By: Brittny Stokes, Pet Care Specialist

Oliver Stokes & Foster Kitten

Bringing a new baby into your home is an exciting and heartwarming experience, but if you also have a cat in your family, it’s important to remember that the transition can be equally overwhelming for them. As a cat owner and a new mom, I’ve recently experienced this challenge myself and wanted to share some valuable tips to make the introduction smoother for both your cat and your new baby.

1) Patience Is Key

First and foremost, remember that patience is the cornerstone of this process. Your cat has only known you as their family, and the arrival of a new member can be a significant adjustment. Some cats might embrace the change with instant love and calmness, while others may take several months to adapt.

In my personal experience, it took about two months before my youngest cat returned to her usual self. She exhibited signs of stress and fear, often sitting by my bedroom door and emitting long, stressed meows. Her skittish behavior was unprecedented.

While I was initially concerned about my two older cats, their adjustment was smoother. One took a little time to warm up, while the other displayed curiosity but also needed time to acclimate.

2) Create Their Own Space

Giving your cat their own space is crucial to rebuilding their confidence in their environment. Initially, we placed their food and water in our bedroom, only to realize that two out of three cats weren’t eating. After researching, I discovered that providing them with a separate area away from new scents would help them feel more comfortable and secure in their home. This adjustment significantly improved their well-being.

3) Divert Attention Away from the Baby

For more nervous or anxious cats, offering them attention away from the new arrival can work wonders. This strategy was particularly effective with our youngest cat. During the baby’s nap times, I would engage in playtime and petting sessions with her. This not only kept her engaged but also reassured her during this period of change.

4) Gradual Interaction in the Baby’s Presence

Gradually integrating your cat’s interaction with the baby’s presence is essential. While this doesn’t necessarily mean direct interaction between your baby and the cat, it’s about you engaging with your cat while the baby is around. Pay close attention to your cat’s body language; they will need time to grow comfortable with the new addition. Ensuring a sense of security for your pet during these interactions is paramount.

5) Familiarize Them with the Baby’s Scent

Introduce your cat to the baby’s scent before bringing the newborn home. This can be achieved by providing a piece of the baby’s clothing. Allowing your cat to become accustomed to the scent helps them feel more at ease when they finally meet the baby face to face.

6) Establish Boundaries

If you’d prefer to keep your cat out of certain rooms, setting up deterrents can be effective. In my case, I was concerned about my cats getting into the bassinet. To address this, we invested in a bassinet with a net cover. This allowed our cats to observe the baby without unintentionally getting too close.

In conclusion, the introduction of a new baby to your cat’s home requires patience, empathy, and careful planning. I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformation that can take place when these strategies are followed. Remember, it’s a journey for both your cat and your new bundle of joy, and with understanding and gradual adjustments, a harmonious and loving environment can be achieved.

Stay tuned soon for tips on introducing your new baby to your pet dog! 🐾

Brittny Stokes is a Pet Care Specialist with the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare and a new mom to baby Oliver along with her husband, Zach.