Post # 1
I need some help. My furbaby is going crazy over baby lately. My cat “Kitty” is almost 6 years old. She’s never been a friendly cat to anyone other than myself and my husband (she’s been the sweetest cat to us though, loves her cuddles!!). She tolerates my family 80% of the time with occassional hissing, the other 20% she’ll start to swat and lunge so we have to put her in the bedroom where she instantly calms down. Our vet thinks that she is simply very protective of us and about 2 years ago suggested we could try kitty prozac if we wanted to alter her behavior but that seemed excessive so we opted against it. Now the issue is with our 4 month old.
We were concerned how Kitty would react prior to baby being born but felt we had some good tools provided by the vet to use to help her accept the new baby. She surprised us both by not having any interest in the baby, she just ignored her which we took as a win. Fast forward to a few weeks ago and that’s all changing. The first thing that changed was I could no longer breastfeed without having Kitty run over and start hissing and swatting, we solved this one by me always nursing in the bedroom with the door closed. We also began noticing that if we were holding baby, Kitty would do her best to try and also lay on whoever was holding her. That was fine in the beginning but now she trys to nudge her way on top of the baby and if we gently try to reposition her or push her off she freaks out and will start hissing/scratching. That ones been tricky.
The newest issue that’s only happened once but is the scariest is we had baby on her play mat. I was sitting down near her but not hovering. Kitty went from a sound sleep to immediately awake and sprinted toward baby girl like she was going to attack her, hair sticking up howling and everything. I was able to quickly react and scoop up baby before anything happened but then Kitty started swatting and scratching at my feet. I had to retreat to the bedroom.
We always used to sleep with Kitty too but we’ve had to start keeping our bedroom door closed because we have the pack and play next to our bed where baby sleeps. Last night DH ended up sleeping on the couch with Kitty because she kept hurling herself at our bedroom door and we were afraid she would hurt herself.
The only thing our vet could offer was to try the medication or designating a space for her. I already feel terrible anytime we have to “lock her up”. She wants to be near us 100% of the time, our plan had been to keep our lower level baby free and that would be Kitty’s area if there were issues, but since we didn’t have a problem in the beginning we didn’t do that and instead have kept our smaller 2nd bedroom for her, but keeping her there seems cruel. I will hate to have to always keep them apart, they don’t need to be friends, we just need Kitty to tolerate her again. Does anyone have any other suggestions, tips, experiences with this?
Post # 2
Don’t remove the baby from the situation remove the cat. By removing the baby you are essentially rewarding the cats behaviour and giving the cat what it wants- baby gone. By removing the cat- to the 2nd bedroom- and leaving it alone you will teach the cat that its behaviour was not to your liking and the cat will hopefully adjust its behaviour.
Post # 3
🙁 i’m sorry youre going through this. i feel for you, believe me. my cat’s 14 years old and i hope by the time FI and I start having kids after we are married she will no longer be with us due to natural causes. she hated having my other cat and was constantly attacking him, but once he passed away she was back to being her sweet old self.
i agree with the PP, as much as we love our cats, our children must always come first. with this situation, i think you need to let your cat stay in the 2nd bedroom too and leave it alone. do not come when he howls or meows for you and let him build the independence. 6 years is still fairly young and if you want to live in peace with both cat and baby, you need to set up some rules.
Post # 4
That actually seems pretty logical, I just HATE feeling like I am punishing her like that but I’m willing to try it 🙁
Post # 5
- Wedding: April 2012 - Chateau Briand
cora_123: I haven’t dealt with this issue but i just wanted to comment on what you said “I just HATE feeling like I am punishing her like that“- but the thing is you ARE punishing her and you kinda have to. She has to understand her behavior will not be accepted and baby is here to stay.
Post # 6
This might not be a favorable option but get a spray bottle and fill it with 1/2 water and 1/2 white vinegar. When she does something “bad” spritz her with it. She’ll eventually learn that if she behaves badly, she’ll get sprayed. It should fix the behavior. Btw, cats hate vinegar and it’s more effective than just plain water but you can try just using water first. Please don’t remove the baby or yourself from the situation (i.e. going to the bedroom to breastfeed), you shouldn’t have to revolve your life around a moody cat lol
Post # 7
j_jaye: +1 This time a million. I know you hate punishing her, but she has to, or she will think she rules the house.
