Fur babies and owners learn how to deal with new additions to the family

By Zhang Yihua Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/7 15:48:39

Parents' four-legged friends may get jealous when a newborn comes, but they can get through it and become friends with babies. Photo: IC

Kong Qin, a 32-year-old white-collar worker in Beijing, recently noticed that Cheese, her cat, had been acting oddly since she gave birth to her son several weeks ago. The cat started using the bathroom all over the house, and she was never like that before.

Kong did not know what happened to the cat, and she asked for advice from a friend of hers who is also a cat owner. Her friend told her that Cheese may be acting out since she may be feeling neglected since the baby was born. She added that behaving this way was probably a ploy to win over her master's attention.

 Kong admitted that she did spend a lot of time with her son and did not pay as much attention to her cat as she used to.

She remembered that in a family in Baba Huilaile (Dad is Back), a Chinese reality show that she watched around one year ago, the dog often shoved the kid aside when the kid asked his dad for a hug.

When she was watching the show, she merely took the shoving as a joke and did not think too much of it, but she is now beginning to wonder if the dog was actually trying to steal the limelight.

"I love my cat as much as I love my son, but I have no idea how to make amends to the cat," she said.

Kong is among the many pet owners who are also parents to a newborn and are exploring how to work for a better relationship between pets and kids.

On the Internet, when "pets and kids" are searched as key words, a great number of articles that are devoted to the connection between the two pop up. On YouTube, the videos that concern the interaction between pets and kids gain huge popularity, many of which have been viewed millions of times.

Zhang Yu, a veterinarian in Beijing, noted that pets may get nervous when there is a new family member in the house, because they have no idea what kind of creature a baby is.

"Compared with cats, dogs are generally more adaptable and thus will soon get used to life with a newborn," she said, adding that cats are more likely to pee anywhere in the house or run around scratching things to attract their master's attention.

She advised that if pets start to misbehave after a baby is born, pet owners should not punish them, which may stress the pet out and make it harder for them to get accustomed to their new life and to like the baby.

Pets rarely actively attack kids, but if kids hurt pets out of curiosity, like pulling their tails, pets may bite kids in order to run away.

"The biting act is unintentional and pet owners should not punish their pets unless they really hurt the kid," she said. "Otherwise, pets may be afraid to approach kids."

She also recommended that parents should be with the kids who are younger than two years old when there are pets around to protect pets and kids from being hurt by each other. As children get older, parents can help introduce their kids to the pets to help them become familiar and comfortable around each other.

 However, she said that pets will eventually get used to having kids around after some time, and pets owners do not need to worry too much.

Kong happily noticed that Cheese was more like her usual self over the past few days.

"Maybe she has gone through the toughest phase and got used to my son," she said. "The next thing I plan to do is to take Cheese to my son's crib more often so that she will like him more."

Newspaper headline: Pet and baby bonding


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