Bringing home a new baby is, understandably, an exciting time for any family. It is, deservedly, a particularly special time for the new parents. However, for your cat, it can be a stressful and frightening experience.
Cats and New Babies
Consider from your cat’s point of view. Suddenly, there are unfamiliar objects in your home. Cribs, changing tables, diaper bags, playpens, baby toys and lot of objects that are completely unfamiliar. On top of that, there are strange smells and sounds. Some of the sounds are loud and maybe even persistent, such as the new baby crying. Add to that the fact that suddenly your cat is no longer the center of attention. The new baby now occupies most of your time instead.
Cats, being creatures of habit, don’t generally like changes in their routines. And a new baby brings major changes. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do help make your cat’s transition easier.
Start Preparing Your Cat Before the Baby Arrives
Before the baby arrives, start moving in some of the furniture and other accessories necessary for your new baby. Give your cat a chance to investigate and become accustomed to these articles before the baby’s arrival. Introduce the articles one or two at a time, if possible, to avoid overwhelming your cat.
Acclimate your cat to the noises of a new baby by playing a recording of a new baby. You can purchase a DVD for this purpose. Start by playing the recording at a low level and gradually increase the sound. This way your cat will know what to expect and will not be frightened when your baby cries or makes other noises.
Consider using some of the products you will be using on your new baby on yourself so that your cat becomes used to the scent. This could include items such as baby shampoo and baby lotions.
If possible, bring home a T-shirt, hat, or other object your baby has worn and let your cat get used to the smells on the item before you bring the baby home.
Caring for Your Cat After the Baby Arrives
Having a new baby in your home is time-consuming. However, don’t forget your cat needs your attention too. Schedule a little time each day to spend interacting your cat. This will help keep your cat from feeling neglected.
It is a myth that a cat is able to steal a newborn baby’s breath. Still, there have been cases of cats curling up too near a baby’s face and suffocating the child. Never leave your cat alone with your newborn child. Besides the relatively minor risk of suffocation, it’s also possible that your child may inadvertently pull your cat’s tail or ears or otherwise hurt your cat, leading your cat to strike out at your child. Always supervise any interaction between your baby and your cat.
Some advance preparation and common sense can make your new baby’s arrival more pleasant for both you and your cat.