Cats can jump pretty high. They can jump up to seven times thiere tail length!How will Puss react to the new addition? A timid cat that is over-dependent on you, but hides from other people may become jealous and spray to cover up the scent of the baby. It needs to become less dependent on you well before the birth. A devoted cat that joins in human activities will have hurt feelings, but is likely to join in with caring for baby if you let him. An independent cat who treats you like a hotel will probably ignore the baby if hotel services remain unchanged. Many cats become protective of what they view as a 'people-kitten'. Cats' emotions are different to human emotions and. contrary to common belief, cats do not plot or plan to do future things through jealousy or vengefulness.
Ignore scare stories about cats harming infants, they are usually exaggerated and are only newsworthy due to their EXTREME rarity (the endnote about the Malaysian baby has caused scares, but is not comparable to a domestic situation)
Tales about cats suffocating babies abound, but actual occurrences are very rare; in many cases the presence of the cat was incidental. There was one confirmed case where the baby inhaled the cat's fur and its breathing was obstructed. Use a crib-net to keep your cat out of the crib or pram - this will reduce any accidental scratches and the transmission of bacteria.
Get information from your doctor and your vet about cat-borne organisms that can harm unborn babies and take appropriate precautions e.g. don't handle soiled cat litter and scrub garden vegetables before eating them.
Ensure Puss is healthy and vaccinated. De-flea and de-worm him regularly.
Establish the cat's new routine gradually. Let him sniff the crib, pram etc but teach him not to get inside them. Let him investigate the nursery before making it out-of-bounds; if he knows what's in there, it is less of a tantalising mystery. You may need to fit a scratch-guard to protect the shut door from an over-curious cat.
Get crib and pram nets so that the cat cannot bed down with baby. They must be taut when fitted or the cat may use them as a hammock.
Gradually reduce the amount of time spent petting your cat. After the baby arrives you will have less time for petting. Establish a special 'cat-time' e.g. in the evening (after a baby's bed-time) or get your partner to become more active in caring for the catand giving it attention.
Ensure Puss's feeding area and litter tray are well away from areas needed for preparing baby's meals. If you use litter trays, persuade Puss to use a covered litter-tray with a cat-flap entrance. Establish a feeding area out of reach of a toddler e.g. on a table in the utility room.
When baby arrives, Puss will be curious and slightly wary of the new and noisy arrival so don't panic when he sniffs the crib or hangs around. Many cats soon lose interest and look for entertainment elsewhere.
Keep the nursery door closed or fit a screen door when baby is asleep, but make sure Puss is not shut in the nursery as well. Keep windows closed (or fit mesh screens) to keep cats from entering from outdoors. A baby alarm or intercom will allow you to monitor baby.
Keep baby's feeding utensils out of Puss's reach and wipe up spilt baby food before Puss gets into the habit of hanging around and doing it for you. Keep cat food and baby food well separated.
If you get tired or irritated, don't take it out on Puss.
Keep a sense of priorities. You only have one pair of hands: baby is top priority, cat usually second and most other jobs can wait a few minutes.
Regularly de-wormed and de-flea Puss. Check which flea powders are safest in a house where there is a baby or toddler.
Wash your hands after petting the cat and after cleaning litter tray, cat bedding and food bowls.
Encourage visitors to pay attention to the cat as well as the baby. Don't make Puss feel rejected, the baby is part of his life too.
Beware that some cats love to suck on wool and may be attracted to baby blankets!
Don't leave cat and baby together unattended; most scratches are due to a cat fending off an inquisitive crawling baby. The warmth of a crib is attractive to cats and though they usually stay away from a baby's face (most dislike the smell of human breath) it is a good idea to fit a crib net or "tent" made of net curtain. You can lay something that your cat don't like to keep him from the room.
Most cats will and can jump a baby gate.
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