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.. A new born baby arrives

 

 

The impending arrival of a baby in any home, is both an exciting & an anxious time in peoples lives.

Those anxieties often take their toll on the lowest characters in a household hierarchy. Pregnancy is one of the most common reasons given, when cats are handed in to rescue centers for re-homing. Fears that pets are un-hygienic or could harm a baby are very common.

 

Read about how cats are good for children

 

Baby Molly arrived in a quiet household with three cats.

The fortunate thing when a baby is on its way, is that there is plenty of advance notice.

Knowing that rooms would be shut of to the cats in the future (to be sure that a sleeping baby remained asleep) rooms in the house were randomly closed off well in advance (leaving them one core room which would never be inaccessible to them). This familiarised the cats to parts of their territory becoming un-accesable from time to time. At first they were a bit put out, but they soon habituated to the changing situations in their territory.

New noises were a worry, how would the cats cope if the baby screamed & wailed!?

By chance there was a children's noise maker in the house which was supposed to mimic a cats meow. As it happens, the thing sounded more like a baby crying than a cat, & the sound was equally if not more disturbing to ears than the real thing. Occasionally & randomly making noises around the house with the item, the cats soon realised that it was nothing to worry about & before long the noise no longer concerned them. When the real thing arrived, the noises she made were nothing to worry about at all, the shocking sound of the toy randomly sounding had de-sensitised them.

Smells were a worry!

The new baby related paraphernalia that began to accumulate in the lead up to the birth introduced new & exciting smells. The cats were allowed full access to these things, but they weren't really interested & soon carried on about their business. Although they were interested by it at first, the smell she eventually brought with her did not concern the cats in the slightest.

When baby Molly arrived, she was placed separately from the cats in a room. Quite importantly - so they would not be taken by surprise, they had witnessed her entrance into the home. They were curious, she was quiet, so under supervision the cats were allowed to approach the car seat she was brought home in, so they could see what she was. After a nervous sniff, Bunsen our female good natured cat slinked off to think about things for a while. Beaker our hand reared (slightly barmy) young boy was intrigued, he raised a paw to give Molly a testing bat. He soon put it down & casually walked away when we fondly but firmly said his name. (never scold cats & remain calm yourself, anxiety easily spreads to animals & if you are anxious they could perceive that there is a threat posed by any new arrival) Morris, our tough old retired stray was utterly unconcerned & paid very little attention to the baby.

At first the cats (except for Morris) bypassed the baby keeping a wary eye on her as the sped past. They continued for a short time to be wary of her, until they realised she didn't really move & was no threat whatsoever.

That was all the interest the cats have shown besides casually watching or glancing at the baby in the room of the evening. They were not particularly alarmed & should they ever feel any anxiety, they simply take themselves off for some space.

Would the cats sleep in the cot & suffocate the baby!?

This is a common fear for new parents, but certainly in our case it was completely unfounded. The house was quite warm enough & the cats had their own cozy, quiet, bodyheat-reflective vet beds & radiator hammocks. We couldn't think why they might want to sleep on a gurgling wriggling baby, that may scream at any time. Besides that, she is closed in a room ensuring that the cats were out of it (they usually don't want to be trapped in a room anyway) when she was left to sleep in peace. The cat net has not yet been required at all, but they are available for cots etc. to prevent cats from climbing into baby beds. 

Beyond this Molly has remained perfectly healthy, the cats & the baby co-exist perfectly well & are un-bothered by each other.

I don't think much of its stuff.

I don't think much of its stuff.

A toy

A toy "meow" noise maker which sounded more like a baby crying, became a useful de-sensitisation tool

If i sit here i might get some milk too (Morris the tough old (retired) stray)

If i sit here i might get some milk too (Morris the tough old (retired) stray)

you smell funny

you smell funny

Are you going to gurgle all night!?

Are you going to gurgle all night!?

"I remember this!" (Beaker was hand weened)

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