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[Most of these suggestions came from Cat Love and Twisted Whiskers, books written by Pam Johnson-Bennet, a feline behavior consultant. The articles themselves, however, are from A. van Bavel, who gave permission for cross-posting.]

Think twice before giving up your furry feline baby for your human baby. They are both helpless in this world!

BEFORE THE BABY ARRIVES

It may seem that your cats are jealous of your new baby, but really they're just anxious. Cats hate change, and so any change leads to anxiety. Bringing in a new baby is an enormous change – not just for the parents, but also for their pets! Here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Have your cats spayed or neutered beforehand (spaying/neutering will make your cats calmer).
  • Put a little of whatever creams or powder you will use on your baby on yourself, so that your kitty will become used to that scent.
  • Play audio tapes of baby sounds (especially crying) before the baby is born. Start on a low volume, then increase the volume slowly (not deafening, though). Play with and stroke your kitty while you play the tapes, so he/she will associate baby crying with good feelings).
  • Let your kitty investigate the new baby furniture. (It can always be wiped off later.) Play with and caress your kitty during these times as well.
  • Don't paint the nursery, install new carpet and bring in new furniture all at once. Remember, cats hate change! But, they will adjust if you go slowly.
  • To dissuade your cats from sleeping in the baby’s crib, set up empty soda cans in the crib with a few pennies in each. When your kitties jump in and knock over the cans, they’ll be startled by the noise.
  • If you have a friend with a baby, invite them over so that your kitty can get adjusted to the sight and sound of a baby. Caress and play with the kitty while your visitors are present.
  • The closer the due date, the more important it is to maintain your regular routines with the kitties.
  • Do not run out and declaw your kitty! Cats only scratch when they feel they are in danger, so declawing is unnecessary. Declawing is also traumatic and painful for cats. Cats with claws do fine around babies and children. They are curious animals, so they’ll often come close to investigate, but that's all.
WHEN THE BABY COMES HOME
  • Feed your cat his favorite meal.
  • Try to give your kitty or kitties a little extra attention after the baby arrives.
  • When your kitty is calm, let her sniff your baby and the baby’s things. She will not harm the baby – she’s just curious. Try to remain calm yourself, because if you are nervous, both the kitty and your baby will pick up on it. Also, if your kitty is reluctant, don't force her to sniff the baby. She’ll come around when she feels that it is safe.
  • Say the cat's name often when tending to the baby. That makes the kitty feel like a part of the family and thus makes him or her more secure.
  • If your kitty runs away from the crying child, let him go. He'll come around eventually. Always talk to the kitty in reassuring tones.
  • If you play with your cats, do it as often as possible now to let them know that everything is the same as before, and they are still loved.
  • When you're nursing, your cat may sleep nearby because he may pick up on the feeling of contentment in the room.
  • If you're worried about the cat trying to snuggle with the baby, get a net that covers the crib or cradle. These nets, available at baby supply stores, are called Crib Tents.
  • If the kitties start spraying, be patient. A little extra attention may cure this behavior.
  • If the problem persists, contact your veterinarian. Your kitty may be severely stressed out over the new addition and perhaps your vet can suggest something to help.
  • B vitamins (found in brewer's yeast tablets), and vitamin C (you can add a liquid or paste to their food) can be beneficial for cats in stressful situations. These vitamins are available at most pet supply stores.
AS THE CHILDREN GROW UP
  • Children learn how to treat kitties by following your example. Treat the kitties with love and respect, and your children will, too!
  • Show your children how to hold and pick up kitties. If and when they hold or grab a kitty improperly, get the child to let go very gently and demonstrate the right way.
  • Show your children how to softly stroke the kitty. Caressing the kitty will calm both your child and the kitty! Show how to pet the kitty with an open hand. Use only one hand to pet because two hands might make the kitty feel trapped.
  • Loud or noisy toys can be terrifying for a little kitty. Explain to your child why these toys must not be played with next to the kitty.
  • Keep the litter box away from the child. You might consider buying those gates available at baby supply stores. A litter box with a hood might give the kitty a little privacy from the child.
  • Keep the child out of the kitty's food and water. Don't let the baby bother the kitty when the kitty is eating. Your kitty won't harm the child if bothered while eating, but she'll probably start eating a lot less!