How to Introduce Your Cat to Your Baby

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio

Are you preparing to welcome a new baby, and you want to be sure that your fur baby will be ready for such a big change? Cats are creatures of habit, so major shifts in their daily life, which happens when a child is born, can cause them to feel stressed. But if you take the right steps in advance and after you bring your baby home, you can ensure everyone in your family will adjust to the changes without anxiety.

Check out the tips below on how to introduce your cat to your newborn.


Get Your Cat Used to the Changes That Come with a Baby

Rather than waiting until your baby comes home to dive right into introducing your cat to your bundle of joy, begin preparing your feline friend while you’re pregnant. A few months before your due date, you can start getting your kitty accustomed to the various new smells, sounds, and items around the house that they’ll be exposed to once baby arrives.

Here are some of the many ways that you can help your pet ease into the changes that are going to occur with the addition of a new family member:

Give your cat their own space. Provide your cat with more places to relax in so they have an area of their own to go to if they’re frazzled by your baby. This might mean getting them a new cat tree, setting up wall perches, or buying some condos and hideaways. This can be especially helpful if you’ll be using an area for baby that your kitty currently spends a lot of time in, as they’ll need new places to go.

Introduce new items in advance. If you’re going to give your kitty new products, introduce them in advance so they’re comfortable using them every day. This is especially important if you’re going to make a big switch to an automatic litter box to make your life easier before and after giving birth, especially when you don’t want to be scooping litter boxes for hygienic and health reasons. For instance, there’s the PETKIT Pura Max, which works for multi-cat households, helps you track your pet’s health, makes it possible to go 15 days without needing to scoop the litter box, and makes disposing of waste quick and simple. 

Get your cat used to new smells and sounds. To get your kitty used to the new smells they’ll encounter from baby products like lotions, you can apply some of them to your skin. Also, let your cat sniff the various baby products you’ll be using, such as rockers, toys, and carriers. This will get them used to the way that they smell and make them realize that they don’t need to be afraid of them. You can even turn on electronics so your pet can get accustomed to the sounds and movements they make.

Teach your cat the sounds that babies make. To get your cat used to the sounds that a baby makes, play videos of babies at a low volume on your computer or mobile device, increasing the volume gradually over time. Or, if a friend or family member has a baby, have them come over and spend time with you and your cat so they can see and hear what a baby is like.

Make gradual shifts in routine. Because everyone’s routine will change once baby is home, start making some adjustments little by little. You won’t be able to predict exactly what your daily routine will look like, but if you have a general idea of when you’ll be able to feed your cat and interact with them, you can start making these changes to their schedule so it won’t come as a shock.

Remember to keep it all positive by interacting with your cat every day, showing them loads of affection, and giving them treats and praise.

Tips for Introducing Your Cat to Your Baby

Once your baby gets home, it’s time to slowly introduce your cat to them. Don’t force your kitty to meet your little one if they aren’t ready, as the goal is to avoid stressing them out. Work at their pace and let them feel like they’re in control of the situation, as this will help keep their stress level down while they acclimate to the new change.

If your cat shows interest in being near your baby, use a soft voice and allow the interaction to happen in a quiet and calm room while your baby is relaxed. Again, keep things positive. A brief introduction might involve your kitty gently sniffing your baby and then walking away, or they might just view the baby from a distance. To create a positive association with your child, give your kitty some treats after these interactions. 

To introduce your baby’s smell to your cat, you might consider taking one of your baby’s blankets and letting your pet sniff it. This might help ease them into feeling comfortable with meeting your child because they’ll already be familiar with their scent.

Pay attention to your pet each day, making sure they get the affection and interaction they need to remain calm and happy. This can be tough, especially at first, but if everyone in the household helps in this area, your pet won’t feel ignored or left out.

Whether your cat shows a lot of interest in your baby or they run away at first, be patient and understanding. Give them time to come around. Once they realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of and they’re still being cared for just like before, they’ll let you know when they’re ready to spend more time near your baby.

Get Expert Help, If Necessary

If you notice that your cat is having a hard time adjusting, and is exhibiting changes in behavior that are concerning, talk to your veterinarian or a feline behaviorist. They can give you tips on how to proceed.

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Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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