If you are expecting, but you already have a cat in the home, you have likely started wondering how the two will interact. While cats are known to be affectionate towards their humans, babies are much smaller and more delicate than an older child or adult. It’s not uncommon for expecting parents to become anxious about whether or not their cat and baby will get along.
Are Cats a Danger To Babies?
If proper precautions are taken, then a cat should not bring any harm to your baby. Cats do not seek to injure human babies unless the cat somehow feels threatened. So long as your cat is not forced to interact with the baby, you won’t have to worry at all.
If your cat isn’t a huge fan of the newborn, it will simply avoid being around your baby altogether. If you know that your cat can be a bit cranky or aggressive at times, you should not force your cat to interact with your baby.
Fortunately, most cats are quite tolerant of children, as they tend to view human children almost like their own kittens, and cats tend to be more patient with children than they are with adults.
The only real danger of a cat is if they love your baby too much! Sometimes, if a cat bonds strongly with your baby, it may be tempted to curl up and sleep in the crib. While it may be cute to see your cat cuddled up next to your baby, there is a danger of accidental suffocation.
You should keep your nursery door closed at all times while the baby is sleeping to ensure this does not happen. As long as you take the proper precautions, however, your baby will remain happy and healthy!
How Do Cats React To Babies?
As you likely already know, cats are fond of a routine and a stable environment. They can become overwhelmed by drastic changes, and a new baby is quite the change! Your cat will likely be a little surprised and confused by all the new sights, smells, and sounds that come along with a newborn baby.
Your cat will likely be very curious to see what on earth this new creature is, and will probably want to get a good sniff. You should let your cat inspect your baby under close supervision so that your cat can satisfy its curiosity.
Do Cats Get Jealous Of New Babies?
When bringing home your new baby, you will certainly find that your entire schedule has been upended, and most of your time will be spent taking care of or playing with your baby.
Cats are not devoid of emotions, and can become jealous just like any human. If your baby is now using space that the cat used to occupy, this may cause your cat to become even more frustrated, and feel as though its home has been invaded.
You should make sure your cat still has plenty of space to itself that is not taken up by your baby or your baby’s things. One way to do this is to purchase a cat tree or cat cave for your cat to hide in. Furthermore, to avoid these feelings of jealousy, you should set aside some time each day to give your cat your undivided attention.
Try not to change your cat’s previous schedule too much, as the stability will help give your cat some stability through the big transition.
How Do I Prepare My Cat For a New Baby?
As previously mentioned, babies come with all sorts of new sights, sounds, and smells. You should try and introduce your cat to some of these senses gradually, before the baby is born. For example, you can play a recording of baby sounds so the cat is familiar with those noises.
Secondly, after your baby has been born, but before you introduce your baby to your cat, you should choose a piece of clothing or blanket that the baby has used. Place this article in a space where the cat can get to it, so it can investigate the smell.
The overall goal is to reduce the amount of new sensations that your cat receives upon meeting the infant for the first time. This will create a much smoother transition and prevent your cat from getting overwhelmed.
Finally, if you know that bringing home your baby will result in a drastic change in schedule, you should begin transitioning to that schedule before the baby arrives. This will give your cat time to get used to the change in routine before the baby arrives.
How To Safely Introduce Your Cat And Newborn
You should first choose a room that your cat doesn’t use too often- for example, don’t choose the room where your cat usually sleeps or eats. That way, the cat won’t feel that its territory is being invaded.
Hold the baby in your arms and allow the cat to come closer to investigate. Let the cat explore on its own terms, and don’t try to rush the process. Your cat should be allowed to sniff the new baby, as sense of smell is very important to cats.
If your cat shows no interest in the baby, or does not seem to want to be around your baby, you should not force the issue. Forcing your cat to interact with your baby, however, could result in lots of stress and even scratches. Over time, your cat will learn to accept its new roommate, and may even grow fond of your child.
If your cat gets along well with your infant, then that is a great first step. However, while your baby is still young, you should never allow the two to interact in a room alone, even if your cat is always calm and gentle. You never know what accidents could result without your supervision, and it’s always best to play it safe. When in doubt, you can always add a baby monitor to each room your baby and cat will both be in.
Getting a new baby is a huge transition for everyone involved, but many people forget that cats can become just as overwhelmed as humans by the change. By taking the proper steps to ensure that your cat is properly introduced, the transition will go much more smoothly.