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Before bringing Harper home, one of the many things I worried about was making sure our pets still felt loved and cared for. We have two cats, one 7 and 6 and a 5 year old dog, and they were huge parts of our lives before Harper entered our life. I knew bringing a new baby home was going to be a huge change for us, and a big change for them too. I wanted to make sure they didn't feel forgotten or pushed away, just because the baby would be needing so much of our attention. So in an effort to help calm some of my stress, aid in my nesting tendencies and to just feel more prepared I did a few things to make sure our pets felt loved and cared for even during this huge change in their lives.
Have a plan for someone to take care of your pets while you're in the hospital:
Even though the hospital we had Harper at was right in town, we still had a plan for the pets while we'd be gone. Both of our parents took turns stopping by to feed them and check in on them for those few days. We didn't want them to feel completely abandoned and even just having someone stop by for a few minutes a day to check in and give them some attention made me worry less about our time away in the hospital.
Bring home a blanket that smells like the baby before you bring the baby home:
Now I'm not sure how scientific this actually is, but we figured it was worth a try. Before Harper and I were discharged from the hospital I had Dan bring home a blanket that our daughter had been swaddled in. This let them get used to her scent and hopefully be more welcoming when we arrived home with her.
I know they say to sleep while you're baby sleeps, but your baby will sleep quite a bit those first couple weeks. Just take 5 minutes before you go to lay down and pet your cat or at least acknowledge it. Try to interact with them like you would have before you brought the baby home so that they keep some consistency.
We spent a lot of time those first few weeks holding Harper while she napped and most of that time was spent on the couch. During her naps I would invite the cats to come lay next to me so that they could get used to being near the baby and also feel like they still had a place in our lives. While they couldn't lay on top of her or in our laps, they could lay next to where we were sitting and still get some attention while we held the baby.
You'd be amazed how much our cats love playing with an empty box or paper bag. One of our cat's favorite things is to jump in and sit in empty cardboard boxes that came in the mail with a package or paper bags after we've been shopping. It's simple, inexpensive and they will love it.
Feeding your cat Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Cat Food:
Nothing makes our cats happier than a full bowl of food. A couple months before Harper's due date we took a trip to PetSmart and picked up our cat's favorite food Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Cat Food. I knew that it might be more difficult to make it to the pet store those first few weeks and that it would make them happier to have their favorite food. There are over 20 different flavors, so we were able to find the ones our cats like the best to have their favorite food for them while we were busy focusing so much on the new baby. Now that she's home, if I'm busy I can even order from PetSmart online which makes my life even easier!