Introducing a cat to a baby
By Anita Kelsey – Certified animal behaviourist
Many cats do not like the boisterous energy of young children and some would choose, rather, to find somewhere quieter away from the noise. This is especially true of kittens who have not been socialised in a household that had children residing. Children do not understand how they would be perceived by cats who are nervous or not used to them. They rush up to cats excitedly to stroke them with hands reached out to the cats face or body. Imagine how we would feel with a person putting their hands in our face or invading our body space. Our reaction would be to tense up and become annoyed.
Children may pull a cat’s tail or pat a cat’s body too hard. All of these movements would make an already timid cat frightened and more wary of children. Even a confident cat may want to get away as quickly as possible. A cat may react by hiding, hissing or worst still, injuring the child from a scratch or bite.
A child would not pick up on several of the subtle warning signs such as tail flicking, hair raised on the cats back, cat trying to hide with ears flat or eyes dilated. They may also not understand when a cat gives a warning hiss or bat of the paw with claws in neutral position which is telling the child that they wish to be left alone. A child who continues to bother a cat may receive receive a more serious telling off by way of a protracted claw or bite.
What can parents do to ensure both cat and children can reside happily together?
It’s important parents explain to their children how a cat likes to be approached and that’s on their level, so low down if the cat is on the floor, quiet and not too close, use the cat’s favourite treats if it approaches the child or the child can toss the treats over to where the cat is without approaching it. Fishing rod toys are great because it allows the child to play with the cat at a distance. Another very important step to take is lots of high up vertical spaces so the cat has a place to escape from children’s probing hands. Entry and exit points are crucial to allow a cat to get up high or run out of a cat flap (If free roaming). Children must be taught to respect an animal and the space they require.
Introducing a cat to a baby does not need to be stressful.
What can parents do to ensure both cat and new born baby can reside happily together?
If a baby is expected it would be a good idea to expose the cat to short bursts of a recording of a baby crying or even a visual toy baby that can be programmed to cry. These toy babies are given to some mothers as a trial run. Short bursts of this new sound coupled with tasty treats should get the cat used to the sound it will soon be hearing alot of. Never leave a cat alone in a room with a baby.
CAT BEHAVIOURIST CONSULTATION
If you have found yourself on this page and are a cat guardian, with a few cat issues to iron out, or you need expert advice and help with introducing a cat to a baby then you have come to the right website.
Why book a cat behaviour consultation with Anita Kelsey:
- Anita Kelsey has been studying cats for years and is fully accredited
- Currently in her second year at university reading for a BA in Cat Psychology
- Vet recommended and referred
- Full member of the Canine and Feline Behaviour Association
- Friendly and approachable
- Impeccable client references
- Support always given.
- Easy to talk to and contact
- Based in Notting Hill, London but will travel anywhere in the UK
- International clients welcome
- Full public liability insurance
- Emails answered within 24 hours and cat behaviour consultations always treated as an emergency and appointments given straight away
- Day, evening or week-end appointments available
- Anita is a natural animal communicator
- Specialised cat groomer. Behaviour consultations connected to grooming available
- Anita’s living and breathing passion is cats and she understands their behaviours and patterns more than anyone
PLEASE CONTACT ANITA, LONDON’S LEADING CAT BEHAVIOUR EXPERT, WITH A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENT CAT RELATED ISSUE AND YOU BE GUIDED AS TO THE NEXT STEPS TO TAKE.