Teaching an Old Cat to Accept a Newborn

Editor’s Note: Today guest post is from Heather Green, who shares some practical tips for helping cats adjust to a baby.

(courtesy Heather Green)

When I found out that I was pregnant, one of the first things that came to my mind were my four older cats and how they would react to our new addition. After researching how to teach my four-legged babies to love the new life they were about to meet, I learned that it was easier than I thought and that cats are generally accepting of babies without too many obstacles.

How to Begin the Transition

1)    Buy a baby doll. I wanted my fuzzy kids to get used to baby without risking harm to my actual baby, so we brought home the “test” baby before our little guy was born. Loving on our cats while I was holding the baby doll and letting them sniff and get used to the fake baby, helped them to transition and accept a baby in the house.

2)    Give them a little extra attention. While I was holding the baby doll, I would give my kitties extra attention to let them know that just because there was a new member of the family around, didn’t mean that they would be pushed aside. Extra love around baby made them a big fan of this new guy!

3)    Treats, treats and more treats! The same premise as extra love, getting treats around the baby made our cats gladly accept our newborn. Anytime they would sniff or investigate the baby doll, I would give them a treat. This was the best form of love around baby, and everyone knows that the way to a cats heart is undoubtedly through their stomach!

4)    Let them explore. Don’t shoo kitty when they get interested around baby, all of the new toys and furniture! Let them explore, smell and check out this new addition. The more you try to keep a cat away from something, the more determined they are to get their way, so let ’em be nosy!

5)    Expose them to the new smells and sounds of baby ahead of time. Get a tape of baby sounds and play it a few times a day so kitty knows that this is the new norm. Put baby lotion and powder on the doll — and even yourself around kitty — so they know that this new baby is part of you and that they will get just as much love, if not more from you than ever!

Heather Green is former veterinarian tech, pet lover and the resident blogger for OnlineNursingDegrees.org, a free informational website offering tips and advice on online nursing colleges

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