Cat Scratching Problems
Its possible to have both! How to maintain a happy and safe relationship with your new family.
For years and years, there has been so much misinformation and myths about cats and babies, that it is another contributing factor as to why shelters in the United States and other areas of the world experience an influx of cats due to a family welcoming a new child into the world. Fear not, your baby is not in danger simply because you have a cat in the house! However, it is not as simple as bringing home a new cat for your newborn, or bringing the newborn home while the cat is already there. Integration, precautions, and preparedness are vital in creating harmony from the start.
Remember, its not just about how your baby will be around the cat, but also making the transition smooth for your cat. Some cats can react in a similar way of “sibling rivalry”, as they were previously your center of attention, and jealousy can form.
Prepare to bring the baby home!
One thing to do is before the baby comes home is start to decrease attention given to the cat. If you wait till the baby is home to do this, it can cause stress in the cat, as immediate changes in routine are one of the biggest stresses for domesticated animals. If the cat is attached to the new mom, have another family member begin to spend more and more time with the cat.
Don't be afraid to act a little silly in order to prepare. Have friends with infants visit your home. Or, play baby-type noises, like a baby crying, infant swings, and a rocking chair. Offer a treat or play with the cat while these noises are occurring, turning a potential future stress into something positive.
Take the necessary steps to keep your cat & baby healthy and happy!
If you're worried about your newborn's health around your cat, consult a veterinarian or pediatrician. They can explain and help you through any problems or concerns you have and put your mind at ease.
Address any training or behavioral issues, such as: anxiety, rough play, nibbling, and pouncing. Work on your cat remaining off your lap until you invite them up. Spaying and neutering your cat will often lead to a calmer cat; thus he/she can be less likely to bite.
Discourage the cat from jumping on the crib or changing table. Place double-sided tape on furniture that you don't want your cat on (cats don't like the sticky feeling on their paws and will likely stay away from it - a great tip for anything you'd like to keep cat-free!). Keep the baby's room off-limits by using a barrier that the cat cannot just jump over. A screen type of door is ideal as then your cat won't feel isolated from the family as they can still see and hear what is going on.
After the baby is born, it is an exciting time for the whole family. Before you bring your baby home, have a family member bring an item that has the baby's scent so that the cat can investigate it before the baby's arrival.
Once home, make your cat feel welcomed!
When you come home, have another family member hold the baby while you say hello to your cat. Offer a treat. While you interact with your baby, if the cat is nearby, offer calm pets and treats so that you giving attention to your baby is also a positive experience for your cat. Don't force the cat to interact or investigate the baby. Take it slow. When the cat is investigating, its okay to offer treats to continue to make the experience positive.
Always supervise your cat while around the baby. They should never be in the same room while you are not a close-by observer.
Life will be busy and hectic when you bring that baby home. Try your best to maintain your regular routines for your cat so they have an easy adjustment as possible.
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