Prepare Your Cat for Your New Baby
... And After Birth
When you first arrive home from the hospital, peacefully greet your cat in a quiet room without interruption. Once you've had a few minutes to reconnect, let in everyone else-mate, baby, grandparents, baby nurse and assorted well-wishers. Unless your cat is extremely social, he will flee the hoopla and go into hiding. Once things settle down, he will come tiptoeing back.
Place a used receiving blanket or piece of infantwear in a quiet area where the cat can investigate it. When nursing, allow the cat to approach and check things out. If he follows you into the nursery at naptime, make sure he doesn't jump into the crib. While there's certainly no truth to the myth that cats suck the air out of babies' lungs, a newborn does not have the capacity to turn over or even move her head at first. A heat-seeking cat who chooses to cuddle up close to the baby's face could make it difficult for the child to breathe. Close the door to the nursery when the baby is napping. If there is no door to close, either install a temporary screen door or place a crib tent over the crib to keep the cat out. These precautions also prevent the cat from urinating in the crib, something he may try if extremely stressed.
With the baby safely at rest, now's the perfect time to grab a catnap with your favorite feline.
Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT
ASPCA Companion Animal Programs Advisor
National Shelter Outreach