How to prep your cat for the arrival of a new baby

Bringing home your newborn is an exciting time. You can finally settle in at home with your newly expanded family. But for all the excitement involved in bringing home your baby, there’s a lot of preparation that needs to be done. And that’s especially true if you already have a fur baby — namely, a cat.

As much as you need to prep your home for your new baby, you need to get your cat ready for its new non-fur sibling as well. Here are 6 tips on how to prepare your cat for the arrival of a newborn baby.

Introduce your pet to baby sounds

In the time leading up to your baby’s arrival, introduce your cat to typical sounds babies make by playing recordings of babies babbling, cooing, crying and screaming. Be gradual about this introduction to avoid overwhelming your cat. Start with the volume low and increase it slowly over time. Also, begin by playing the recordings every once in a while and then more frequently as time goes on.

Bring baby smells into the home

Cats are very smell-oriented, so let them get used to the smell of baby products before your baby comes home. Bring items like baby powder, shampoo and formula into your home and use them around the house. Putting some of these products on your skin will allow your cat to develop a positive association with the smells as well.

Introduce your pet to baby objects 

When you bring home items like a crib, changing table, diapers and clothes, let your cat investigate them and explore them thoroughly. Once your cat has fully checked the new objects out, make sure to either cover them with a blanket or put them away so that your pet doesn’t think they’re a place to sleep or a toy to play with.

Establish new rules before the baby’s arrival

If you don’t want your cat jumping on the couch or bed when your newborn is around, start implementing those rules in the months leading up to your baby’s delivery. That way your cat won’t negatively associate the new rules with their new non-fur sibling.

Shift routine 

Start feeding your cat, letting it outside or changing its litter box at times you know you can reliably do so after your baby is home. This way both you and your pet can get used to the new routine ahead of time.

Stop play fighting using your hands and feet

If you play fight with your cat using your hands and feet, train them out of it in the months ahead of your baby’s arrival. Even gentle cats may mistake innocuous behavior for play fighting and could potentially scratch your baby.

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