It is such a precious and exciting time bringing home a newborn baby, it is also a time of great transition for all family members, including any pets you have. Cats and babies have been happily cohabiting for centuries, but there can be a “getting to know” each other period where your feline adjusts to having a new family member to love. This article provides tips on how to smooth this transition.
To ensure the safety of your newborn and the well-being of your feline friend, you will want to follow some simple tips when introducing your cat to your baby for the first time.
Cats and Newborns
According to the good folks over at the ASPCA, these tips and tricks are recommended for introducing your cat to your new bundle of joy.
The Post-Hospital Meet & Greet
The arrival of a new baby is an exciting time for the family, and everyone will want to be included in the post-hospital meet and greet. But remember this can be a stressful time for your cat. The experts suggest taking a few moments to reconnect with your pet cat. Choose to do this in a quiet room, without the interruptions of well-wishers. Let your cat give you a good ‘once-over’ (you will smell like the hospital and the baby, even if you’re not aware of it), then when he’s comfy with you again, let the others in.
How to introduce cats to babies
Prior to any physical contact between cats and babies, you should let your Kitty get acquainted with the baby’s smell. Place a baby’s used article of clothing or one of your newborn’s baby blankets in a quiet area. Allow your cat to investigate it. This provides the opportunity for your pet to become familiar with the baby’s scent before the actual introduction.
Another scent-trick is to rub your newborn’s socks along your cat’s fur, then place them on your baby (fur side out, naturally). This way, your baby already smells like “part of the family” from the very start.
Never force the introduction between cats and newborns. Allow the introduction to progress at a natural rate. Your feline may want to have a closer inspection of this strange little creature, so allow your cat to sniff the baby if it wants. Keep calm and act naturally. Be sure to praise your cat when it acts calmly and with confidence.
Depending on your cat, the time it takes to be comfortable around your newborn may vary. Be sure always to give your cat some one-on-one time when the baby is sleeping, preventing him from becoming jealous and resentful of the “interloper”.
Note: It is important to be vigilant with cats and newborns, never leave a newborn baby alone with your cat. Cats are attracted to warm bodies and the smell of milk so may be inclined to think that napping next to or even on your precious newborn baby is a great idea. However, as newborns are unable to move away, your cat may accidentally cause serious harm to your baby by inadvertently blocking its airflow. Nobody wants to experience this tragedy, but if you are careful and vigilant, all should be well.
Here are a few suggestions for best cat breeds for kids:
The Abyssinian Cat
The Abyssinian cat is an active cat that loves to play and climb. It also likes to be in the midst of things, so will follow you around the house.
The Birman Cat
The Birman cat is one of the best pets for kids because it is docile and loves to follow you from room-to-room. He loves to play and explore his surroundings, so your kids will have a fun furry friend. When playtime is over, the Birman cat breed will go to sleep in your arms like a big purry baby.
The Exotic Shorthair Cat
The Exotic Shorthair cat loves, loves, loves to play with toys and will do so for as long as you keep the game going – a perfect playmate for kids. This breed also loves to snuggle, be petted or just sit quietly in your lap. The Exotic Shorthair cat will also follow your child from room-to-room and may even give her opinion in a soft, almost musical voice.
Cats and Babies and Co-habitation.
Cats and babies can coexist, but you will have to do some planning and adjustments to make sure the transition from childless to child friendly goes smoothly.
As your baby grows, you will also want to ensure your child correctly handles your feline companion. Teach them how to pet, play, and pick up your cat correctly and harmony should be the order of the day!