Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bringing Home Baby

Congratulations!  You and your husband have a new baby girl!  She's beautiful.  Everyone thinks she is wonderful....well the cat's not so sure.  To cats (and dogs), babies can be very confusing additions to the house.  New parents are excited but stressed.  We may forget to pet the cat, play with the cat or even feed the cat according to his regular routine.  As for the baby, it smells weird, acts unpredictably, and is the new center of the universe.  All of this can be very disconcerting for our loving companion.  How can we make this transition a little easier?

It's best to start preparing before you even bring the baby home.  When you start setting up the baby's room, let the cat explore the newly decorated room and it's scents.  If you'll want the cat to stay away from the crib (or out of the room entirely), set booby traps like upside-down carpet runner in the crib ahead of time.  By the time the baby is in that room, the cat will have learned that it's not a place where he should go.  If your husband takes home one of baby's blankets while you an the newborn are still at the hospital, the cat can get used to the baby's scent before the actual meeting of baby and pet.  When you bring the baby home, all interactions should be supervised and positive.  Give the cat attention and treats with the baby in the room so the cat knows good things happen around the baby.  Cats love routine, so try to keep his routine as regular as you can.  If your cat has a chance to get used to things gradually and knows that he is still loved, he will be (almost) as happy as you are about your new baby.

Kelly Wagner, CVT

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