The Ultimate Cat Behavior Guide.
THE PROBLEM –CATS AND BABIES
IMPACT ON OWNER -
- worry about cat suffocating baby
- worry that cat will be jealous of baby and attack it
CAT’S PERSPECTIVE –
- there’s something new in my house thats different and gets a lot of attention and produces unpredictable sounds and movements.
Most people view their cat as part of the family. It is not unusual for a cat to be treated as the ‘baby' of the family but problems can arise when a real baby is introduced into the household. This is especially true if your cat is mature and has had no experience or bad experience of children and babies.
All cats will respond to a new arrival differently. The outcome will depend upon genetics (breed and parentage), personality and experience.
- I want to get to know it better
- I want to get to know it better but am a bit scared as I’ve never encountered anything like this before.
- I’m not sure I want to get to know it better but maybe if it and its things start to smell like me and my things I’ll feel happier
- I don’t want to get to know it better so I’ll keep out of its way
- I’m still getting my food and going out and about so what’s all the fuss about!
Some people are unable to cope with the responsibility of a new baby and a pet and are inclined to rehome the animal. This does not have to be the outcome if careful thought and forward planning are applied.
- Maintain your cat’s feeling of security by providing his resources eg bed, feeding station, litter tray, scratch post and toys in ‘cat friendly’ locations - private positions out of the way of busy traffic.
- An elevated sleeping perch can help a cat feel more secure as the preferred feline method of dealing with something unsettling or a potential threat is to hide, preferably in a high, dark, secluded place from which there is a good view, so the situation can be assessed in safety. Igloo beds or cardboard boxes can easily be adapted for this use, especially if a few tasty treats are hidden inside.
- Feeding at a height or in an area secured by a baby gate (especially for older arthritic cats that are unable to jump onto surfaces easily) can allow a cat to feed in peace without being on the lookout for a mobile baby or toddler.
- Stop your cat going into the room that is going to be the nursery long before the baby actually comes home. To reduce adverse reaction to this change and prevent ‘barrier frustration', spray the closed door and its frame with Feliway or rub with ‘facial cloths'
- Remember that indoor cats will be more affected even by small changes to their environment and lifestyle than those with access to the outdoors. If you are able to, allowing your cat outdoors can help alleviate frustration. A covered garden could be the ideal compromise when a new baby comes to allow your cat extra space and interest.
- New baby equipment brought into the house can upset a cat as the scent profile of his territory is disrupted. The equipment then becomes the target for urination or spraying. To help your cat, pheromone preparations like Feliway or facial rubbings from your cat can be applied to the new furniture and equipment before it comes into the house and before the baby arrives.
- Create opportunities to reinforce positive associations when new equipment arrives by offering tasty food or playing a favourite game each time a new item enters the house.
- Cats’ hearing is very sensitive so the noises a baby makes can upset them easily. Tapes / CDs of baby noises like crying, gurgling, squealing and laughing can be played, initially at very low volume, to accustom your cat to the noise as well as rewarding calm behaviour with food and play.
- Carefully consider letting babies and children visit your home and avoid letting your cat be picked up or held by children as the experience may be too overwhelming. It is best to stick to hands-off interaction eg playing with fishing rod toys, balls or a torchlight against the wall, sitting quietly near a cat or giving him a gentle stroke or favourite treat if the cat concerned won't find that too intrusive.
- If you and your cat have had a very close relationship, it is unfair to suddenly stop this attention and divert it to your new baby. Before the baby arrives, start to withdraw attention gradually but instigate times of structured play or grooming to suit your timetable. Cats like predictability so when the baby arrives try to set time aside for your cat and stick to his established routine.
- Never punish or stop your cat running away from children – stress and fear could turn to aggression if he feels trapped.
- Bring children up to respect your cat as a living creature, not a plaything.
Various myths surround pregnancy and cats and many people will be keen to offer advice and opinions on the effect your cat will have on your pregnancy and baby. Some of this advice though well meaning can be scare mongering to the detriment of your cat – cats, pregnancy and babies can co exist!
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The greatest risk of infection is from uncooked meat and unwashed vegetables but cats that hunt and eat infected wildlife can pass the parasite on in their faeces. Infection especially in the first trimester can damage a developing foetus. Precautions can be taken to avoid the problem.
- Clean litter trays daily using rubber gloves.
- Keep cats off kitchen surfaces.
- Regularly wash your hands especially after handling raw meat.
- Wear gloves if you are gardening.
- Wash vegetables.
- Ensure meat is fully cooked before eating
Toxocara and Toxascaris are easily removed with regular worming of your cat. Using Drontal (tablet) or Profender (spot on) every 3months is adequate for most cats but if your cat hunts regularly, monthly treatment may be required.
3. Suffocation myth
Cats love a warm spot and the cot in the nursery is usually very cosy but the old wives tale about cats sitting on babies and suffocating then is just that – an urban myth. The worry can be removed by ensuring the cat is not in the nursery when you leave the baby to sleep and if you want to leave the door or window open, put a cat net over the cot or pram. The only potential danger occurs when the baby is very small and can not turn over or move. The myth that a cat will kill a baby due to jealousy is unfounded, as is the myth that cats suck the breath from infants due to the milk in their mouths..
It is important to understand your cats thinking processes and we guarantee that by reading our Kindle E-Book you will have a head start. The most important factor in having a wonderful long term relationship with your cat is learning how they think. Get inside your cats head!
Click the button below to get more information at a low price and start helping your cat and yourself!
You can order by the from Amazon on a our safe, secure server and start the download immediately.
The instant your order is approved you can download your Kindle book
Paul, Sarah & Merlin