Many pets can feel pretty fed up when a new baby arrives. For years they have been centre of attention and now suddenly they have a new, strange smelling, noisy inmate to content with and unlike us, they haven’t had nine months to get used to the idea! My son is 11 months now and cat obsessed, on sight of our lovely furry 4 legged friends he shrieks and hi-speed crawls over to terrorise them! The cats pretty much hate my him I think, one cat – the tabby female, pretty much ignores his existence and hides whenever he is around. At bed time she’ll wait until it’s all gone quiet and then creep upstairs and go to sleep next to him, safe in the knowledge he doesn’t move when he’s asleep. The other cat, a ginger Tom, is perhaps a bit more daft, sometimes he’ll just ask for trouble by rolling around in front of little rug-rat, and twice now he’s given him a little, polite non clawed tap on the head trying to set boundaries.
When I flick through the photos on my phone pre baby the majority of shots were of said cats. Cats cuddling each other, cats cuddling me, cats doing something silly, cat picture on my home screen and at one point it was even my Facebook profile picture! Now, it’s all my son. This is sad I realise and although I still adore my furry feline friends I simply haven’t the time to devote to their cuddles as I used to.
So what can we do to ease a new arrival on our fur-babies?
You’ll find a lot of strange clips on YouTube of baby cries, gurgles, goo’s etc and it’s not a bad idea to play these in the house before baby arrives to get pets used to the new sounds.
Allow them to take part in the preparation, let them in to explore the babies room and have a good sniff of baby’s belongings. You don’t want fur all over your newborn baby’s things but it’s also important to not forbid and chastise them from baby’s room entirely before they arrive.
For cats you can buy a feliway diffuser family cheaply which plugs in to a socket and emits a calming scent proven to help calm pussy cats.
Set up safe escape zones before baby arrives to give pets time to discover them, for instance beds on high ground, tunnels to hide in.
Bringing baby home
Take time to introduce your baby to your pet, I let our cats have a good sniff of our son.
As baby grows and becomes more mobile teach them to be respectful of your pets, use a gentle voice and ask them to be careful and gentle.
And don’t forget to make a fuss and have time for your pets, when baby is asleep invite them for a cuddle to let them know they’re still loved and cared for!