Post # 8
Guys, no. Just no. Cats don’t think logically like humans. She is not going to be able to associate being relegated to the bedroom to her “naughty” behavior. You can’t punish cats like that.
This is what the cat knows. The baby came into the family. This tiny creature is noisy, smelly, and takes up all the attention that used to be the cat’s. She used to be able to sleep in the bed at night…now the door is shut to her. She used to be able to sit on your lap and snuggle…now the baby is there every time she tries. <br /><br />Now you are thinking about locking her in a bedroom alone until she changes her behavior. But she cannot make the connection between being locked in a room and her behavior, so good luck on that solving the problem. Honestly, rehoming her would be less cruel.
Spraying her with a water bottle is only going to scare her, tick her off, or build more negative associations with her and the baby. You want to make sure their interactions are supervised and positive. Make sure she is getting plenty of one-on-one attention and play time. Treats or toys that only come out when baby is around are another easy way to build positive associations with this strange new creature that has invaded your home.<br /><br />Start watching “My Cat From Hell” episodes and learn about how cats actually think, learn, and behave. There are actually several episodes that deal with preparing a home for a baby, and helping babies/toddlers/children get along with kitties, including kitties who seemed to “hate” or be aggressive towards the baby at first. <br /><br />If need be, bring a cat behaviorist into the home. Vets are great, but most of them don’t have experience with behavior modification, especially in regards to felines.<br /><br /><br />
Post # 9
I agree with PP that giving the cat treats when the baby is nearby is a good idea. Soon the cat will associate the baby with happy thoughts since she gets treats when by the baby. Have you or your husband hold the baby while the other pets and cuddles the cat nearby. Cats hate change and eventually she will adjust to having the baby. Just make sure the cat has happy experiences being near the baby so she won’t act out so much. My Cat From Hell is a great show for learning cat behavior techniques. I used some of them on unfriendly cats at the animal shelter and they turned into cuddley lap cats! It does take time though. Get her some new cat toys and play with her often so she gets attention and tired out. I don’t know much about babies with cats but I do love cats and I hope it all works out for you!
Post # 10
I just wanted to chime in and say that one of my cats was on kitty prozac for about a year due to extreme anxiety that manifested in aggressive behavior. Don’t rule out the kitty prozac! It definitely helped, and she was able to be weaned off of it and her behavior has changed dramatically even now that she’s off the pills. Please consider giving it a try before your baby is mobile. The cat has experienced a major upheaval in its life that it can’t comprehend, so offering some chemical stress relief is really not the worst thing.
Post # 11
OMG NO TO ALL THE PEOPLE TELLING YOU TO LOCK THE CAT IN A SPARE BEDROOM THAT WILL ONLY MAKE IT WORSE DO NOT DO THIS.
Miss Apricot: YES. I was going to suggest watching the episode of My Cat from Hell with the baby!
Punishing the cat for being a cat will only make the problem worse. Seriously. Watch My Cat from Hell, it is the BEST. My non-cat-loving fiance is a crazy cat man now that he knows how cats work, all thanks to this show.
Post # 12
I agree with stephncollins. Punishing the cat is not the way to go, it’ll only make things worse. They are not like human children, where you can just put them in “time-out.” This will only add to the negative feelings about the baby. Try leaving baby’s scented things near kitty’s favorite places. Also, like someone else already suggested, giving treats around the baby is also a good idea.
Post # 13
I love our dog to death but she would be in a new home if she was endangering our baby. I don think removing the baby from the situation nor locking the cat away in a room alone are the answers.
I would consult an obedience trainer with experience to come in and work with your cat.
Post # 14
Have you tried Feliway? One of our kitties deals with a lot of anxiety and is very shy, and we use it when we go on vacation, move or when we’ve introduced a new animal into our household. It helps her take the edge off.
I would also try a lot of positive reinforcement, the baby = lots of delicious, wonderful things. Baby gets a new diaper? Kitty gets a cookie! Baby needs a snuggle? Kitty gets cookies and pets! Baby is feeling cranky and crying? Oh look, cookies are raining from baby’s feet!
Once she’s settled down a bit, feeling more positive about baby and isn’t acting out (ie no longer hissing or swatting at baby), you can make room for her in your baby related activities. Snuggle her on the couch next to you when you’re nursing (oh look, more cookies and snuggles for kitty!). Baby is doing tummy time? Take some time to play with Kitty. Eventually, the baby should represent all things positive for Kitty – cookies, snuggles, meals.