Pets and babies go together like scratching posts and teething rings. They're equally snuggly, adorable, and able to capture your attention immediately. That doesn't mean they automatically get along, though. In fact, bringing a new baby home to a family pet can be a difficult transition. What if your pet dislikes the baby or feels dismissed? What if your baby annoys your pet? It may take time, to be sure, but there are some subtle signs your pet is falling in love with your new baby that'll let you know love is in the air.
When I brought my daughter home I had four cats waiting for us. One absolutely hated everyone and everything, so ignoring the newborn blob that was my daughter was nothing personal. Two were generally indifferent, and the last one — the baby — was curious but pretty skittish. He also seemed to be very upset a small human had invaded his domain, and demanded we pet him often, lest we forget who was the "real" baby of the house.
As a new mom worried my fur babies and my human baby wouldn't get along, I relied heavily on all the studies that said having a pet would ultimately be beneficial to my child's wellbeing. But as the postpartum days crawled by, I started to doubt whether or not my cats — and particularly the youngest one — would ever learn to live with my baby in harmony. Then, before I could panic too much, I started to notice some small signs that my beloved pets were falling in love with my precious child. So if you have a reluctant pet, fear no more. Here are some subtle signs they're actually falling head over heels:
They Seek Your Baby Out
In the beginning, your beloved pet might hide from or avoid your baby altogether. Hell, mine did. The baby cat only come out of hiding when coaxed with a treat. And when he did appear, the moment he remembered there was a baby in "his" place, he'd disappear again.
After a few weeks, though, I noticed he was out and about more often, even lurking around the baby and showing some serious signs of intense curiosity. I kept a watchful eye to be sure he wouldn't harm her, but it didn't take long to realize he didn't intend any harm and, before too long, he would go right up to her as if she was a long-lost friend.
They Lay Near Your Baby
Some cats are more cuddly than others, so it might be difficult to gauge how they feel about your baby when they're not one to snuggle in the first place. Dogs, however, might have a more obvious tell. Either way, if your pet is taking naps by your baby, they're probably in love.
They Want To Be Near You When You're Holding The Baby
Anytime your pet tries to be near you and you have the baby in your arms, it doesn't necessarily mean they're cool with this new person invading their space and stealing your time. In my cat's case, it started with him trying to reclaim his throne. In the end, though, he started to come around and simply observe, and I think watching me fall in love with my baby helped him do the same.
They Play Together
Over time, and as your pet realizes the baby isn't going anywhere, you might notice them sharing toys or playing together. If that isn't love, I don't know what is.
Your Pet Brings The Baby Gifts
If you've ever had a cat, you know it's in their DNA to bring "gifts" when they're in need of praise. I've been given dead animals, random trash, and a bath robe, for example. I had to pay attention to make sure my cat wasn't giving my daughter a perished rodent, but once he started bringing her treats I knew everything between them would be OK.
Your Pet Guards Their Door While They Sleep
It honestly doesn't matter where your baby sleeps. If your pet is standing guard anywhere near the vicinity, it means they've claimed the baby as family and they'll protect them if necessary.
Your Pet Seeks Out Baby's Items
There are dogs who find pacifiers to suck on, and cats who claim baby bottles and those toy sets of keys. Mine would look for my daughter's blanket to lay on, or take her toys specifically to play with or hide. It could've been vindictive, sure, or it could've been a sign that they've decided the baby (and baby's things) isn't so bad after all.
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