don’t chase after it. Allow the cat to investigate on their own and reward your cat with treats and praise when they are calm around the newborn.
Tip 2: Hyper Hygiene
It is important to your baby’s health to wear gloves when scooping your cats’ litter. Better yet, let your spouse or other family member do the scooping. If you end up having to be the scooper, be sure to wash the gloves after each use. Additionally, make sure to wash your hands with antibacterial soap after grooming, feeding or playing with your cat.
Tip 3: Supervise Your Cat And Baby
You should never put your baby on the floor or leave your cat unsupervised with your baby even if you trust your cat’s temperament. Having a screen door leading to the baby’s nursery is also a good idea that still allows you to see and hear your baby while also preventing your cat from entering. Never allow your cat to sleep in your baby’s crib or room. Instead, prepare a very special spot for your cat so they have a cozy place to retreat to.
Tip 4: Don’t Forget To Love Your Cat Extra Hard
Having a baby has its challenges and can get chaotic, but don’t forget your cat child was your first baby. Make sure to take opportunities when your baby is napping or playing on their own to praise, play and give your cat lots of love and attention.
Now that was a lot! If you’re expecting or trying to conceive this is a friendly reminder to take a cat nap now and enjoy them while you can!