The addition to a family can be stressful on any member of the family, but can be especially hard on those that we can’t communicate verbally with. Often enough, we expect our cats to just accept a new baby into the family without allowing them time to adjust to the suddenness of the changes or to allow them to investigate the new child without shooing them away quickly every time they get curious. It’s not easy for a cat to get used to changes to his or her environment, his owner’s behavior towards them, and the new sights, sounds, and smells that always accompany a new child.
Establish Routine Before The Baby Arrives
Most of us live our lives by following a daily routine. Wake up, brush teeth, drink coffee, etc. and your cat is really no different. We know that there is a child coming, but your cat is never going to be able to understand this. What you can do to help them is to create a schedule where you spend as much time with the cat as you would if the baby was already in the house with you. Set your new routine 2 or 3 weeks in advance so when the baby arrives the cat’s feeding schedules, scooping the litter, and one-on-one attention time will not be disrupted.
Minimize Changes in Attention
Try to avoid giving your cat extra attention in the weeks leading up to the baby’s arrival. Your cat can be confused when your time is suddenly taken away from them. By adhering to the same level of attention that you give your cat before and after the child arrives, you can minimize the stress to the cat while making sure that they still get your affection.
Baby Toys and all that stuff
Reliable sights and smells are a few things your cat uses in its everyday life. Just imagine what kind of chaos adding a child throws into the mix with the smells of toys, diapers, baby lotion, formula or milk, and the unfamiliar scent of baby. ASPCA recommends that before the baby arrives, unwrap and show the toys and supplies to your cat. They also suggest leaving the toys near the cat’s food so that the cat can have a positive experience in relation to the toys.
Play Baby Sounds
Your cat may be very disturbed by the ear splitting sounds babies can emit at the most inopportune times when your cat has decided it’s safe to nap. These changes can set your cat on edge easily and the suddenness of these changes makes it harder for your cat to adapt. It is recommended that you obtain a CD of baby sounds and cries (at amazon.com) and play them on low volume while your cat is doing something they enjoy. Then over the days, increase the volume of the sounds, to help accustom the cat to the new sounds they will be experiencing soon.
Spread around your cat’s scent
Taking a clean sock and rubbing against the cat’s face will scent the sock which you can then use to scent the baby’s crib and new toys. A cat will recognize its own scent and acclimate to the changes quicker.
By playing the sounds of the baby cries, playing with the baby toys, and scenting the new things with your cat’s own scent, this should allow your cat to understand the changes and adapt much quicker and easier than if they were to experience sudden changes without any warning.
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