How to Help your Baby and Cat Settle – Things That Worked for Us
Before we had the little man I was super into cats. I grew up with cats, loads of cats and I knew I wanted my own. Mr d and I have four cats so we knew we’d have to make a few adjustments when bubba came along. Back in 2007, I worked voluntarily for a local cattery and I saw so many cats come in purely because people had had a baby. They couldn’t cope or the cat was stressed – there seemed to be lots of reasons why people made the decision to rehome their pet. For me it was very black and white – I’d never consider rehoming any of my four cats. They are like family to me. They are my babies. A baby wasn’t going to come along and change that.
In reality though a baby comes along and things DO change. The dynamics of the house hold changed and my priorities changed. If I’m honest, sometimes I have felt like rehoming all my cats. They can be a bloody nightmare and they add a level of stress which, quite frankly, when you are a new mum, you do not need.
I never forget one weekend when b was only a few weeks old and I came downstairs and Daphne had done a poo on the carpet lounge. The smell was horrific and I just couldn’t deal with it. B and I retreated back upstairs to the guest room and hung out there until mr d got up around midday. Mr d wasn’t being lazy I must add – we’d just agreed he’d do some of the night shifts and I’d get up earlier with b.
Poop and Wee Woes
I also never forget the autumn that Niles decided to take a dislike to the paddling pool that we’d left floating about in the garden. Unbeknown to us, this meant he no longer wanted to pee outside. No, he was scared of this bloody paddling pool and decided instead, to wee in the corner of the lounge for numerous days/weeks. He ruined the carpet and we had to have it replaced.
I also never forget the moment our older cat Oscar thought it would be acceptable to wee in the pram. Yes, you read that correctly. And I’ve lost count of the number of times Jerry has either sprayed up something or I’ve caught him humping a soft toy. And before you ask, YES, he has been neutered. We’ve spoken to the vet, we’ve tried hormone suppressants to subdue his urges – but alas, he’s taken a shine to Iggle Piggle
So in short, yes, I can see why people get to the point where enough is enough and they cant take any more crap from their cats. But I just didn’t want to give up on them. They’ve been a part of our lives for so long and I knew life would not be fun in a rehoming centre.
And My Advice….
So what advice can I offer here…hmm not an awful lot to be honest because they have had me so close to breaking point but I’ll give it a go:
Number one – move house. Haha I’m joking. Well I’m kinda not to be honest. We used to live in a town house and the back room was our living room, dining room, toy room and cat room. It was too much. I wanted a house with a kitchen that backed on to the garden. We found our forever home here. Ok ok I know, moving house isn’t always the option ey and the cats weren’t the only reason we moved. Note, I did try writing all four into the sales contract but the buyers were having none of it. Ok so back to my realistic tips…
Be organised. If you know your cat likes peeing on soft stuff, don’t leave those newly washed baby clothes on the sofa Be organised.. It goes without saying but it is best to mitigate against these incidents and not leave things lying around that you don’t want destroyed.
Do some preplanning. If you can pop things like the baby car seat and pram in a cupboard or out of the way then do so. We had a good clear out before b was born and would put anything of high value away each evening.
Accept that things might be tough. Having a baby is tough, without throwing cats in to the mix. I knew there would be this extra layer of faff involved. I just didn’t appreciate to what extent haha!
Give your cat some space. It takes time for cats to adjust to this level of change. Let them sleep in their favourite place and just let them have some time out.
Routines aren’t just for babies! Don’t forget to try and keep the cats in their regular routine. So feeding and cleaning litter if they don’t go out. I know it sounds silly but little changes like this can wreak havoc for cats. They like their routine!
Start baby/cat planning early! Initiate any changes that you want to put in place as early as possible. Before b, all four cats would sleep in our room and on our bed. Wtf?! Honestly, I can’t imagine how we ever slept. Before b was born, we decided it would be a good idea (do ya think???!) to get them used to the idea that they’d be sleeping downstairs from now on. We started this process very early on and thankfully they all got on with it easily.
Introduce them slowly. It sounds silly but we popped the baby carrier on the floor when we got in from the hospital and let them all have a good sniff. They soon got used to the new little man around 🙂
Keep an eye on things. It goes without saying but as much as I trust my cats (which is not at all), I never left b alone in the lounge for more than a few seconds while I grabbed something out the kitchen. I just couldn’t trust that a cat wouldn’t jump on him and make themselves comfy across his whole face. If I knew I’d be in the other room for a few minutes, I’d take b with me or make sure the cats were locked out of the lounge.
And if all else fails, just try and go with it, remember it isn’t forever and soon your cats and bubba will be best friends forever: )