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I'm pregnant, how are my kitties gonna take the change?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have 2 beautiful 5 year old kitties, Bonita and Cleopatra. They're my babies and I totally adore them. They both have different personalities and deal with people in different ways. Bonita is a tabby, very friendly, she likes to be around people and she's very playful. Cleopatra is a Norwegian forest cat, she's the sweetest kitty ever but only when it comes to me. She doesn't like anyone but me. She will tolerate some people but I'm the only person she trusts. She will let me do anything to her, brush her, give her baths, clip her claws but she won't let anybody else go anywhere near her. When people come over she hides and gets mad.

I'm pregnant and I wonder how my kitties will take the new change. I love my kitties and there's no way I could get rid of them. I basically can't live without them. They're like my babies. I want them to get along with the baby and love the baby. But how can I do that? They don't like children, whenever my nieces come over they get mad. Kids are too loud and they get stressed out. I wonder if having my own baby will be different. I know my kitties can sense some stuff. My parents came to visit for a week a few months ago and my kitties were totally friendly. It's like they knew they were my parents. It was funny, somehow they knew they were family. I hope the same happens with the baby.

I wanna make sure my kitties will be ok with the baby. I know Cleopatra is gonna have a harder time, Bonita is more easy going. But Cleopatra only loves her mommy and that's it. I don't want my kitties to feel left out or feel like they have competition.

Any advice you can give me?
post #2 of 7
I think you should just wait and see - growing up with an infant to toddler, to child is different then meeting kids that come in yelling and screaming right away.

Besides YOU teach your baby how to be quiet around the cats, gentle in petting, no poking, ear/tail pulling etc. I raised rex cats/kittens during the time I was pregnant and after my son was born. He went to his 1st cat show at 13 days old! He grew up around the cats and learned how to be gentle, etc.

So its up to you how your child treats the cats growing up. Also, I'd get baby powder, shampoo, lotion and use that so the cats get used to the "baby" scents.

When the baby is born you should bring a small blanket home that has the baby's scent on it and leave it for the cats to check out.

One VERY important thing - when you come in the house, you greet the cats first - not 2nd - they were there first and no matter how cute the baby is, they will be more accepting if acknowledged first in the house. You might mention that to visitors too - let them say hello and pet the kittys first before holding the baby.
post #3 of 7
First of all-Congratulations on your pregnancy! I too am pregnant and I am due June 1st. I have 8 kitties, and I too had the same concerns. I have just made sure that everything that we bring home for the baby they are allowed to sniff out and make sure they are ok with it. I have also had our friends bring over their 6 month old little guy and let the kitties hear and see what a little one can do and smell like. All 8 are still a little scared of the whole baby idea but are getting better as time goes on. I think as long as you make sure that you have time for them they will not get their feeling hurt and I think that their intuition tells them what is ok and not ok depending on our attitude towards a situation. They will know that this is a new part of the family and it may take some time but eventually all will be able to live under one roof happily and who knows your baby may have 2 of the best friends a kid could ever ask for in the end!
post #4 of 7

I had a reply all typed out. Answered phone (vet to check on one of my cats) and in that few moment my almost 2 yr old did SOMETHING to the laptop and it was gone. That is your future!

Let me try to recap....(congrats btw!)

I had 2 babies in 2 yrs. I know your anxieties well. My multi cat household rules the roost (or so we let them think).

The goal is to get your cats to view your baby as a housemate, not a threat.

When we set up the nursery, we let the cats have free roam to explore. The became familiar with new smells and they had first 'dibs' on the room, putting their stamp of kitty approval in/on it, so to speak.

When I was still in hospital, daddy brought home an item of baby clothing (or blankie) for cats to sniff. Left it on living room floor.

When we came home, before baby came in, I came in and greeted cats, let them sniff me, and treats were handed out. THEN we brought baby in, asleep in carrier, placed on floor, and 'casually' let cats approach and sniff to their hearts content. You dont' want to HOVER but you want to seem cavalier (with one eye on the scene). More treats !

