I still remember how much I worried when I was pregnant with my son. It was mainly the period after the birth of my son that I remember vividly. Would my cat George accept this new little baby, or would he feel threatened and start scratching, biting and completely misbehaving? In the past, we tried adding another cat to our household, but George wouldn’t have it, and kept fighting with the little kitten. This only worried me more about bringing my new son home. I didn’t want to be forced to give up my 3-year-old cat George. I prepared for the big day and took several steps to ease the introduction between my cat and my son. Here’s what I did. Maybe it will also work for you.
The Baby’s Scent
My doctor was aware of my concern about the introduction between my baby and the cat. She advised me to familiarize my cat with the baby’s scent before bringing him home. This way the baby wouldn’t seem like a complete stranger to the cat. She said to take a used piece of clothing or a used baby blanket and to place it in an area where the cat frequently naps. A little while after the birth, I had my husband take home the cap that my baby had worn. He said when George saw the strange cap, he instantly came over to sniff and explore it. To this day, I think the cap made a big difference in the way my cat and child get along.
The Crib Tent
I had already set up the entire nursery for the baby including a tent for the crib. This tent was a lifesaver, especially when the baby was napping. The tent was basically a piece of netting that closed off the entrance to the crib completely. It had a zipper for easy access and still allowed me to see the baby through the netting. It somewhat resembled mosquito netting draped over a bed. Although my cat George always stayed calm around the baby, I didn’t want to take any chances. George would place his paw on the netting to explore it, but never tried getting into the crib to get to the baby.
We gradually allowed George closer to the baby. He would come over when I was holding the baby and he would sniff the baby’s limbs. I would closely observe the interaction. George didn’t seem threatened like he was when we tried to introduce him to a new feline pal. He stayed calm and went about his business. As my son got bigger, George grew very protective of him. He would sit next to him and always tried to be in his presence. He never extended his claws when he was playing with my son. It’s almost like my cat knew that he could hurt this new little person. George is now 10 and my son is 6. They’re the best of friends and to this day we refer to George as my son’s big brother.