If you are expecting a new baby to come into the household, you know what to expect. However, your cat has no idea! Here are some tips on how to introduce your cat to a new baby:
Limit playtime and attention
Don’t give your cat extra attention right before the baby arrives. Your cat will become accustomed to the extra cuddling and won’t understand why it lessens afterwards.
Set a new routine
Since your priorities will eventually change, choose times when you can reliably feed your cat, clean his litter box, and provide one-on-one attention.
Introduce infant objects
Let your cat investigate the baby’s crib, swing, changing table, diapers, and clothing. At the same time, give him treats so that he associates the new things in his environment with rewards.
Desensitize to baby noises and toys
To help your cat get used to babies crying and the noises their toys make, find videos online of babies cooing and crying, and set up those baby toys now and turn them on every once in a while. Give your cat a food treat or interact with him while you play the sounds at a low volume or turn on the toys. Gradually increase the volume and duration of exposure.
Cats and Young Children
You should always consider young children or babies in the household when acquiring a new cat. Children innocently can do things that make your kitty unhappy, such as chasing them around the house, pulling their tail, hugging them, etc. These things can make even the most tolerant cat upset.
Teach kids the importance of safe animal handling
Kids wants to play with their cats, and they should be able to without hurting the animal or having the animal hurt them. Show children the right way to hold a cat, pet the cat and play with it. Show them that pulling on tails hurt them, and that hugging makes them uncomfortable.
Let the kids help, but not take over
As kids get older, they become fascinated with feeding and cleaning up after their cats. Make sure that if your kids are helping with cat related chores, you are always present and watching. Never make a child the sole caregiver for a cat. Always monitor feeding times and litterbox cleaning. If a child can’t handle the responsibility of taking care of the cat, it is NOT a reason to relinquish the cat from the household.
Let cats have their space
Sometimes, even adults have to escape from the kids. Make sure your cat has a ‘safe space’ that they can retreat to. Whether it be a spare room, somewhere high up or a designated area in the house.
With these tips, you are sure to have great success with ‘Cats and Kids’!