A lot of people have been asking my human, Jeff, about cats and babies. Those tiny little humans are very delicate, and no one wants them to get hurt! Personally, I love those curious little humans and only want to keep them happy!
To make socializing cats and babies even easier, begin changing routines to reflect what you expect of your cat to become after the newborn baby comes home. This way, very little actually changes for either me or the other kitties!
This is all around a perfect developmental learning opportunity for both cats and babies, to allow your cat to grow with the joy and pleasure an animal friend can offer while broadening the social experiences of your cat.
Socialization and Social Contact
Humans are better capable of adjusting to new situations, but it is always important to socialize domestic pets (dogs/cats) with young children as best you can! In fact, the younger age you start this, the better.
Do your best to promote happy, peaceful, and calm interactions! Introduce food rewards for kitty. Use pleasant, cheerful voices. Place my kitty litter box in a familiar place, but make sure the baby can’t get to it. Give me a scratching post in a place I’m familiar with and love!
Introducing a Cat to a Baby
It will be easiest if I’m first introduced to any new baby family members in a quiet, peaceful room with as few distractions as possible. When it comes to cats and babies, this is a pretty general rule.
When you first arrive home after birth, try to greet your cat in a quiet, peaceful room away from the commotion of the new baby's arrival. Place a used piece of infant clothing near your cat and allow him/her to investigate.
Try your best to maintain a peaceful environment for both cats and babies! Your kitty will be both happier and less prone to act out, while your baby will grow in a fantastic social environment. A gentle animal companion will be fantastic for the development of your new human.
Don’t allow your cat to sleep on or with your baby unsupervised. Close the nursery door when your baby is sleeping in order to prevent your cat from curling up next to the baby for a nap.
Introductions to Baby Sounds
Introduce me to baby sounds! Getting a cat familiar to a baby crying or anything else is pretty important, before thrusting them in a potentially stressful situation involving a loud or screaming child.
Try to play short recordings throughout the day. Start off with quiet or mild baby noises, and slowly let your cat acclimate to louder noises over time. Don’t let the first-time your cat hears a baby crying be when you bring the little fellow home.
Games to Avoid Between Cats and Babies
Don’t let me get used to playing games involving your hands or face! You don’t want your cat to think it might be ok to play with the little one’s extremities. Also, you don’t want to throw quick, darting objects around your baby, and always avoid playing with the laser pointers around cats and babies.
Stress with Change
Believe me, cats don’t like to be stressed. We kitties don’t respond to stress well in general and try our best to avoid it. A new member to the family is going to mean some very large changes! Remember, your cat isn’t going to understand the situation from a human’s perspective, and your baby won’t understand your cat right away.
● Play recorded baby noises regularly up to two months beforehand.
● Rub baby lotion on your hands before playing with kitty.
● Set up nursery furniture as soon as you can beforehand.
Use your entire pregnancy to slowly prepare cats for the upcoming family member!
Infants and Cat Allergies
An allergic reaction happens when your immune system overreacts to a ‘normally harmless’ allergen. The body's own immune system produces antibodies that travel to and attack these allergens.
In my case, allergens can be in my dander (dried flakes of skin), urine or saliva. If the little one comes down with any of the symptoms below, he/she may have an allergy.
Symptoms of Cat Allergies
● Itchy eyes
● Runny nose
● Scratchy throat
● Asthma symptoms
Studies have shown caring for cats and babies simultaneously can actually lower the chance of developing allergies later on. In case your newborn child does develop allergies, there are several ways to limit your problems!
● Wash the baby’s bedding often.
● Clean the baby’s walls, window blinds, floor, ceiling, and curtains regularly.
● Try to ensure your baby doesn’t try to hug or kiss kitty.
● Open your baby’s bedroom windows regularly (but keep the cat inside) to allow outside airflow
● Invest in a HEPA purifier.
● Vacuum your house regularly.
Can Cats be Hypoallergenic?
I’m sure you’ve heard of hypoallergenic cats or dogs before! Believe it or not, there is no such thing because any animal will produce dander. You can still limit any allergens with kitties who don’t shed as much and can’t release dander via fur.
Baby Safe Cat Litter Box
When it comes to cats and babies, curiosity is nothing new for either! I love exploring anything new, and the little one is going to do the same (once he/she can crawl/walk).
I know it isn’t easy to think about, but small humans love to grab any new objects they can and put it in their mouths. Your best defense is to ensure baby can never reach my litter box. There are other great steps you can take, too!
My litter can contain a kind of parasite that can lead to a toxoplasmosis infection, which can be dangerous to a mother’s unborn child because of the underdeveloped immune system of babies. This can also be a problem with undercooked meat.
Don’t worry! This problem is rare and easily preventable! Before anything else, make sure food is cooked well and you don’t come in physical contact with my kitty droppings.
● Avoid feeding your cat raw or under-cooked meat.
● Keep your cats indoors, and try to avoid other outdoor cats.
Infants who are born to a mother infected with this parasite can suffer from some severe problems, so it’s important to keep everything clean and wash your hands thoroughly! Because both infected mothers and children rarely show symptoms, it’s important to discuss these precautions with your doctor.
Baby-Proof Kitty Litter Box
The easiest thing you can do for cats and babies is to keep my litter box in a special room I’m comfortable with and can easily get to, but my baby brother or sister can’t. A special door latch might help, or you could even consider a ‘box’ that encloses my litter box with a small entrance only large enough for me.
The biggest key is to make sure your new, little human isn’t able to ever touch or play in any kitty litter.
● Always be sure to wash your hands after cleaning or changing my litter!
● Pay attention to my little paws around the tiny human!
● Using gloves, be sure to clean your kitty litter box regularly.