New sounds of a baby crying (and screaming!) is startling to pets. Make sure your cats have a safe haven to retreat to. This becomes increasingly important as your babies begin to crawl/walk. Cat trees or any vertical space is a blessing to cats when kids are in the house! Even if it's just a nook in your bedroom--just somewhere they can 'get away from it all'.

You will be tired and short on time until things get into a better routine (the first few months with a new baby are just....CA-RAY-ZEE). But it's vital that pets have the same routine (feeding times, litter maintanence, etc..). You wont' be able to cuddle your cats at the drop of a dime anymore...but try to find islolated moment to do so, even if it's brief. WHen baby is in the room, give EXTRA attention to your cats. Even if you are just talking to the cat, petting them to the side, giving treats while baby is in room so they associate good things with baby.

If you sleep with your baby, even some of the time as we did--never suddenly banish your cats from a space. My cats had the same free roaming privileges as always. I was more careful as far as monitoring, but in order for your cats to view baby as a housemate and not a threat, you can't suddenly take away what feels good to your cat. We all slept together many many times.

Myth-- cats seek to suffocate infants
Fact-- cats seek warmest places to cuddle

HENCE--the head area of a snuggled newborn baby. So never let your cats around a sleeping baby when you are not present. The only time the baby's room was closed was during the night. In fact, I started that routine long before baby came home (shut door at night) so it wasn't a sudden 'hey why cant we go in there at night?' had to remember to CLICK the door otherwise my 'human' cat opened it, and went to sleep on the rocking chair. She HATES closed doors (another reason I worked on keeping the door shut at night BEFORE baby arrived). Had to work on that one.

After 6 months I had the door open all day including nap time. (never at night to this day) just because the kids need the quiet (FROM us as well)... and my cats will invariably knock things over and whatot.

It's all very similar to when you introduce a new pet. Our cats dont' know this is our HUMAN baby--to them it's new smells and competition for attention and food. You have to think like them

It's an awesome experience to watch your non furbabies and furbabies grow together and learn about each other. It takes patience and some creativity (more with the NON fur babies hahah!) but it will work out.

I remember one of the sweetest things with my son---Roo, one of my boy cats, would perch on the back of the couch so he could 'watch over' my son sleeping in the pack n play during the day. That was a new spot for Roo to rest and it seemed he was just wanting to be close to the baby.

And when thebaby would cry, it was Roo who came to me, as if to say "BABY CRY!".

I am starting to ramble but if you have anything specific to ask or are wondering about, let me know
post #5 of 7
I couldn't have said it any better. I had a very clingy Siamese when I got pregnant and everyone told me I would have to get rid of her because she was so much my cat only. Well, when I breastfed our daughter my Siamese would be curled up on my lap or right beside me and I'd be loving her and talking to her so she never felt she was left out. She tolerated behaviour from our daughter that she would never tolerate from anyone but me and our daughter's first word was the cat's name. So enjoy your kitties and your soon-to-be new baby. Congratulations and just relax.
post #6 of 7
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
I had a very clingy Siamese when I got pregnant and everyone told me I would have to get rid of her because she was so much my cat only. .
I forgot to mention (in my novella) that one of my 5 cats is pathologically attached to me. I truly believes he thinks I birthed him. I was especially worried about him.

He still remains the least pleased with the kids, but will just stay out of their way if he chooses. Sometimes he hangs out as a group and that is a huge thing for him My 2 toddlers have learned that "Grayboy and TT are *shy* so we don't bother them"

I also noted my moody female calico 'warns' the kids if she is annoyed with them (she wont' just move like the others, heh). So the kids have learned what 'warnings' mean and they back off.

Worst I have seen? My calico 'batted' the kids with her paw *pads*. No one has ever used a claw. That says a lot to me!
post #7 of 7
My sister just gave birth to a little girl. She's had no trouble with her cats. Cats don't see infants the same way they see children. My own cats who have extraordinarily low opinions of children weren't at all bothered by my niece. They could have lived without the crying but were otherwise unaffected. When a friend brought her one year old over Friday explained in no uncertain terms where he could go! I suspect that having an opportunity to witness your new baby grow will allow your cats time to make the change and decide kids are ok.
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