Welcoming your new baby is an adjustment for everyone in your family, especially your cat. Most cats crave routine, which means they don’t like change. A new baby will alter that. To make sure the transition goes as smoothly as possible, consider the following tips on how to prepare your cat for your new baby.
Introduce New Sounds, Sights, and Smells
Before your baby arrives, begin setting up the nursery to let your cat become accustomed to all the new furniture and toys. You can also play a CD that has common baby sounds to help your cat get used to the sounds of crying and laughing. Start playing the CD softly when your cat is around, and gradually increase the volume to a normal level.
When you’re still in the hospital with your baby, your family can help. Have them bring home a blanket or piece of clothing that your baby has worn. This way your cat can get used to the smell before the baby arrives.
Keep Your Cat’s Schedule the Same
Many cat parents make the mistake of showering their feline with extra attention before the baby arrives because they’re afraid they won’t have time to play with their cat once their baby is here. Unfortunately, the cat gets used to all the new attention, and becomes just as disappointed when the baby arrives and the attention is gone. Instead, keep your cat’s schedule normal leading up to the arrival of your baby, and then try to offer one or two times during the day when your baby is napping to play or snuggle with your cat.
Slowly Shift Care Routines
If feeding, play sessions, or grooming will switch from one parent to another after the baby arrives, start to slowly adjust one or two months before your baby’s birth. This will help your cat get used to the style of the new caregiver.
Keep the Crib Safe
While it’s fine to let your cat investigate the nursery before your baby arrives, once he or she is here, you’ll want to keep your cat out of the crib. Newborns can’t roll over or push things away from their face when they’re sleeping, so you need to keep your baby’s crib completely empty. A stressed cat might also try to urinate in the crib. Therefore, if the nursery has a door, it’s a good idea to keep it closed when your baby is sleeping. If not, a crib tent or temporary screen door can also keep the cat out.
Give Your Cat Escape Options
Once your baby starts to become more mobile, there’s more to do still. It’s a good idea to offer your cat some escape spots in case the little hands become too grabby. Cats love to climb high, so consider installing climbing trees, perches, or a cat castle that can give kitty some peace and quiet while still remaining near the family.
By allowing time for a smooth and peaceful transition, you can prepare your cat for your new bundle of joy and make sure everyone has a safe introduction.
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP, PETS ARE FAMILY TOO & SPAY AND NEUTER!
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