Few Basic Solutions

Newborn coming soon?

A Birth in a Family of Cat Owners

Numerous studies* attest to the physiological and psychological benefits of living with a cat from the very first days after birth. In addition to decreasing the risk of allergies, a feline presence at home fosters an increased emotional maturity. That is why your cat will be a very positive influence in your newborn’s life. However, it is quite important to prepare Kitty for the baby’s birth.

 

Baby’s Room

Several weeks before the baby’s birth, it is important to allow the animal to explore the baby’s room to his content. If you forbid him access, he will be all the more eager to explore it after your baby arrives and the situation might get harder for you to control. When exploring the room, your cat will rub against the furniture to mark it, which is a totally normal feline behavior. Let him do as he pleases. Once his marking is over, the baby’s room will become a room like any other in the house, and your cat will no longer pay it so much attention.

 

Baby Is Born!

Congratulations! Your family just got bigger. While the new mother and the newborn are in the hospital, the father or a trusted friend should ideally take home a blanket in which the baby has been wrapped, so that it retains his odor. Ask this person to rub the blanket at the base of doorframes, on chair legs and against the corner of the walls, where your cat usually rubs himself. This way, your cat will have a chance to get used to the baby’s odor that has been introduced in the house. Additionally, putting a treat in each place where the odor has been introduced will help your cat making a positive association with this odor. This simple technique will help your cat accept your baby’s odor even before the baby’s arrival at home.

 

Baby Is Home

As soon as your child is comfortably settled home, offer your cat a delicious meal (tuna, canned food or his favorite treats). Your cat will instantly make a positive association with the arrival of your newborn and will probably accept it more quickly.

Your baby and his room, since they will quickly become the household’s center of attention, will prompt your cat’s curiosity. He will also feel stressed by new sounds and new smells: his routine is disrupted by these changes and novelties. Allow him to come in the baby’s room so he can explore it anew. Thus, seeing that there are no dangers, his anxiety will drop on its own. Your cat will observe the new routine that develops around your child and he will adapt accordingly. Once he has adjusted, he will get back to his usual habits.

 

Baby’s Crib

Is your cat attracted to your baby’s crib and does he try to climb in it? Well, it is simply because the crib is a warm and comfortable place, and because it is an attention center.

To dissuade your cat from climbing in it, make it an unpleasant experience. For instance, when the child is not in the room, place an aluminum foil on the mattress and leave the door ajar behind you. When your cat jumps on the bed, he will dislike the noise and the feel of the aluminum foil beneath his paws. Please note that it sometimes take up to 14 days for a cat to change a behavior. Keep the aluminum foil close by and put it on the bed as soon as the child is not in it. Thus, after a few repetitions during the 14 days, your cat will identify this place as unpleasant and will not be tempted to go back there.

 

Raising Baby

It is never too early to teach a child what behavior he should adopt with an animal: we do not pull his tail, we do not put our fingers in his eyes or ears, and we do not cuddle him against his will. We should always pet him delicately and if Kitty wishes to leave, we let him be. If the child aggresses the cat, the cat will try to flee. If we hinder him, he will have to defend himself first to flee afterwards. Studies have shown that young children who learn to treat animal with respect become more respectful adults. In addition, mutual respect will foster a healthy relationship between the child and the animal.

Your cat aggresses your child without being provoked? Contact a Cat Educator: it is very probably a predating behavior that can be corrected.

 

The Importance of Routine

As much as possible, try to adopt towards your cat the attitude you had before the baby. Do not try to compensate your cat’s attention loss. After all, you do not have as much time as before to care for him, and this is normal. It is much more important to get him used to your new daily habits as soon as possible than to try to compensate by acting in ways that will only be temporary anyway.

 

Kitty Tells Me He Is Upset by Baby’s Arrival by Urinating Out of the Litter Box

Although this is rare, some cats suffer from severe anxiety after a baby’s birth; they may react by urinating outside of the litter box. This is not jealousy, and the cat does not act like this because he does not like the baby: he is simply anxious because of the sudden changes brought about in the daily routine of the household. Some cats have more difficulty than others to adapt to an important change in their routine. If this is the case, do not hesitate to contact Cat Educator, for solutions exist to fix such a problem.

Cat Educator, Feline Behavior Specialists

(514) 647-2428

 

 * On the physiological benefits (allergies)

Journal de l'Association médicale américaine du 28 août 2002 (étude supportée par l'Institut national des allergies et maladies Infectieuses (NIAID) et l'Institut national des sciences de la santé et de l'environnement (NIEHS))

JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE Volume 88 December 1995; Companion animals and human health: an overview by Andrew T B Edney BA BVetMed MRCVS

Ownby DR. Exposure to dogs and cats in the first year of life and risk of allergic sensitization at 6 to 7 years of age. JAMA - 28-Aug-2002; 288(8): 963-72

Rost HP. Role of current and childhood exposure to cat and atopic sensitization. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology - 01-Nov-1999; 104(5): 941-7

**On the psychological benefits

JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE Volume 88 December 1995; Companion animals and human health: an overview by Andrew T B Edney BA BVetMed MRCVS

Guttmann G, Predovic M, Zemanek M. The influence of pet ownershipon non-verbal communication and social competence in children. In: Kukacka P, ed. Proceedings of International Symposium on Human-Pet Relationships. Vienna: IEMT, 1985:58-63

Nagengast SL, Baun MM, Megel M, Leibowitz JM (1997). The effects of the presence of a companion animal on physiological arousal and behavioral distress in children during a physical examination. J Pediatr Nurs. Dec;12(6):323-30

Filiatre JC, Millot JL, Montagner H. New findings on the communication behaviour between the young child and his pet .In: Kukacka P, ed. Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Human-Pet Relationship. Vienna: IEMT, 1985:50-7

Lamb, L; Dziegielewski, S; Leon, A. Pet-human bonding: Results of a survey on health and well-being. The Social Work Student. 1998;

L'enfant et l'animal, Revue trimestrielle Enfances & Psy n°35, Editions Eres, 2007

Be informed of our next training sessions