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Cats and newborn babies

(47 Posts)
iamrubyfinch Mon 23-Jun-14 13:56:16

I'm 16 weeks pregnant and planning for the new arrival. One of my concerns is that I have two indoor cats. Like all cats, they are inquisitive and playful and whilst they have never hurt anyone, I am getting a bit worried.

I read somewhere that a baby should never be left alone in the same room as cats, but I don't see how this is possible! I'm also concerned about the cats jumping into the cot when I'm not there to stop them.

Has anyone got any experience of this? Any suggestions for what to do? I love my cats more than anything, and the last thing I want is to get rid of them, but obviously my baby has to take priority.

Thanks.

DanaBarrett Mon 23-Jun-14 14:15:08

Mine avoided the strange-smelling shouty thing like the plague! They had less than no interest in with DD until they were at least six months old! The cats and kids are great friends now, more than I'd ever dated hoped, the cats let them pull them all over and just get up and leave once they've had enough smile.

I had a google and do you know there has never been a reported case of a cat sitting on a babies face and suffocating it? It's really hard to see what will happen this early on, but I don't know anyone who has had issues between cats and babies!

Cats seem to know that babies mean no harm, they react very differently to a toddler pulling their tail than say, a seven year old. You'll all be fine smile

GailLondon Mon 23-Jun-14 14:20:57

Hi Ruby

I have one cat and a son who is 2 now. Many many people have pets and then start a family so i don't think you need to think of getting rid of the cats except as a very last resort.
Before the baby arrived and I started buying baby stuff, the cot, the moses basket, the play mat etc, my cat was delighted! He thought I had just bought loads of comfy new soft things for him to sleep on. So i spent a good month or two diligently chucking him off all of these things whenever I caught him there, and he soon got the message. By the time baby arrived it was fine and he never tried to jump in the bed or basket while baby was there at all.
Yes it is important not to leave baby unattended with the cat, especially at the beginning. Just close the door to separate them in different rooms if you need to. There are things like nets you can buy to put over the babies cot if you want extra piece of mind but you probably won't need them.
And then just wait until they're crawling after the cat trying to pull it's tail!

mrsnec Mon 23-Jun-14 14:36:20

I've been wondering the same thing. I have known people give their cats away when the baby arrived. That's not happening in this house, my dss kept her cats closed off in another room for the first couple of months not keen on that either but I have bought cat nets and will see what happens when she arrives how they take to each other.

Glastokitty Mon 23-Jun-14 14:42:06

Get a cat net for over the cot if you are worried. My cat loved snuggling with my baby, but I did keep an eye out.

hubbahubster Mon 23-Jun-14 15:23:20

You won't be in the habit of leaving your newborn unattended with anyone, honestly. So there should be no problem with not leaving baby alone with a cat - you just won't do it.

I have a cat and a dog and I wouldn't leave either of them alone in the room with my newborn or my toddler. Neither of them have ever given me cause to think they would attack my DC, but I still wouldn't do it.

Observer78 Mon 23-Jun-14 15:23:31

Never, ever get rid of your fur babies! That's crazy! When I used to work at an animal rescue centre I saw so many poor souls dumped with no good reason. No vet, no midwife, no doctor will ever tell you that the cat must go! No, no, no!!!!

My midwife has categorically warned me to NOT keep the cats way from the little one as it'll be his environment, I should let them sniff him, etc. And, apparently, they run away from the new addition anyway. Screaming alone is enough to deter any desire to sleep next / on him.

As the lady above said - get a net if you're worried, but don't deprive your child what could be a fantastic friendship later on!

It wasn't a problem with our dd. When I was preg both our cats knew it and were extra fussy towards me (being protective) as their instincts tell them what is going on.
Then when dd arrived they were interested but kept a safe distance for the first couple of months - we did a little introduction, but to a cat a newborn baby is a bit of a non-event. I also made sure I shut the doors when dd was sleeping in a cot without me - but to be honest this happened rarely as my dd slept in the same room as us til she was 6 months old, and by then she was more robust.
About the crawling stages, the cats worked out to run away if they didn't want their tails pulled, but they are both very tolerant with her rough and tumble. Now dd is 2, her and one of the cats are best buddies and the cat is all protective towards her. If she cries in the night, the cat is the first one to be pacing the landing, and if I wait to see if she self settles the cat is pretty annoyed at me!
Definitely don't concern yourself about the cats and teh baby until you know there is a problem.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 23-Jun-14 15:28:02

It depends on the cat. Mine is mainly indoors but she's old and lazy. She will never jump into a cot. She won't jump a stair gate either and we've used that to separate them.

