If you’re a parent-to-be who already has a cat or two running around, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of well-meaning, but drastic, advice. There are numerous, persisting old wives’ tales surrounding cats and babies, but you know your furry friends aren’t out to hurt anyone. While you might be feeling nervous about how well your curious cat will adapt to a new, tiny roommate, with the right preparation, you can all coexist peacefully. All the love and affection your cat gives you is waiting to be shared with you newborn. Keep reading for advice on how to successfully introduce your newborn to your cat.
Let Cats Be Curious
As a general rule, cats don’t like being told they can’t go somewhere. Once you’ve set up the nursery, let your cats spend time exploring all the new furniture and gear. This will give them time to get used to this new room and mark “their” territory, so they won’t be underfoot once you bring baby home.
Show Your Cat What's Off-Limits
While it’s important to let your cat get to know the new nursery, don’t let them get too comfortable. If your cat isn’t thinking about their next meal, they’re looking for the best place to nap. All the comfy and cozy gear you’ve bought for baby will look mighty appealing to your fuzzy friend. Discourage your cat from lounging in places like the crib to prevent a turf war once baby needs to start using it.
Cat's Like Where It's Warm
Just as your cat will follow the light spots across the room as the sun rises and sets, your cat will be intrigued by the tiny, warm person you bring home from the hospital. Cats are heat-seeking creatures at heart, so your new baby is like a dream hot water bottle to them. Be sure to keep an eye on your cat when they’re near their new sibling to make sure they aren’t too close for too long.
Introduce By Scent First
A cat’s primary method of identifying people and things is through scent. Their sense of smell is roughly 14 times stronger than ours! Take time to introduce your cat to the new smells that come with a new baby early so they won’t be unfamiliar once it’s crunch time. Bring something that smells like baby home for your cat to familiarize themselves with.
Make Your Cat Feel Included
Your cat’s primary spot in your lap might have been taken over, but they’ll still want love and attention from you. Cuddle and play with your kitty when baby is napping and when baby is around so your cat won’t feel jealous. We all know cats are fickle creatures as it is, throwing jealousy into the mix is just asking for trouble.