New Baby on the Way? Ease Your Cat’s Stress by Preparing Him in Advance.
Help ensure a smooth transition by making a plan for how to prepare your cat for a new baby — before the due date arrives. Here are 4 steps to help prepare your cat for a new baby.
4 Steps to Prepare Your Cat for a New Baby
1. Feather Your Nest
Cats are creatures of habit, and they’re very sensitive to changes in their environment. As far as your cat is concerned, changes are best made gradually. (If at all.) So prepare your cat for your new baby by bringing in the gear—crib, clothes, changing table, etc.—well ahead of time, and try not to do it all at once.
2. Set the Ground Rules
That heirloom bassinet would make a perfect cat basket. But unless you want your cat taking up permanent residence, don’t let her snuggle up on the baby’s belongings. To prepare your cat for a new baby, consider getting a special cat bed. Use lavish praise and treats to reinforce its use, combined with gentle aversion methods, like a spray bottle, to keep her off the nursery gear.
3. Make a Graceful Introduction
Depending on your cat’s personality, she may hightail it into hiding when you bring home the baby—or she may be very curious about the new sounds and smells. Respect your cat’s style, and don’t push her away. Let her look, listen, and sniff, and praise her for being a good cat. You may want to give your cat a special treat or gift on homecoming day, to create a positive association with the arrival of your baby.
4. Call in the Troops
It takes a village! You’ll need lots of help during the first weeks and months of your child’s life. When you’re lining up friends and family to fold your laundry and deliver hot meals, don’t forget your cat. Pick someone your cat knows and trusts, and invite them over to groom, play with, and generally lavish attention on your cat while you tend to the baby. (And catch up on sleep.)
A new baby can be a source of stress for your cat, but with a little patience and love, your expanded family can live in peace and harmony. And in case you start wondering whether it’s worth all the trouble to prepare your cat for a new baby, keep this in mind: Studies have shown that cats can help make babies healthier!