However the problem came when DD became a crawler. The cat find her threatening and would use her claws to warn and pushed DD's face away, sometimes seemingly unprovoked. We had a couple of close calls. Once DD was walking the table turned. The cat runs as fast as possible when DD wants to play with cat.

My cat did jump into the moses basket with the newborn baby in it - once. Cue very loud noise from the baby and she exited at speed and never did it again!

She is a highly-strung and difficult and scratchy beast, and I do remember being very worried, but she was brilliant with both babies. She used to sit along the arm of the armchair when I was feeding them, sniffing their heads and looking contented.

She was less tolerant of grabby toddlers and they learned to edge along the walls when they wanted to get past her ... but they both have a healthy respect for animals now! And now that they are 6 and nearly 8 and much more predictable she curls up near them happily again.

iamrubyfinch Mon 23-Jun-14 15:55:27

Thank you all for the advice. I can't bear the thought of having to lose my cats so it's been on my mind a lot - it's made me feel a lot better about things.

I like the idea of buying the moses basket early and training them not to jump in it (I know they'll think it's another comfy place for them to sleep!) and of getting a net to cover the baby with. Can anyone suggest where these nets can be bought? And how do you attach them? Do they have to hang from the ceiling?

moregranny Mon 23-Jun-14 17:07:45

Places like Mothercare and John Lewis have cat nets that fit over the cot, you will find it a pain in the bum though. My granddaughters cat has slept under her cot since she was tiny, honestly I have had cats all of my life, I am 59 now, my children and grandchild have never had a problem, as many others have said the cat will be very wary of the baby for quite a while, it is lovely to see a bond develop between them and I believe it teaches little ones to respect life :-)

karigan Mon 23-Jun-14 17:41:10

My cats are very nervous of anyone under the age of about 7 and will sharply exit a room as soon as any babies/children enter. Neither of them have shown any aggression/overzealous snuggling behaviour towards any child so I'm not concerned about how they'll interact with our daughter when she arrives in 3 months.

I wouldn't say you need to worry about anything unless you know that you have a very grumpy and unpredictable cat and even then a closed door will do the trick. smile

Scarletohello Mon 23-Jun-14 17:48:40

There are lots of lovely videos on YouTube of cats being snuggly and cute with babies. Have a look!

claraschu Mon 23-Jun-14 17:53:43

We had at least two cats when we had all our babies. They were completely fine and would occasionally purr the baby to sleep for me. I was never even the tiniest bit worried, and certainly would have left them all in a room together.

EssexGirlLottie Mon 23-Jun-14 18:12:25

Someone told me that if you're introducing the empty Moses basket to your cat in advance, line it with foil and then some bedding. The cat will jump, land on the foil and will be back out of it in a flash cus of the noise from the foil. Haven't tried it myself but I do know my cats hate foil...

vallinnapod Mon 23-Jun-14 19:09:34

We had 3, two reasonably sensible middle aged ones and a feral old lady. I was only really worried about them getting in and snuggling up with DS rather than them swiping him. One had climbed into, and slept in the car seat before his arrival hmm We did have a cat net....used it once or twice but as a previous poster has said, you rarely leave the new baby unattended. At night we made sure the bedroom door was shut and the cats were outside.

TBH, the feral one was the absolute best with him. She used to sit about two foot from the moses basket/pram/bedroom door and the second he started to stir she would yowel for us to come and get him. It was very sweet! Now he is 2.5 she is incredibly gentle with him (as he is with her...shockingly) I watch her get pissed off and simply slink away - with us she'll be purring away and them whack us one!

spence24 Mon 23-Jun-14 20:04:00

EssexGirl is right about the foil, we used that to toilet train our youngest cat as she had a habit of going in corners of the living room. We lined the walls with foil and she was sorted in two days. OK, we looked like we were preparing for the alien invasion, but the house didn't smell any more!

