A lot of people have been wrongfully told that they can’t keep a cat “once the baby arrives.” It's a ridiculous piece of advice. There are tons of professional recommendations out there that will ease the adaptation process and make sure that everyone is happy when your new baby comes home. Here are a handful that we loved:
Keep up on your cat’s shots (de-worming medicines, etc.) before and after the birth. It’s standard, but something people often overlook when they're extremely busy.
Keep regular feeding and play times. Cats thrive on a schedule, so if you’re going to be out of the house on occasion, think about getting an automatic feeder. When your baby arrives, chaos in the household will naturally disrupt many things, but your cat will still be taken care of.
Start trimming your cat’s nails. Be sure to reward them with treats before and after, to start getting them into the habit.
If your male cat hasn't been neutered yet, speak with your veterinarian: the procedure can be an extremely beneficial one in terms of calmness.
Let your cat start smelling baby products and investigating the room. If possible, rub lotion or powder on your skin daily and let your cat associate the new smells with someone familiar.
The ASPCA encourages parents-to-be to “start getting your cat used to the baby’s prodding fingers now by playing 'Poke the Kitty'. Very gently give your cat a little poke, pat or pinch. Then immediately give him a yummy treat or his dinner. Play this game at least two or three times a day until the baby arrives."
Invest in cat perches that are out of the way of babies and toddlers. It will give them a sense of safety and allow them to watch others with secure curiosity.
Always set aside time to scratch, praise and feed your cat. They’ll be seeing less of you once the baby comes, so take advantage of the positive relationship you’ve created with them.
If you do allow the cat into the baby’s room, make sure that the crib is off limits. Some experts recommend—before your due date—filling the crib with empty soda cans and aluminum foil. Otherwise, invest in a crib tent.
Don’t force your cat to come near the baby. Your cat will investigate when it’s ready.
Don’t panic if your cat smells your baby’s face! You should respond with praise and love because it’s one of the first steps towards having a good relationship between the two.
Don’t buy all of the baby’s furniture all at once: sudden changes in a household can cause major stress for your cat. Instead, introduce it over a few weeks or months to let your furry friend get accustomed to seeing it.
After your child is born, come home and greet the animal first (without the baby around). You’ve been away from home, and the stress from that can be intense for any pet. Your cat was your first ‘baby’, so a slow introduction is necessary.
If you follow the professional advice of veterinarians and cat behavioral specialists, you should have a harmonic household leading up to (and following) the birth of your child. Good luck to you, and congratulations!