Coexisting :: Babies and Furbabies

Hi! My name is Heather, and I am a mom.  And a furmom. 

When our sweet Skeeter was born last year, Mr. BUB and I were already proud parents to three furbabies – one cat and two dogs. One of my first concerns {after making sure she had ten fingers and ten toes} was how the furchildren would handle a loud, time consuming addition to our family…and how we’d handle any potential issues that may arise.

The most common tip I’ve heard is to send a blanket home from the hospital for the animals to smell and grow comfortable with.  That way they’re familiar with the baby’s scent when she comes home.  In our case, I rotated dirty clothes from the NICU for a few weeks and washed them at home.  While the animals did get a good dose of her scent, they still had some adjustments to make once Skeeter made her grand appearance in our house.

Here are my tips for blending furchildren and human children ::

  1.  Be patient.  It won’t always be sunshine and roses.  Each animal has a unique personality and therefore handles change differently.  While our laidback dog Hank adjusted immediately, our cat, Grayson, growled at Skeeter for the first month she was home.   Grayson just wasn’t sure about this new ‘hairless cat’ and all the weird noises she made.  We gave him some time and tried to keep them apart for a while.  Eventually, he stopped growling.  Then, he got used to her.  Now?  When Skeeter wakes up, she doesn’t call for momma or dada…she calls for her “Meow” – and he comes running!
    We're just going to pretend she's not sharing her food with the cat, okay?

    We’re just going to pretend she’s not sharing her food with the cat, okay?

  2. Give them space.  Don’t force the new baby on them.  While you fell in love with your sweet little one the second you laid eyes on her, your furbabies may not feel the same.  I made sure my dogs got a little more outside time the first few months – both for my sanity and theirs!
    Our biggest baby with our smallest (at the time!)

    Our biggest baby fell in love immediately.

  3. Give them reassurance.  Our dog Duke started feeling insecure from the moment we assembled Skeeter’s crib.  So when she came home, he became a nervous wreck.  Both my hubby and I made sure to give him a little extra attention to let him know he’s not being replaced and he’s still loved.
  4. Discipline.  And I mean both for the furchildren and the human ones.  We eventually had to enforce a ‘no fur in the nursery’ rule to keep the dogs from roughhousing around Skeeter as a baby.  Now we have to remind toddler Skeeter to be gentle with her furbrothers!
    Loving on her puppy.

    Loving on her puppy.

Chime in – how did you prepare your furbabies for a new addition to your household?

9 Responses to Coexisting :: Babies and Furbabies

  1. Avatar
    Meg O. September 27, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    Love this post! Great tips, Heather. We got lucky with Dexter in that he pretty much loves everyone, but I know animals can be touchy creatures. Skeeter is so good with her furbrothers!

    • Avatar
      Heather M October 3, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

      I’m so glad Dexter gets along with your little one so well! It’s great when there’s a good dynamic between the two!

  2. Avatar
    Darby Hawley September 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    These are awesome tips Heather! Thank you for sharing this; it’s reassuring that human babies, and fur babies, can reside together!

    • Avatar
      Heather M October 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

      Thank you, Darby!! It definitely takes some work and cooperation, but it’s totally worth it!

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    Chelsea P September 29, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    Great post Heather! We’ve been lucky so far with Jack and our chihuahua, but I’m nervous about how things will go once Jack starts crawling (and grabbing)!

    • Avatar
      Heather M October 3, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

      The crawling/grabbing phase was the hardest for us! More than one animal got chunks of fur yanked. But they figured out pretty quickly to stay out of reach until she knew better. It did take some adjusting once she’d learned to be gentle for the animals to grow comfortable with her again.

  4. Avatar
    Kelly D November 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    Major issues here when we tried to mix the animal with the baby, so I will not even attempt to give any advice on this one. Thankfully, I think we have it all ironed out though, and now they are all three the best of buds!

    • Avatar
      Heather M November 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

      I think furbabies are just like humans- it depends on their personalities! Some just take more time than others.

  5. Avatar
    Melissa August 13, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    I have the same set up – 2 dogs and a cat – and they are all on different wavelengths with our baby. Each one tolerates her at different times, and loves her occasionally (usually involving food). Some things that are working currently are teaching her to pat gently and practicing on her stuffed animals. We also have a book called “Tails are not for pulling” that she likes. I also always make sure the pets have an escape route from her in case they are scared/not interested/need a break. This means I do usually keep a good eye on them all, but also making sure I never make them interact or inadvertently trap them together. They are all learning the word gentle, as in when petting, giving/receiving food, or playing.

    I read you can teach kiddos to put their hands out first to let animals sniff before petting, and also to approach slowly. Open palms when giving food or treats will cut down on accidental finger bites, too.

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