I've always been a dog person, and have been surrounded by them since I was a newborn. Now I have two cats and expecting DC1, I'm unsure of what to expect, but OH has had oldest cat since before he had his DD and he is brilliant, a real soppy dog-cat, and knows I'm expecting as he snuggles on my lap at every opportunity, which he never used to do. Just hoping the new one mellows a bit, as she is still young and very scratchy/bitey with her affection...

mrsnec Tue 24-Jun-14 07:19:34

I was worried a bit because she isn't very good with my friend's kids but tends to just run away from them. I do think it might be different when she's introduced to a new born now. Reading the other comments here and watching the you tube videos is making me wonder what I was ever worried about l might not even need the cat net but I'm glad I got it. I think it was about 5 quid from mothercare.

PickleMobile Tue 24-Jun-14 07:29:52

You don't need a cat net. They will not go near the baby for months. My two have never been a problem.

If you can (if it's possible and safe to do so) I recommend starting to let your cats out. Ours were indoor cats for 4 years before dd came along then we decided it would be easier on everyone if we could have the door open for any length of time, getting pram in and out having door open in hot weather. Best thing we ever did. The furthest one goes is the bottom of the garden as she can't jump very high, the second one jumps over the gate and just wanders down the drive.

mrsnec Tue 24-Jun-14 07:42:50

That's the problem for us pickle, ours is outdoors but we live in a bungalow with the catflap in the bedroom and the baby will be in with us. At the moment the cat sleeps on our bed too she has her own but won't use it so I think we need to get her out of that habit and move the catflap!

Boogles91 Tue 24-Jun-14 20:00:51

Were close tp having our first and our lil man who is very soppy and loves tp be around us rarther than on his own has started to try nd sleep in the pram and the cot! Weve tried training him that hes not aloud in them and failed, so now werw gonna get some safety nets, seen em on ebay for 99p, they stretch over your cot and pram to stop them from going in there. The thing is with most cats they can smell babys and like to snuggle up with the warmth, wich is completly harmless in a sense but a baby cant tell a cat to move if its sittin on the poorthing and suffocating them. Plus our lil man likes to sit right up against your face or under ur chin, ive had this worry but since i found the covers im not so now smile plus were in 1 bed flat so can see frpm kitchen wat the cats up to lol x

iamrubyfinch Tue 24-Jun-14 20:14:40

Thanks again for all your thoughts, it's great to hear everyone else's experiences. I know that people have been raising babies with pets for years but I guess I'm a slightly anxious first timer and I'm trying to filter the stuff I need to take on board from the stuff I don't.

As for letting the cats out, that's a whole different source of anxiety! I would love to let them out, but I live on a main road where lots of my neighbours cats have been killed (one had five killed in five years) so I figure it's best to keep them in until we can afford to move to somewhere quieter. Well, that's the plan anyway. I'll just have to see what happens when the little'un arrives.

I'm definitely going to try training them not to jump in baby things from the outset, the foil trick, and getting a cat net for the moses basket and cot x

insideout Tue 24-Jun-14 21:29:35

We had 3 indoor cats when dd was born and I was totally convinced they were going to sleep on her face and suffocate her so we bought the cat nets for the Moses basket (kept pinging off) and the one for the cot never fit either!

Oh and the cats sulked for about 9 months and wouldn't go near her unless there was food being dropped. Dd is now 6 and the cats sneak into her bed at night to cuddle in.

I would wait and see how they react when you bring baby home but you know your cats best.

DanaBarrett Tue 24-Jun-14 21:35:22

My old girl is an indoor cat and she was 11 with no experience of children, never mind babies when I had DD1. She used to lie on my bump and look offended when the baby kicked her. She's very tactile indeed. But she Beverly went in the Moses basket, she much preferred the space user the cot!

As I said, please google incidences of cats smothering babies. It's an old wives tale, nothing more!

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