Do cats and babies get along? The answer is usually, as long as you take the proper steps to introduce a new baby to the household and watch vigilantly in the first few meetings. If you're expecting, keep reading to find out how to prepare your kitty cat to meet their new sibling. Prepare for cute baby and cat pictures to send to friends and family!
Step One: The Preparation Starts During Pregnancy
Keep Cats Indoors
There is actually a disease called toxoplasmosis that can spread from cats to humans. The virus is typically harmless, but it can hurt your unborn child. Experts recommend keeping cats indoors, so they don't bring the disease home if they don't already have it. Expectant parents should avoid being the one to change the litter, and should wear gloves when gardening in areas where cats may have defecated because it spreads through feline feces.
Cats love habits and are sensitive to change. Once your little one comes there will be a lot of change happening all at once. So, change your cats feeding and care routines to what you think they will be when the baby comes months before your little one even arrives. To further prepare your cat for the coming changes, you can even play baby noises so they can get used to cute coos and goo-goos.
Step Two: When You Bring Your Little One Home
Introduce Scents First
Before you introduce the baby, introduce something with the baby's scent. This could be a hat, piece of clothing or blanket the baby has worn. That way your cat can acclimate to this strange new creature before they even meet.
Supervision is Key
You never know how an animal is going to react, so you need to supervise each visit. Watch for signs of aggression. In general, keep your cat in a separate room while the baby is sleeping and never let it go in the crib with your newborn because they can't move much or turn over. A cute snuggle kitty could easily become a serious trap in a matter of moments.
Give Your Cat Attention When the Time is Right
When your new baby is finally sleeping and you have a moment to yourself, give your cat plenty of attention so they don't feel left out. Give them scratches, treats and play with their favorite toys so they know you still love them.
Step Three: Troubleshooting Baby and Cat Relationships
The Peeing Problem
Some cats get mad or sad that they're not the center of attention anymore. They may feel competition with the new baby for territory. They may be upset that they can't go into the baby's room, or they may simply be stressed by the new changes. They may retaliate by peeing wherever they want. However, you can remedy this problem by giving them anti-stress medications, and making their favorite pee spots inaccessible. Remember, don't clean up the pee with smelly products because that can make them want to mark their territory even stronger!
Separation May Be the Solution
If things just really aren't going well, the best solution for the moment until the baby gets a bit older may be separation. Make your cat a really comfy room where they can stay while the baby is out and playing, and let them out when the baby is sleeping in their bedroom. Make sure your cat always has access to the litter box and some food and water.
Making your household work with a cat and baby really isn't that hard, and it's totally worth it for the adorable pictures and social media memes.