Preparing Your Cat for Baby’s Arrival


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Anyone who has ever had a cat knows that those lovable little balls of fur come equipped with a mind of their own. Unlike dogs, cats have a tendency to do things in their own good time, and they are often more resistant to change. And let’s face it, there are few changes more monumental than bringing a new baby into the picture.

Fortunately, cats are fairly adaptable. While they may not like changes, they are generally able to make the transition smoothly as long as they still feel secure, safe, and attended to.

One of the first things you should do several months before the baby comes home is set up as much of the baby furniture as you can. That way, you can begin to establish which areas are off limits to the cat long before the baby arrives. Otherwise, the changing table, crib and bassinette are going to look like a great new place for Fluffy to catch a catnap.

There are several ways to train cats to stay out of certain areas. If you don’t want to use the old fashioned spray bottle, you can place several strips of Scotch tape, sticky side up, in the crib, bassinette, and other “baby areas” where you don’t want the cat to be. It only takes a few times for the cat to figure out that he isn’t welcome in those places.

Another thing you need to do for your cat before baby comes home is to establish a safe place for him to eat and sleep. This should preferably be high enough off the ground that your little one won’t be able to reach it when she starts crawling and walking. Admittedly, this won’t happen until several months after baby is born, but you want the cat’s “secure place” to be established long before baby becomes mobile-preferably before you even bring baby home. Start putting your cat’s food, water, and toys someplace the baby won’t be able to reach.

Of course, it’s better if you have someone else change the cat’s litter while you are pregnant. And you’ll want to make sure the litter box is placed somewhere that the baby won’t be able to reach. It’s also recommended that you take your cat to the vet and make sure his vaccinations are up to date. This is also a good time to consider declawing your cat if you haven’t done so already.

When you bring the baby home, let the cat introduce itself. Sit somewhere comfortable with the baby and call the cat to you. If the cat is hesitant, don’t force the issue. It may take several hours, or even days before your cat warms up to the idea of a new baby, but given time, your cat will come over and examine the new arrival. When he does, reward good behavior with a treat. Even if the cat doesn’t warm up to baby right away, make sure you give him some attention, too.



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