Babies and cats: How to prepare the cat for the arrival of the infant in the home

Congratulations! The birth is approaching, but with all the excitement around, you are troubled about how the new arrival will get along with your adult cat

Orli Zacai – Chinese Medicine for Animals and Consultation for Cat behavioral


Almost everything is ready. You’ve read all the possible books, chosen a number of names, you know exactly what shade of blue you want for the baby carriage, you attend all the birthing classes and you feel emotionally prepared for parenthood.

Stop a moment….you’ve forgotten something important! Your cat has no idea that a new baby is coming into the home and life is going to change, and therefore, it is important to also prepare him before the birth. For a moment, look at the situation through the eyes of your cat: when a baby comes into the home without any prior preparation, from his point of view it is a very noisy intruder who is stealing a lot of attention. This is not the impression that we want the cat to receive, and we of course prefer that they will be good friends.

It is important to note that in the event that there are behavioral problems such as defecating outside of the kitty litter, aggression and such, they need to be treated during the pregnancy and before the birth of the baby. These problems have various causes, such as improper environmental conditions, and therefore, it is advisable to confer with a professional behavior therapist who will identify the causes and offer ways of solving the problems.

As stated, preparing the cat for the coming of the adorable infant and the changes that are going to occur in the home needs to be done gradually before the birth, in order that the encounter should not be too stressful. Here are a few tips that can make it easier for all sides:

– Get the cat used to the sounds and odors of babies. Spread on your hands some of the cream that you will use on the baby, let the cat smell you and then give it a tasty treat. Thus, he will connect the odor to a positive experience.

– Invite friends with a baby to your house and let the cat wander around the room and smell the baby. Pet the cat and give it a treat.

– Let the cat sniff and get used to the area in the house that you have prepared for the baby, whether this is in your room or in a separate room. It is important at this stage to satisfy the cat’s curiosity, so that his interest in this area will lessen.

– If you do not want the cat to jump on the baby’s bed, it is advisable to cover the bed with nylon sheeting and stick double sided tape on the upper surface so that the glue will remain exposed. After the cat has jumped on the bed a few times, it will understand that the surface is not a pleasant place for it.

– If you really don’t want the cat to go into the baby’s room, you can install a screen door ahead of time.

– Close to the return from the hospital it would be worthwhile to bring a diaper or clothing from the baby and let the cat get used to the odors.

– When you arrive home with the baby, pet the cat and let it sniff you and the baby carefully. Remember that the cat was yearning for you, and therefore it is important not to lock it up alone in a room until you get arranged since this is likely to over-stress it and to increase its curiosity.

– Try to play with the cat and to maintain the routine of the games, the petting, the grooming and basically everything that the cat is used to, even after the baby is already in the home.

In summary, it is important to maintain the life routine of the cat and to make it feel like an inseparable part of the family. In spite of the understandable difficulty and lack of time, do not neglect your cat. Paying attention to your cat will reduce its stress and will prevent behavioral difficulties that are likely to occur otherwise.

A baby and a cat. Photographed by Dr. Aya Peri
A baby and a cat. Photographed by Dr. Aya Peri