Last Updated: 2 months ago
Do cats know babies are babies? Or does she just assume that all humans are the same?
Sometimes you may wonder if cats know the difference between adult humans and baby humans. Well, the overwhelming response is a resounding Yes, they do know the difference!
Some testing proves that when introducing the family cat to a new member of the family, the bond can become instantaneous.
It is similar to raising a puppy with a child, and they grow up together with a bond that is strong enough for a lifetime.
Do Cats Know Babies Are Babies?
Cats, equipped with heightened senses, can recognize babies through scent, sounds, and visual cues.
Their acute olfactory system detects unique baby odors, and they may respond positively, associating the scent with a member of their human family.
Cats may recognize the distinct cries and movements of babies, further solidifying their ability to distinguish them from adults.
How Do Cats Feel About Babies?
Cats’ feelings towards babies vary.
Some cats display curiosity, approaching gently to investigate, while others may exhibit caution or anxiety.
The individual cat’s personality, experiences, and the introduction process contribute to their reactions.
Positive associations, gradual introductions, and creating a calm environment enhance the likelihood of a cat feeling comfortable and accepting of a new baby.
How Do Cats React to Newborn Babies?
Cats typically react to newborns with a spectrum of behaviors.
They might show curiosity by staying nearby or observing from a distance. Some cats may display protective instincts, keeping a watchful eye over the baby.
It’s crucial to monitor their reactions, ensure a gradual introduction, and provide positive reinforcement.
Creating a secure space for the cat allows them to adjust to the new addition at their own pace.
Are Cats Safe For Babies?
With proper supervision and introductions, cats can coexist safely with babies.
However, precautions are essential. Maintain a watchful eye during interactions, ensuring the cat has an escape route if needed.
Keep the baby’s sleeping area off-limits to the cat, and provide safe spaces for both.
Regular veterinary check-ups for the cat and maintaining hygiene practices contribute to a harmonious and safe environment for both cats and babies.
How to Help Your Cat Bond with Your Baby
Myth versus reality: Your cat isn’t trying to steal your baby’s breath!
There are many myths that we’ve heard about cats and babies, and most are untrue, just old wives’ tales, because the cat was and is still considered evil in many cultures.
For instance, the myth about a cat stealing a baby’s breath because of the milk smell is untrue. Cats do like to seek warmth and comfort, so cuddling next to a baby is not unusual, but stealing their breath is.
A precaution that many experts advise cat owners to abide by is to not let their kitty sleep in the same room as their baby because of suffocation possibilities.
The reason for this is that a new baby cannot turn over and does not know to turn their face away from an object that may be inhibiting their breathing; thus, suffocation can occur.
How to Introduce Kitty to a Baby
As with any living creature, all cats are not created equal. They have different personalities, attitudes, skills, and more.
The best way to introduce your cat to the newest member of your family is to do so slowly and carefully.
Let your kitty sniff the new baby; he or she may want to cuddle right then and there, or they may walk away and want nothing to do with the baby.
They will know that the little bundle of joy you’re holding is a baby, or, in their eyes, a small human.
Chances are that their protective instinct will kick in, and they will watch you and others with the baby, making sure that no one is hurting ‘their little human.’
Safe sleeping arrangements for all. Your kitty will most likely want to sleep in the baby’s room, but as mentioned before, it is not advisable when they are that young.
But letting your kitty see the baby when you put him or her to bed at night will show your cat that all is well with their little human.
How you stop your cat from entering the baby’s nursery is up to you, but letting them sleep outside the door of the nursery will cause no harm.
At least they can feel like they are protecting what’s inside. Cats are known to be very territorial yet very adaptable.
Most cats will adapt well to the changes that are happening to their human family, and protecting their human family and their territory will be their first priority.
The fascinating bond between cats and babies reveals a delicate interplay of instincts and emotions.
While science affirms that cats can indeed recognize babies, individual reactions vary.
Nurturing positive associations, gradual introductions, and vigilant supervision form the cornerstone of a harmonious relationship.
The dynamic between cats and babies unfolds as a unique journey where patience, understanding, and careful integration pave the way for a loving and safe coexistence.
What do you think do cats know babies are babies? Do you have a new baby with a cat in the family and want to share your stories? Let us know in the comments below!
Dr. Linda Simon MVB MRCVS is a locum veterinary surgeon who has worked in London for the past 8 years. She graduated top of her class in small animal medicine from UCD, Dublin. She is currently a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Linda is the resident vet for Woman magazine and a frequent contributor to People’s Friend Magazine, the Dogzone website, Vet Help Direct and Wag! Linda also writes content for the CVS veterinary group, Vetwriter and a number of other establishments.