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My children grew up with animals, which I’m sure surprises no one. After all, I’m a farm boy who grew up to be a veterinarian, and my wife is as big of an animal lover as I am. Our two children, now grown and gone, have always been surrounded by pets, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way. Our daughter, Vetstreet pet behavior expert Mikkel Becker, is raising her daughter the same way.
But that doesn’t mean I recommend parents throw caution to the wind when it comes to pets and kids. Parents need to work with their veterinarians to keep pets healthy and parasite-free for the good of the entire family, not just the pets. And children need to learn the rules for safe pet handling, especially frequent hand washing.
When you’re expecting your first child, though, you’re not thinking about that level of specifics. Along with getting the nursery ready and collecting all the new baby gear you’ll need, you no doubt will be worried about how your pet will handle the new addition, especially if your “first child” is an older cat.
Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered on this one. Some of the bad things you’ve heard about cats and babies — including those shared breathlessly by “helpful” friends, relatives and coworkers – just aren’t true, especially the old myth about jealous felines trying to suffocate infants. Everything else can be dealt with if you just use some common sense. Or as I always say, lose the risk and keep the pet.
All cats are big on routine and that's especially true of older ones. Start changing your cat's routine gradually in the weeks before your due date so that when you come home with your baby, your cat is already comfortable with the new schedule. That’ll leave him much better to cope with all the other changes yet to come. Here are some tips:
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