Cats are very territorial animals, and even if they are sociable and affectionate, the arrival of a baby can be a real source of stress and lead to behavioral problems.
That being said, there are many physical and psychological benefits to sharing your home with a cat, benefits that also affect babies. Indeed, living with a cat from birth reduces the risk of allergies, while promoting empathy and the emotional maturity of the child. So, in order to avoid inconvenience, it is very important to prepare your pet for the imminent arrival of baby.
Before baby arrives…
Veterinarians and animal behavior specialists all advise preparing the cat for the upcoming baby, several weeks in advance. How? By letting him explore the child's room as he pleases. Indeed, the cat is a curious and stubborn animal: if you deny him access to the room, he will be even more tempted to enter and you could have difficulty managing the situation once the baby is born. between your arms.
When venturing into the baby's room, you will notice that your cat will rub on furniture andobjects, thus impregnating them with its odor: let it be! This behavior is normal and when he has finished marking his territory, the bedroom will be for him a room like any other. He will therefore attach less importance to it.
The cat naturally looks for a cozy and warm place to take a nap. This means that the baby bed is very tempting for him. Obviously, and for several reasons, you do not want your feline to get into the habit of sleeping there. You must therefore discourage him from doing so, and to achieve this, you must make this place unpleasant for him. No need to run after him and spray him with water every time he gets on it: no, that would stress him more.
You could instead lay a large sheet of aluminum foil on the mattress. By jumping on the mattress, the cat will be put off by the noise and the texture of the paper, under its paws. Remember that some cats need two weeks to change an unwanted behavior. But, eventually, your cat won't be interested in the crib anymore.
Baby is here
D-day is finally here, and baby is ready to go to your cottage! If possible, ask your spouse or someone you trust to bring home an item of clothing (baby's first toque, for example) or a blanket impregnated with the baby's scent, a few hours or even a day before your return from maternity. By rubbing this garment against furniture, corners of walls, andplaces where your cat normally rubs, you will deposit the baby smell in the house, letting your cat get used to it. This will make it much easier for her to accept the baby.
In order for the meeting with baby to have a positive connotation, offer your cat his favorite meal or treats as soon as you arrive. Even if he has already explored the baby's room, it will now be full of new smells and sounds: let him explore it again. The cat is a routine animal and it takes some time to get used to changes. Seeing that there is nothing dangerous in the room, his anxiety will subside and he will gradually resume his own routine.
You don't have to make formal introductions between baby and cat. If he comes forward to smell your baby, let him. That said, many cats, especially if they are old, will prefer to keep their distance and should not be forced to come into contact with the child. It is strongly advised not to scream or panic when the cat approaches the baby. Stay calm: relaxed owners will help the cat to relax.
- The importance of routine: Obviously, you will have less time to give to your pet. However, make an effort so that your cat's routine is not too disrupted: same meal times, a tender moment…
- Do not move the cat's litter box, food and water bowl, or sleeping pad before or aftercoming of the baby. If you can't leave them in one place, make these changes as soon as possible, and at least two months before baby arrives.
- Limit Changes: Cats are anxious animals and seeing furniture moving and changing places all the time is a real source of stress for them. Try to do everything as quickly as possible so that these changes don't drag on for several weeks.
- Review basic safety rules before bringing baby home.