Every year, many cats end up in shelters because their owners were expecting a baby. There are many old wives’ tales around about cats and babies, as I found out when we decided to do the opposite of sending our cat to a shelter while I was suffering from pregnancy signs and symptoms. When I was pregnant with my daughter, we took in a little kitten. Immediately, people started warning us that cats suck the breath out of babies, and that cat hairs kill newborns when they are swallowed.
Cats and babies can combine – very well, actually – but it is important to take some common-sense measures to make sure no harm comes to either your little one or your furry friend. They are quite obvious, and if you are a cat owner expecting a baby, I am sure you had thought of these things already:
- Set the baby’s crib up while you are still pregnant, so that your cat can get used to it. You can teach the cat not to climb into the crib before the baby arrives.
- Once your baby is there, don’t keep your cat away from her at all times, and instead make sure that your cat knows that the baby is now part of the family too. Do give your cat plenty of attention after you become a parent, and do let the cat sniff the baby and interact with her, under supervision. Don’t leave the cat alone with your baby.
- Does your cat have the habit of clawing people? If so, look into declawing, or the more humane option of capping your cat’s claws with silicone “nails”. This option is only suitable for cats who don’t go outside, because outdoor cats need their claws to defend themselves or climb up things.
- Get a net to place over your baby’s crib so your cat can’t get inside. Cats love to sleep next to a warm baby; this is OK if you are right there, but not if your baby is asleep without your direct supervision.
- Once your baby becomes mobile, make sure that the cat litter tray is not accessible to your baby in any way. Toxoplasmosis can be very dangerous for babies. Keeping the cat’s food away is also important, mostly because you will be traumatized if your baby ever starts munching on the cat’s dinner!
- Older babies might be tempted to pull on a cat’s tail or do other rough things to it. Needless to say, this is unpleasant for a cat, and the cat is going to defend itself. Keep a close eye on your baby and your cat while your little one is learning to crawl and walk, and teach your child to be kind to your pet.
Our cat has always been very gentle with babies, and is very protective! We never had any problems at all, other than uninformed people telling us cats and babies don’t mix. Guess what? They do! Our cat loves children, and our children love animals!
Olivia writes about fertility, pregnancy and babies at Trying To Conceive . With her free ovulation calendar, finding out when you are most likely to conceive becomes easy!