As if you didn't have enough to prepare with a new baby on the way, you've got to keep your original babies in mind too. Yes, I'm referring to your cats. Because in their minds, they are the original babies, the original attention getters, the original apples of your eye. And just like babies, they need to be coddled gently from one reality to the next. Which is why you need to learn how to prepare the cat for your new baby. Like any other pet, cats need to be eased into the new routines that will take place once your new baby arrives. And if you start early, it'll be much easier.
According to the Animal Humane Society (AHS), one of the most important things you can do is keep your cat indoors in the months leading up to your baby being born. According to Mayo Clinic, toxoplasmosis is an infectious disease that is very rare in indoor cats, but is transmitted through infected feces or soil. If you have an outdoor cat, you'll need to consider adapting your cat to the indoors as soon as possible. To be on the safe side, the AHS recommends wearing gloves and a mask when cleaning litter boxes, as well well as while gardening.
Rather than changing your cat's environment overnight, the Blue Cross recommends changing your cat's environment gradually. Put your nursery together in small stages to allow your cat to adjust, since cats rely on consistency in their every day lives. Small changes that may not seem like a big deal to you, can cause considerable stress for your cat. When you've finished the changes around the house, the Blue Cross recommends you play with your cat in the spaces he or she will be allowed to help build positive feelings about them.
Though you may let your cat into some of the spaces you're preparing for your baby, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends keeping your cat out of the baby's crib and sleeping area, so that they know that area is off limits. You will however want to prepare your cat for baby sounds and smells. The Blue Cross recommends doing this by using lotions, powders, and other things that will be used when your baby arrives before the arrival of your baby, and even using them on your skin, to mingle them together with a smell (your smell) that your cat already associates with safety.
As for the noise, introducing your cat to the sounds of a baby crying will help them prepare for the baby's arrival. Purchase a recording, or make a recording of a friend's baby crying, and then start the sound at a low volume. Gradually increase the volume of the recording as your cat becomes more comfortable and familiar with the noise. According to the AHS, it's also a good idea to get your cat used to the sounds of mobiles, toys, and more, in the months leading up to your new arrival.
Last, but certainly not least, when your baby arrives, be sure to supervise all baby and cat interactions. No matter how young the baby, or how gentle the cat, according to the Blue Cross, too many things can go wrong when you're out of sight, and both parties have the potential of getting hurt. By preparing your cat ahead of your baby's arrival, you'll be creating a safer and more welcoming environment for both your baby, and your cat.