Adding a human baby to a home you share with a cat can prove incredibly snuggley or it can get scratchy pretty quickly. Let’s face it, you pay all the bills, but the cat thinks she owns the house. Bringing an infant into a cat’s kingdom alters the hierarchy for a hot second or two. You can do a few things, though, to keep your cat comfortable when you introduce her to her newest minion. Here are a few easy ways to prepare your cat for the new baby. Additionally, I’ve added some affiliate links for your convenience–you won’t pay a penny more for the products, but I may make a small commission for all the cool pet stuff I love to buy if you purchase through my links.
Prepare the Cat for Baby Noise
Babies are noisy on their best days and will completely set your teeth on edge on their worst. All those sounds could terrify a sensitive feline more than some random vegetable placed on the floor next to it. There are actually baby sound CDs that will help acclimate your pet to your new arrival before baby breaks the silence. Start playing these sounds softly while you cuddle and share treats with your kitty. Gradually increase the volume to the shrill scream that the cat will have to endure when baby gets hungry. When both you and Kitty get used to all that noise, you’ll both be…cough…cough…cool as a cucumber when baby throws a fit.
Prepare Your Cat for the New Baby Smells
Here is another excuse to wash everything in your house in Dreft. I swear that amazing smell causes Braxton-Hicks contractions. Couple it with the purple bath soap and you’ll be in baby heaven. Oh, yeah—your cat will get used to all this olfactory stimulation as well. Don’t be surprised to find her kneading away in baby’s sock drawer.
Help Kitty Deal with Boundaries
The old story about cats stealing a baby’s breath aren’t true. However, cats snuggle warm things, and their close proximity in an infant’s crib is dangerous. Don’t let the cat in the cradle. Yeah, I know what I did there, but I’m serious. You may want to keep Kitty out of baby’s room entirely. If this isn’t in the plan, then the ASPCA suggests training your cat to stay away from certain areas in their article “Cats and Babies.” Consider placing cardboard covered with double-sided tape or adhesive over surfaces such as cribs and changing tables. Cats tend to avoid places that are sticky, so they’ll quickly learn to leave these areas alone. If you have a persistent cat, you may consider purchasing a crib tent. Setting boundaries early will help adequately prepare your cat for the new baby.
Teach Kitty to Remember Her Manners
The time to deal with obnoxious cat behaviors is before the baby comes. The last thing you need is a cat wrapped around your head while you try to figure out how to feed your baby.
For instance, if your cat has a clawing problem, remember that clawing helps a cat mark its territory. It’s also a sign of nervousness. Before the baby comes, you will want to address this behavior with scratching posts set in locations where the cat typically claws carpets or furniture. If the cat doesn’t show interest in the post or scratching toy, then sprinkle cat nip on or near it.
Pheromone wipes, sprays, and diffusers can be used nearby as well to calm the cat, according to Adrienne Kruzer’s article in The Spruce called “Cat Behavior Problems.” Kruzer also suggests nail caps, which can be glued on a cat’s nails to protect furniture. This is an interesting alternative to declawing in my opinion. Plus, the brilliant color options will give your cat a manicure like no other!
Help Kitty Establish Her Place
Cats like control. They want to be the kings and queens of the castle. When you bring home a new subject to the kingdom, it’s a good idea to give the cat a place to escape. Angie Bailey of Catster suggests using cat trees and perches in her article “6 Ways to Prepare Your Cat for a New Baby.” This way, Kitty is high above the action, but still hanging with the human minions in the family.
For more information on ways to prepare your cat for the new baby, you can download Dr. Lewis Kirkland’s ebook, Tell Your Cat You’re Pregnant: an Essential Guide for Cat Owners Who are Expecting a Baby. Dr. Kirkland is an Australian vet who specializes in animal behavior. The title makes me giggle!
With a little preparation and foresight, it’s definitely possible to add a new human to your cat’s kingdom with little drama and even less blood-letting. With space, a special place, and some high-quality catnip, your transition should be smooth, with love and positive cat-itude.