Bringing home a new baby is an exciting celebratory event. But, have you considered how the introduction of a new baby into your household will affect your cat? Some cats may find changes associated with the new arrival difficult to adjust to. Anxiety and stress may lead to some undesired behaviors, such as meowing or crying more often, urinating outside the litterbox, changes in grooming habits, and aggressive conduct.
Why You Should Prepare Your Cat for Your New Baby
Cats are creatures of habit that bond with their surroundings and don’t like abrupt changes. So, while you are mulling over new baby names, also think about how your cat’s routine may be disrupted and slowly introduce any necessary changes. These might include variations to the times you feed and play with your cat and transitioning him to other parts of the house.
Should Your Cat be Allowed in Your New Baby’s Room?
Your home is also your cat’s home, so you will be setting yourself up for some unwanted behavior if you restrict large areas of your house to your cat. If you don’t like the idea of banishing your cat completely from the new baby’s nursery, but are concerned that your large Maine Coon may get into the crib and snuggle with your tiny newborn, consider using a crib tent.
Encourage Your Cat to Self Relocate
A new comfy bed in a different part of your house may entice your cat to enjoy more time there. A good plan is to offer enticements in several areas and let him choose his favorite. Install new scratching posts in places where you would prefer your cat to be, or set up a bird feeder outside his favorite window. A pheromone diffuser, such as Feliway, placed in your cat’s new space can help reduce anxiety. If space is limited, go vertical – places your new baby won’t be – climbing towers, perches, sturdy shelves.
New Ways to Play with Your Cat
Ahead of time, accustom your cat to new solo ways to play and exercise, so he won’t get too upset if the times you have your new baby on your lap clash with his usual lap times. Different toys that your cat can play with alone might include tunnels, boxes, or crinkly bags. Entice your cat to play with these by hiding treats or catnip inside. When you are holding your new baby, encourage your cat to associate this with good times by enticing him with toys that are easily reached – danglers, toys on a string, jingly balls.
Assess Your Cat’s Health
While waiting for the birth of your new baby, take your cat to your vet for a checkup. Certain health issues that may be bothering your feline (such as arthritis pain) may cause him to be less tolerant of changes in his familiar environment and routine. Do your best to bring any health problems under control before your cat has to also cope with the upcoming major change. And, should you be unfortunate enough to have any kind of emergency concerning your cat (before or after the birth of your new baby) and you live in the environs of Columbia, SC, don’t hesitate to bring him to CVETS.