Owning a pet isn’t all cuddles and
Q: How can I prepare my cats for the arrival of a baby?
I have two male cats and I am expecting my first baby in March. How can I prepare them for the arrival of the newest member of the family? I’d love to know how we can make the introduction as smooth as possible.
A: Anita Kelsey (BA Hons, MCFBA, CIDBT) from Cat Behaviourist
Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a master cat groomer, specialising in working with aggressive or timid and phobic cats. Her debut book Claws. Confessions Of A Professional Cat Groomer is out now published by John Blake.
Congratulations on your impending arrival! The best way to look at this is to think about how you can include your cats in the preparation and process of a new baby. This means introducing them to the sights and sounds that will be a prominent feature once your baby arrives, such as the sounds of a baby crying and the smells of creams and talc.
For the baby sounds, start some crying audio on low volume and give your cats treats and strokes. You can gradually raise the sound of the crying until the cats are totally used to the sound as something not to fear. The cats can also get used to the new smells of the creams, talc and nappies with strokes and treats. Let them explore the new furniture at their own time, and when the baby arrives, the cats should be used to everything you have introduced them to before the birth.
In terms of the arrival of the baby at home, allow the cats to be included in your new routine, like being in the baby’s room when baby is being fed. The cats will want to sniff the new being, so try to gently allow this process.
Cats generally will run a mile when the baby starts crying or moving, so cat climbers and cat trees can come in very handy with new babies, ensuring that the cats can be in the same room as the baby but up high and out of everyone’s way. I would also suggest buying cat proof netting for the baby’s crib just to be safe at the beginning.
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