If your Maine Coon cat or kitten came before your newborn baby, you will wonder how to introduce your cats to a new baby.
There were thirteen new things I found out as I researched how to introduce your Maine Coon cat to a new baby, which I’m sharing with you now.
Give your Maine Coon kitten their own time and pace to get accustomed to the baby’s presence within their environment. Let them become familiar with your baby’s scent, through their sense of smell. When they are ready and comfortable, you can let them sniff the baby whilst you calmly hold the baby in your arms.
Like any member of the household, your Maine Coons will have to adjust to the new scents, new activities, and other changes that come with having a new baby in the family.
Keep reading to discover the easiest way to do this.
After reading this, you can skip the boring research stage and focus straight on preparing for your kitten.
How To Introduce Your Cat To Your Baby
Maine Coons are gentle giants, known for their relaxed, easygoing, and patient manner, especially with children, other cats, and dogs.
So, you do not have to be too worried about having both Maine Coons and babies together in your household.
Maine Coons are also friendly, affectionate, and even adorably goofy, loving to be around people and engaging with them frequently.
However, careful introductions between your Maine Coon cat and baby still matter, to ensure a smooth and easy transition for both your Maine Coon and baby, as well as the rest of the household.
Start the process by remembering that your cat was in your home first, before the baby.
If your cat has not been around infants and children before your newborn baby, they may feel threatened by a new being that smells different, sounds different, and acts differently, appearing in their home.
If not properly prepared, the Maine Coon may switch into stranger-danger mode and hide, or attack by swatting and scratching the scary little new being in their environment.
A new baby may make your cat sad, stressed, and act out in unacceptable ways (source 1).
Introducing Your Baby To Your Maine Coon Cat
Preparing your indoor cat and newborn baby for each other will save everyone a lot of stress and trouble.
Introducing your baby to your Maine Coon cat involves 4 steps:
1. Prepare Your Cat
Months before your infant comes home, prepare your cat as you are decorating the nursery. You can do this by letting them check out the new things you are bringing into the space. This will help your cat not feel left out.
You may find your Maine Coon batting at the baby’s Playmobil or sleeping in the bassinet. Let them do this, then just thoroughly clean the items before the baby comes home.
When you cannot supervise your Maine Coon cat in the new space, shut the door or put up a gate to keep them out.
If you want to discourage your cat from sleeping in the crib, place a carpet protector with the nubby side up on the baby’s mattress.
To prevent your Maine Coon cat from making the changing table her hangout place, place cardboard covered with double-sided tape on the surface, with the adhesive side exposed.
Cats hate prickly and sticky stuff!
Make gradual changes as your cat eases into the new space and stuff.
If you can, record the sound of an infant crying and play it around your Maine Coon cat while you are feeding or stroking them, so they get used to the sound and associates it with pleasant experiences with you.
2. Change Your Routines In Advance.
Weeks before the baby comes home, gradually change your routines with your cat.
If you are the main carer for them, gradually have your partner assist in feeding, so they get used to another carer.
Introduce the new routines that you would likely be having when the baby is home.
Shower your Maine Coon cat with praise whenever they do something to adjust to the new routine.
3. Introduce The Newborn Babies Scent
A couple of weeks or so in advance, begin wearing baby’s talcum powder on your skin and baby lotion on your hands, especially when you pet them, so the Maine Coon gets accustomed to the scents.
Borrow a relative’s or friend’s used baby blanket which still has an infant smell on it, and let your cat sniff it.
Pet your cat with infant socks, and let your baby wear the infant socks when they come home from the hospital, so your cat will identify the baby as part of the family.
4. Include Your Cat While You Are Caring For The Baby
When your baby is home, and your Maine Coon cat draws near to them, talk to your cat lovingly as they sniff your baby out.
Do not be jumpy or nervous!
Your behavior and general energy around your Maine Coon’s coming close to the baby will be what they associate with the baby, so it has to be a good experience for them.
Do Cats Know What Babies Are?
Cats, like other mammals, recognize specific traits known as “juvenile traits” in baby mammals to which they respond instinctively (source 1).
Introducing A Kitten To A Baby
Introducing new Maine Coon kittens to babies is similar to introducing adult cats to babies, except that you have to be more sensitive and gentle in going about it.
You are introducing two babies to each other, so take care to meet each baby’s needs for assurance and comfort as you introduce them.
A specific way how to introduce a kitten to your baby is to do it in a room where your kitten does not normally hang out in. It cannot be a place where your kitten normally eats or sleeps as that is “her territory”.
So, do not threaten her sense of security by introducing your newborn baby to her there (source 1).
How Do Cats React To Newborn Babies?
Maine Coon cats are often very protective of babies and children, probably because of their dog-like pack mentality.
They will instinctively protect a crying baby by surrounding the baby with their huge bodies.
If allowed by the parent, they will try to calm and care for the baby by licking them while purring, or rubbing themselves against the baby (source 1).
The 7 Stages Of Cat Bonding With Newborn Baby
There are 7 stages of cat bonding with a newborn baby which you need to be aware of and prepare for.
When you know this, you can better anticipate and understand the stage where your Maine Coon cat is in and support them in making bonding with your baby a pleasant and positive experience (source 1):
Your Maine Coon cat will exhibit this by hiding when the baby is around, then slowly peeking out to assess the situation.
When you call them, they will hide again.
Gradually, though, as they get accustomed to the baby, they will come out more often and even start approaching your baby, getting nearer each time, sniffing them, and even licking them!
