I was concerned about how Edie and Twiggy would react to the babies when we brought them home. However, I wasn't worried about the cats stealing the baby's breath. You can read about that by clicking here. Our cats haven't been around children except one time with my nephew. With my nephew, they were more curious about a cat-sized person than anything else. I still wanted to make sure the kitties were prepared for the life-change. I read a bunch of tips online and I thought I would share what worked for us.
There are some things you can do before a new baby or child arrives, especially if you are going to change your furry friend's routine. You don't want your pet to associate the change with the child. This will give you an opportunity to ease into a new routine. These tips can be easily modified if you were welcoming an older child into your home.
- If your pet isn't going to sleep in your bed or room after the baby has arrived, move them out now. Set up a special space where your animal will feel comfortable. This designated place will be also be helpful to your pet after the baby has arrived as some place to go if they need a kid-free zone.
- If a specific room will now be off limits, like the nursery. Start deterring now.
- If you think you'll change the time that you will feed or walk them, start to slowly adjust the routine now. If you are going to relocate the litter box, do it sooner rather than later to give your cat time to adapt.
- Acclimate your pet to the sights and sounds of a baby. Maybe wrap up a baby doll or play crying sounds. Use positive reinforcement, pair the crying noise with a tasty treat. That way your pet makes a good association.
- After the baby has been born, send a blanket or clothes home for your pet to smell. Our babies were in the NICU for two months, so when we came home with a bag of their dirty clothes we let the cats sniff it before we washed it to get used to their scent.
- Greet your pet as soon as you walk in the door and introduce the baby. Let them sniff and meet the baby/child -- (If you have more than one pet, making introductions one at a time is probably better.) Use positive reinforcement when your pet acts appropriately around the child. If you see any behavior problems, address it quickly. However, don't punish your pet, but maybe move them to another room. Give your furry friend time to adjust.
Our cats were fine. Twiggy hid in the couch for like two days. Edie didn't let a baby interfere with her lap time. She was happy to share my lap. I think the cats enjoyed us being up in the middle of the night. Give your pets some credit, they understand more than we think. Their instincts kicks in and they know that a baby is different. I can't say that the cats were as bummed as we were when we had to give the babies back. Edie and Twiggy enjoy having our full attention.