Preparing Your Cat For A New Baby
The internet is obsessed with cats. And now, a slew of videos of cats being introduced to the new family baby have caused it to explode with cuteness.
While these clips are sure to take away any Monday blues – do keep in mind that preparing your cat for a new baby requires some prep. Here are a few tips.
Keep in mind that your feline branch of the family are creatures of habit – they prefer consistency. You will want to pay extra attention to any nervous or skittish characters.
Take the time to introduce your cat to new experiences, schedules, sights, sounds, smells of the baby and avoid upset by associating those new experiences with rewards.
If your cat wasn’t raised in a home with young humans, it may be particularly difficult to adjust to a new baby’s appearance, sounds and smells. In order not to frighten them, it’s best to start the process early. Be creative – let them smell the new things you buy and try a clip of baby sounds to familiarise the sounds.
Keep a constant schedule with your cat. This includes feeding, changing the litter box and one-on-one attention. Start to gradually shift the schedule to get ready for the one that comes with a new born.
If necessary, keep regular, predictable feeding times with an automatic feeder that has a timer.
Make a rule about whether the cat is allowed in the baby room or not – and stick to it.
If it’s a no cat zone, keep the door closed and move the cat’s favourite furniture to a new area. Have a tree or bed outside the door and start leaving treats for the car when you enter or later feed the baby as a behaviour forming reward for staying out. DO NOT punish or scold him if he does goes in – gently remove him and avoid the risk of negative feelings toward the baby.
If the room is an ok-zone, place the bed in the room and try the reward system to keep the cat out of the way. You can also try a technique to keep the cat off the crib like putting noisy obstructions on the crib rails to discourage from future attempts.
Everyone needs their space and your cat is no exception. Create a quiet corner of the house where they can be away from the noise with additional guests visiting or as a quiet retreat away from the general hustle and bustle.
Finally – talk to people with cats. Learn about changes in behaviour and how you should respond from people that have already grown their cat loving families.