So you have a cat. And now you have an infant. It’s time to introduce your human baby to your furry baby, and you’re worried about how they’re going to adjust to each other.
Here’s my advice on managing the cat/baby relationship:
- Let the cat smell something of the baby’s, like a hat or blanket, when you come back from the hospital. The cat will seem uninterested and you will feel a bit slighted on your baby’s behalf, but remember that cats aren’t interested in much of anything except for food and clawing the s**t out of your couch.
- Don’t be surprised if your cat is f***ing terrified of your baby. You will be terrified of your baby too. Nothing gives you the fear like a baby who won’t stop screaming and you DON’T KNOW WHY.
- You may want to designate the baby’s room, or your room if that’s where they’re sleeping, as a cat-free zone. This will help prevent any potential cat-peeing-on-the-baby’s-cot issues. It will also make that room the most interesting room ever to the cat, and they will spend all day trying to get into it.
- As your baby gets a bit older, they will want to pet the cat. Teach them to do it softly. Show them how to stroke the cat’s back slowly and say, “Look, gentle.” They’ll slap the cat and pull its tail anyway, but you’ll feel slightly less bad about it because at least you tried.
- Your baby is probably going to get scratched a few times because…well, they’re slapping the cat. Discipline the cat, because that’s not on, but try not to get too mad at them. The baby did, after all, kind of have it coming.
- When your baby becomes mobile, you’ll want to stop them from getting into the cat’s food bowl, water bowl and litter tray. This will not be possible. If you hide them too well, the cat won’t be able to get to them either. Just accept that your baby is probably going to eat some cat food. There are worse things.
- Make time for the cat too. They’re not king of the house anymore, but it’s best if they don’t know that. If can be hard to pay attention to your cat when your baby is crying/pooing on themselves/insisting on being carried/generally demanding that you focus every single ounce of your being on them, but try. Scratch their back. Dangle a toy mouse in their face. Give them a treat. (But don’t let the cat find out where you keep the treats, because then they’ll make it their life’s mission to get into them – especially at night. The baby will have finally gone to sleep and you’ll be just about to drift off yourself, and then you’ll hear it. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Smash. Meow. Scratch. Cats can be real butts sometimes.)