There are two answers to this;
2. Of course
Babies of the fur variety have special places in our lives. They are part of our families. Obviously if an animal poses a real threat to an infant, considerations need to be made but animals do not have to be booted out just because you start having human babies.
We have three beautiful black furbabies, two of which are rescue cats with stories of neglect, bullying and abuse. It was absolutely crucial that the cats had ample opportunity to familiarise themselves with the idea of a baby entering our home.
I spoke to the vet multiple times throughout my pregnancy at the cats various appointments and followed their advice. They gave us three top tips;
1. Let the cats have free reign
This was in terms of the baby stuff such as the cot, pram, moses basket etc. By giving the cats the opportunity to get used to all the new things flooding their space it wouldn’t be such a shock when a tiny human joined it. The cats loved investigating everything and playing in the piles of boxes! They rotated sleeping in the cot and pram for weeks.
2. Feliway. Feliway. Feliway.
We stocked up on, you guessed it, Feliway plug ins, to help keep the cats calm during the influx of strange new things.
3. Stick to routine
We have always had a very specific routine for the cats. One of them is medicated twice daily so she has to have her medication before they go out after breakfast and they all have to be inside before they have dinner. Even at 9 months pregnant the cats were fed on their schedule. In those first few tumultuous newborn weeks we worked really hard to keep the cats’ routine in place.
There were other suggestions such as playing the sound of a baby crying which we tried in the weeks before he arrived but the cats were mostly unfazed by this. Some people said to keep the cats out of the nursery once the baby arrived so the cats knew their boundaries, we opted not to do this and currently one of them sleeps in the cot. The baby sleeps in our room in his moses basket and will do until he either outgrows it or turns 6 months old, we had several suggestions to keep the furbabies out of our bedroom but the girls both sleep with us, one in bed and one up on the shelf above the radiator. None of them have ever climbed into where the baby is sleeping.
Day time antics are a little different. Our youngest cat likes to snuggle with the baby on the sofa in his donut support cushion and she generally lies by his feet and isn’t fussed when he kicks her or uses her as a footrest. However she has started becoming more comfortable with him and sometimes wants to lie on his legs and walk over his body which needs to be closely watched. Our other girl is very curious and will come over to the baby several times per day and sniff him but when he randomly launches his fists at her, she startles and runs. Our male cat is not particularly interested but he will come up and climb into my arms when I am holding the baby and happily share critical cuddle time.
Of course every cat is different but considering our rescues are really vulnerable, introducing the baby to them like we would introduce another cat has made the transition really smooth for everyone. The only thing we did differently was not bring the baby home in a cat box!
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