How to Introduce Cats and Newborn Infants Safely

Pregnant woman petting cat

If you're welcoming a new child into your family, consider how your cat will react to the changes. Your cat will get confused, depressed, agitated, and maybe ready to act out in inappropriate ways, such forgetting the litter box, if you exclude it from this joyful time. To ensure a happy future, keep the peace by appropriately introducing your child and cat.

Why Cat Introductions Matter

Keep in mind that your cat arrived first. Put yourself in your cat's paws if it has only ever been around adults and hasn't had any contact with babies, toddlers, or small children. This little person might as well be a tiny Martian alien to a cat. A baby can make a cat anxious because it smells strange, has an oddly high-pitched voice, is little and closer to the cat's level, and moves erratically. Because of this, your cat may go into stranger-danger mode, hide, or become defensive in an effort to drive the unsettling tiny alien away. You'll need to have a strategy that starts long before the baby is brought home if you want to prevent these occurrences.

Let Your Cat Tour the Nursery

Months before your child arrives at home, prepare your cat. Start when you're still decorating the nursery. Recognize that cats prefer the status quo and will react negatively to any changes made to the household. Make house improvements gradually. In order to prevent your cat from feeling left out and anxious, let it explore the new items you are bringing into the room. However, keep in mind that your cat will probably want to explore any new furniture or accessories. Even your cat could be sleeping in the bassinet or playing with the baby's toy mobile, so be prepared. Put up a fence to keep your pet out of the room when you can't watch over your cat in the new area, or just close the door.

Paws Off

Put a carpet cover on the mattress with the nubby side facing up if you want to prevent your cat from lying in the crib. Put a long piece of cardboard taped to the surface of the changing table to stop your cat from using it as its new perch. Cats detest treading on rough or sticky surfaces.

Get Your Cat Used to a Baby's Cry

To give your cat a heads-up on what to anticipate, record the sound of a baby crying. Infant screams and kitten distress cries sound similar to cats, who use noises to communicate, therefore hearing this might be unpleasant to them. Be direct, and if your cat quietly explores the noise, praise it reassuringly. If your pet reacts negatively to the noise, try again, but this time, play a game you both enjoy before you play the tape. In this manner, your cat will link having fun with a baby's screams.

Prepare Your Cat for New Smells

Cats use smell to communicate. They recognize their pals as individuals that smell similar to them. There are a few stress-free methods for introducing novel scents to your cat's environment.

  • Begin wearing baby powder or baby lotion on your hands weeks in advance. That way, your cat associates these smells with someone it already knows and loves.
  • Bring home something that has your infant's smell, like a receiving blanket, and let your cat sniff it for an advanced introduction.
  • Pet your cat with a pair of infant socks before the baby is born. Have your baby wear the socks home from the hospital. Your baby will smell like your cat, and your pet will identify your infant as part of the family right from the start.

Shower Your Cat With Praise

There is still work to be done with your newborn and kitty even if you will undoubtedly be fatigued when you bring your baby home. Bring your infant and cat together quietly. Allow your cat to examine your child's foot. To show your cat there is nothing to be afraid of, try to do this while your infant is wearing the sock with a cat aroma. When your cat acts in a self-assured, composed manner, make sure to compliment it frequently. Things should go well after your cat realizes that treating a newborn gently results in praise. By providing goodies in the same room as your baby's feeding, you may include your cat. By doing this, the cat learns to identify the baby's presence with good things. Many of these recommendations are also employed when bringing a new cat into a home where there is already one.

Debunking a Myth About Cats and Babies

Cats suffocate infants, right? Cats are heat-seeking furry missiles that want to be close to warm bodies, thus it's possible that your cat will be tempted to sleep next to your baby. Your baby's breath probably smells like milk, which aroused your cat's attention if you saw it sniffing your baby's lips.

Respect Your Cat's Space

Teach your youngster to appreciate the cat as they develop. Create a quiet sanctuary, though, where it can hide from a toddler's groping hands and a baby's swift crawling. Your newborn grows up beside a content cat, and with time, mutual respect and deliberate introductions develop into a love friendship. And that's a lifetime commitment to a purr-fect connection.