2. Learning To Share
The Maine Coon cat will try to get into your baby’s crib when the baby’s not in it or play with their other stuff, attempting to share space with your newborn baby as if it is their own space.
Do not scold or punish them for this behavior.
Pet her and lovingly speak to her, especially if you need to remove her from the crib.
3. Learning To Tolerate The Tiny Human
This is the stage where your Maine Coon cat gets comfortable being near and sharing the same space with your newborn baby.
They will appear to look bored or “ho-hum”, but it is a welcome sign that they have accepted the baby as part of their home environment.
4. Grooming The Tiny Human
In this stage, not only do they tolerate your baby but they move to take care of them now, as if they were their own, too!
Your Maine Coon will lick the baby to groom her when you offer your baby to them, or even when you are not watching!
5. Trust Napping
Your Maine Coon cat gets comfortable napping with your baby side by side.
When your baby wakes up first and starts kicking around, they do not mind it when they get gently hit by your baby’s movements.
They have not only accepted your baby but have developed trust in them.
6. Separation Anxiety
This is the stage where your Maine Coon cat gets attached to your baby.
They will look for them when your baby is not in sight, and will even scratch the door to attempt to get close to your baby when the baby is on the other side of the door in another room.
7. Loving Bond
Stages 4 to 6 combined involve creating a quiet, gentle, and understanding bond between your Maine Coon cat and your baby as if they were siblings, with your cat the older one looking out for your baby the younger one every time.
Bonding Issues Between Cat And Newborn Baby
A cat stressed by a new baby should never be forced to be around the baby.
Instead, give them lots of their own space.
When they have sufficiently calmed down and relaxed, reintroduce them again to the baby in the 4-step process earlier discussed.
Cats also thrive on predictability, so bring back the routines you had with them before the baby arrived.
Mature cats, especially those who have never been around babies and children, or have had negative experiences with them, are especially vulnerable.
Sometimes, you might have to decide to give the cat away to a home or to a family member or friend who can take them in and lovingly care for them.
This does not have to happen, though, if you prepare her for the baby months in advance with the recommended steps in this article.
Are Cats A Danger To Babies?
Cats killing baby statistics are hard to find even on the internet.
A National Library of Medicine journal article reports on a previously healthy 5-week-old baby who was found suffocating from a cat lying on her face.
She was promptly revived by her doctor-father but developed many other complications and died 8 months later.
However, the report itself only goes as far as to state that the baby may have been smothered by the cat. It also acknowledges that it only found one other case of a baby smothered by a cat in the standard textbooks of pediatrics and forensic medicine (source 1).
The issue of cats and newborn babies’ danger may have to do more with leaving babies alone with unsupervised cats than cats themselves being “killers”.
Cats are naturally drawn to heat and the baby’s warm body is a natural attractant.
The more likely health concern to attend to is to avoid toxoplasmosis, which is caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii.
It is found in the intestines of some animals, including pigs and cats, and can be passed on from these animals to humans.
To avoid this, avoid taking in stray cats and keep your existing cats indoors. You should also use gloves when picking up litter boxes or handling outdoor gardens (source 1).
Is A Cat Safe Around A Baby?
Is it safe to have cats around newborns?
It is, as long as your cat is healthy and you are there to supervise everything.
Do not leave cats and babies alone by themselves.
How To Keep Your Cat Out Of The Baby Crib
Here are 10 ways you can protect your baby from your cat when you are not around (source 1):
- Install cat screens around your baby’s crib.
- Install a screen door in your baby’s nursery
- Set up a perch or bed for your cat on another side of the room away from your baby.
- Make the crib less appealing by putting noisy toys or a flat layer of tinfoil on the crib months and weeks before the baby arrives, so your cat will associate the crib with unpleasant experiences.
- Use a sheet of cardboard with double-sided masking tape covering the crib mattress and the changing pad before the baby comes home, to send the message to your cat that this is not a pleasant place to be in.
- Use cat deterrent motion sensors, especially if you do not have much time anymore to prepare your cat for the baby.
- Invest in a baby monitor so you can always check on your baby wherever you are in the house and ensure that your cat stays away from your baby in the crib.
- Close the door on your cat.
- Do not make it a game for your cat by your opening the door every time they scratch it to get in. Never reward negative behavior.
- Use orange and citrus rinds, as well as “noise” like baby music playing loud, to deter them from the baby’s room.
Do Cats Really Try To Smother Babies?
They are drawn to babies because of the babies’ body heat.
They do not mean to smother babies. They simply like to keep warm by getting as close to the baby as they can, especially when the baby is sleeping and breathing with an open mouth.
How to introduce your cats to your new baby takes time, careful and intentional planning, and dedicated and loving effort.
You need to respect and consider your Maine Coon cat’s needs as well as your baby’s.
Especially if your Maine Coon was there with you first before your baby came home, you need to assure her that she is still as loved and cared for, even with the new addition to the family.
Introducing Maine Coon To Dog
Take them for walks together with their own harnesses and leashes. When at home, allow them to observe each other from a distance, by separating them with a baby gate, until they acclimatize better to each other and can be allowed to get closer to each other.
Introducing A Baby Kitten To An Older Cat
Get them acquainted with each other’s scent first by using a tea towel for each cat. Stroke each cat with their tea towels, especially on their face and cheeks. Once they have gotten used to this, exchange tea towels by offering the kitten’s tea towel to your older cat, and the older cat’s tea towel to your kitten.