Long before I became a mom, I had three "fur babies" of the feline variety. So when I got pregnant with my first, I worried about whether or not my cats would get along with my baby, and vice versa. Luckily, like so many other things I stressed about, in the end it wasn't a big deal. Not at first, anyway. Thankfully, and eventually, my partner and I learned that it takes time before your pet considers your baby to be part of the family. And when they do, the signs were pretty unmistakable.
Now, I am not saying that your pets and new baby will get along from the beginning. You should be prepared for your baby to scare the hell out of your pet (or pets) the first time they meet. My cats were absolutely terrified of my tiny, newborn daughter, leaping 12 feet into the air and running away if she'd make the slightest sound, hiding under my bed when she was awake, and avoiding me like the plague for weeks.
Thee transition from fear to tolerance of my cats' new, loud, hairless sibling was subtle. They slinked their way into the room, cautiously sniffing and pawing at our new edition, as if we'd brought home an alien or a supernatural being. Pretty soon, though, they actually became the best of friends. My cats would sleep in the baby's crib, eat the food she dropped from her high chair, play with her toys ,and even snuggle with her during tummy time. I was so relieved for my pets and baby to not just co-exist, but learn to get along. For more signs that your pet totally considers your baby to be part of the family, read on:
They Notice The Baby
When I first brought all of my babies home from the hospital, my cats pretty much ignored them. It was like they knew something was different, but didn't want to acknowledge the new squishy member of our family. They avoided me like the plague, as if something had changed about me in my short time away. Of course, they were right.
They Get Curious
At first my cats seemed curious about this new "hairless kitten" I brought home.. Clearly, I wasn't afraid of the baby, so they thought they ought to check things out, too, and make sure that mama was OK.
They Freak Out
Eventually, though, my cats realized that the baby was here to stay. And when they heard the baby cry — a sound which evidently causes physical pain to cats — they would run out of the room and hide. It was hilarious how disturbed they were about their new sibling.
They Sleep In The Crib
For as scared as they were of the baby, though, none of my cats feared the crib. In fact, my cats loved the crib. They seemed to think that the baby's crib was the most comfortable place in the house to sleep, regardless of whether or not it was already occupied. I wish my babies felt the same way.
They Stop Running Away
One day, though, my pets stopped running away from the baby. They seemed to realize that this new "thing" was a permanent fixture in our home (and my lap) and decided to check things out for themselves. Before I knew it they were sniffing this loud, pink creature and wondering if it was "friend" or "foe."
They Let The Baby Touch Them
From the time my babies were able to reach for their furry siblings, my partner and I repeated the phrase "soft touches" over and over and over again. Our babies were rough at first, but that mantra eventually paid off and our babies learned how to give our cats gentle pets. As a result, our cats learned that they will get love if they let the baby touch them.
They Approach The Baby On Purpose
The times when the cats actually approached the baby,on purpose, so they could enjoy a nice pet, scratch, or snuggle, are times when I knew we were becoming more of a cohesive family. The baby wasn't just a loud "thing" anymore. To the cats, finally, the baby was a little person who was a part of our household.
They Get Worried When The Baby Cries
One of the sweetest things I have ever witnessed was my cat getting worried and meowing when the baby cried. She meowed at my bedroom door like a feline Lassie telling me the baby was clearly hurt and needed my help, and kept meowing until I got up and checked on her.
They Eat The Baby’s Food
Some days, I honestly feel like my cat and baby have made a pact to share food. The cat will hover near the high chair when the baby is eating, waiting for him to drop morsels of food that she can enjoy, and she doesn't make a sound if he tries to eat her food, either. I wonder if they are conspiring against me.
My cats actually snuggle with my baby now. It's almost as if they are nannies watching over them, rubbing their little faces against the baby's and purring as if they are with their BFF. It's so cute, it almost hurts.