Is your kitty the feline baby of the family? If she’s used to getting attention and having full run of the house, take special care to prepare your feline child for the arrival of your human child. Focus especially on consistency, boundaries and environment. Here’s how…
Consistency: Stick to a Schedule
Like a child, your cat prefers consistency, which may be a challenge in the midst of the chaos brought by a baby. To help her, set your kitty’s schedule for playing, grooming and feeding before the baby arrives. (A timed feeder may help.) Also, if you give your cat a lot of undivided attention, consider drawing back gradually before the baby is due. Once the baby is home, make sure you keep your kitty on her schedule as much as possible.
Boundaries: Access to the Nursery
Will your cat be allowed in the nursery? If not, keep the baby’s room closed or install a gate to restrict access well before the baby arrives. If your cat does enter, remove her gently rather than scolding her.
Environment: Sights, Sounds & Smells
The arrival of a baby brings many new sights, sounds and smells that will seem to assault your cat’s senses. Use these tricks to help her get used to them early. First, introduce new smells by leaving a few baby items near kitty’s food bowl for a few days. After she investigates them, it will seem like she’s being rewarded with food. Also, use some of the baby lotions, powders and shampoos on yourself so they’re associated with your scent.
The arrival of a new baby is a joyful event. Make sure it’s a pleasant one for your cat as well. Remember to praise your cat for behavior you want to encourage and if you’re worried about scratching, consider nail caps like Soft Claws, a safe alternative to declawing.