Ask the expert…Sep-Oct 2014
Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.
Q: We adopted our cat three years back. She is mixed, she is very vocal & expressive and vaccinated. We are expecting our baby in January. Do let us know how to keep baby and cat harmoniously together.
Dr KG Umesh: It is not uncommon for cats to feel jealous or anxious about arrival of new family member. Before the baby arrives, expose your cat to
baby stuff such as strollers, cradle and noisy toys. In addition to your baby, your cat will need to become familiar and comfortable with many other changes. For example, cats may see things that roll or move as play and may try to stroke or bite. In some situations, interactions work better if they are initiated by the cat rather than the toddler, but constant supervision is always necessary to prevent problems. When the baby first arrives home, try to have another person hold the baby so that the pet parents can greet the pet. Introductions should not begin until everything has calmed down.
Find a time when you are not busy with the baby and can devote all your attention to your cat, before introducing her to the baby. The chance of pet parents or baby acquiring zoonotic disease can be reduced with routine veterinary preventive health care of cats (regular check-ups, vaccination and deworming). Specific preventive guidelines include common sense measures, such as adequate hand washing, and appropriate disposal of cat’s hair, discharge and litter. The benefits of pet parenting outweigh potential infectious disease risks and increased communication between pet parents and veterinarians can improve treatment and prevention of zoonotic disease.