Having a cat in the family provides young children with a sense of responsibility early on in life. It's a great way of learning about the importance of routine - and thinking about the needs of others. Children with pets are are also much less likely to develop allergies towards pet fur.
With newborn babies, individual cats respond in a different way, depending upon genetics, personality and experience. To keep stress down to a minimum, ensure your pet’s bed, feeding and water dishes are moved away to a private position away from busy areas. This includes the litter tray as well.
Babies can also affect the profile of your cat's territory, leading to a changes in your cat's mood.
Cats may try to include the new scents by over-marking them, either by rubbing with face gland secretions or, by spraying new baby items such as buggies, high chairs and cots with urine.
Pheromone preparations, which help cats to relax, such as Feliway, are available from vets and can be applied to new items before baby arrives into your life. Rewarding your cat with a tasty nibble can help associate the baby's presence with good things! Sticking to an established routine is important, so try and change things in advance, if at all possible.
Above all, be realistic – if you simply can’t cope with the demands of a cat and a baby together, then it might be wiser to rehome your cat.
Most well-socialised cats love having babies in the house, as it means more visitors and more attention for them as well! But around about the time children start to become independently mobile is whenproblems might occur.
A toddler can, for instance, take a cat by surprise and their chattering and screaming can be distressing. Providing places of retreat, such as boxes, or hodey-holes, is even more important at this stage.
Cats scratch only as a last resort if they are extremely upset and frightened. The close supervision of the child with cats will last until the child is about six years old. At this age kids become much better at remembering, as well as following, the rules.
Young children shouldn't be allowed to try and pick a cat up until they are strong enough to hold the pet properly.
Instruct young children not to chase your cat. Show them how to stroke your cat gently. Toddlers will often rub a cat's head roughly, which they don't usually enjoy.