The Truth About Cats and Babies

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When I was pregnant with my little one, people started making comments about the fact that I had pets. Questions were asked about what I was going to do with my cats? Was I going to keep them? Did I trust them around my new baby? I hadn’t really thought about it much before, so I decided to find out the truth about cats and babies.

The Truth About Cats and Babies

The Truth About Cats and Babies

My cats were 9 years old when I was pregnant, and I’d had them since they were 1. They were rescue cats, a semi-feral brother and sister pair that hid for the first 6 months that they lived with me. They are still very skittish, and hide whenever we have visitors. But I also considered them to be like my family. I was actually more worried about how they were going to react to a new baby!

The Truth about Cats and Babies - Joy and Leo

I hadn’t even really thought that they could be a problem to my child. My only real worry was that my brother has a real allergy to pet hair, which he has had since being very small. What if this was a genetic trait and my baby also suffered with this allergy?

And then some family and patients starting asking whether I should be keeping my animals? I decided to look further into why they were so concerned.

As I expected, a google search provided some real horror stories of babies being suffocated by cats and pets attacking the new baby. But I looked beyond these headlines and realised that there was no real problem. As long as some simple precautions were taken.

During Pregnancy

Whilst pregnant, I kept my cats indoors. This is not difficult, as they are so timid they tend not to go out much anyway. This stopped my cats possibly coming into contact with harmful bacteria and parasites that they could pass on to us. At the same time we made sure that their vaccinations were up to date.

My other half took over the horrible task of cleaning out the cat litter. Cat faeces can contain the parasite Toxoplasmosis, which is very harmful to the unborn baby. We also made sure to keep all the food preparation surfaces impeccable. Again luckily my cats aren’t the types to jump onto the kitchen surfaces, though they do jump onto the dining table.

A few months into the pregnancy, we started to play some baby noises in front of the cats to get them used to the possible noises that they were about to encounter. My partner decorated and put up the nursery furniture 3 months before baby was due to get the cats used to the smells. But then we closed that room off to the cats completely.

As the due date came closer, I did reduce the amount of time I spent cuddling the cats. This got them used to the fact that they were going to be petted less once the baby arrived. At the same time, as it was Christmas and New Year, there were lots of fireworks that my cats are scared of. So I plugged in a Feliway diffuser which would help with their stress.

When Baby Arrived Home

That first couple of hours when you get home with your new baby are surreal anyway. But we kept the cats away for as long as we could.

To be honest, they acted slightly interested at first, but then quickly shied away as soon as the baby cried. They were more scared of the baby to be interested!

We always made sure that the cot and napping baby was well out of reach. We always made sure that surfaces were clean and that we washed our hands after petting the cats.

And really until the last few months the cats have just learned to stay away from our little one. However, our 2 year old now loves the cats to come and sit near her. She is learning to stroke them nicely and has even starting to give them their meals. I think having pets is a brilliant experience for a child. I wouldn’t have my household any other way. The truth about cats and babies? They can learn to live together well. As long as we remember some very basic rules.

The Truth about Cats and Babies? Some Rules.

Whilst pregnant
  • Keep your cats indoors if possible, so that they cannot catch any parasites from vermin or birds that they may pass to you.
  • Do not touch the cat litter, or stroke strange cats.
  • Ensure your cat’s vaccinations and worming is up to date.
  • Try and acclimatise your cats to the thought of a new baby in the house, with recordings of babies crying. If you have particularly nervous cats consider the use of a Feliway diffuser.
  • Put up the nursery furniture a couple of months before the baby is born and so that the cats can get used got the different smells, but seal the cats off from that room.
When Baby Comes Home
  • Do ensure that the moses basket, cot and bedroom are out of reach to your cats. Keep the door shut to the room where the baby is sleeping (make sure that the cat isn’t locked in there first!).
  • Stop your cat from jumping onto areas such as the changing table or food preparation areas. Do clean these areas well before using them just in case.
  • Always wash your hands after feeding or petting your cats.
  • Never leave your baby unattended with the cat. Most scratches happen because the baby has grasped a cat too tightly or caught it by surprise. Never let your cat lick your baby – or the other way round!
  • Some cats love to sniff soiled nappies, so do dispose of these carefully.
  • Some cats love to chew fleecy and wooden items, so watch out for babies blankets going missing into the cats bed.

So, I hope that I have reassured you with the things that I have learnt of the truth about cats and babies. How do your cats and babies get on?

Enjoyed this? Why not read about how my little one ended up with a broken leg?

The Truth About Cats and Babies

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Shank You Very Much

 

Post Comment Love

Lucy At Home UK gentle parenting blogger

PoCoLo

40 Replies to “The Truth About Cats and Babies”

  1. Ada says:

    Hey! I’m not a mom, but my parents have told me stories about their cats, Snickers and Boots, and how they reacted when the ‘rents brought me home. Main thing they did was pee on my stuff, the little shits.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Your typical cat reaction to most things they don’t like! Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Katie says:

    Our kitties are our babies whatever, just delighted that E loves those babies as much as they deserve! Will send photos before long! Your 2 are so very sweet

    Reply
  3. Bexa says:

    I have three cats but no babies, so this was really interesting to read. That’s really sweet that your 2 year old is enjoying spending time with your cat, it’s great they both get along. Thank you for sharing your tips, I never thought about some of these so it’s always good to know for the future! Great post <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I’d never thought about them either. I’m just relieved that she didn’t turn out to have any allergies. She adores the cats. They’re terrified of her though! x

      Reply
  4. Cheryl | TimeToCraft says:

    Had one cat and two big dogs when my eldest was born. Never a problem. She became part of our pack, as far as they were concerned. I’m so glad my children have all grown up with animals around. It sounds like you introduced your cats to the new addition with lots of thought. #MMBC

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I certainly think of the inhabitants of our house as our ‘pack’ too. I cannot imagine my home without animals, and there are so many life lessons from keeping pets! Thank you for your comments

      Reply
  5. Lana says:

    I do not have cats so I have never thought about this. But this is some great information! #KCACOLS

    Reply
  6. Britt K says:

    There is so much misinformation and fear mongering when it comes to cats and babies when honestly, as you laid out here, it’s simply a matter of being a responsible pet owner/parent, and taking the necessary steps to keep everyone safe.
    Britt | http://alternativelyspeaking.ca

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      So true. Not everyone thinks about these things when taking on pets unfortunately!

      Reply
  7. Kate Eccles says:

    What a useful post, some really sound advice 🙂 Thank you for linking up with #KCACOLS we do hope you join in again next time. Kate x

    Reply
  8. Jen @ The Frozen Mind says:

    This was very interesting. I have always heard the old wives tale that a cat will steal the baby’s breath. I have never had a pet so it never effected me though.

    This is great information and as always, I love your writing style!

    #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Jen. I’m glad that I never heard that rumour! Eeek!

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I’m sure there are lots of hints about how the best way to introduce babies and dogs. I’ve never had dogs, but that’s a really interesting topic.

      Reply
  9. Carol Cameleon says:

    I can see both sides of this. My hubby dealt with the litter when I was pregnant and we’ve now got a dog and a cat and our 8yo adores them and they her. As long as you take some precautions like you list, I can’t see it being a problem. #kcacols

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      No, I don’t think it is a problem. But lots of people seemed to think it was!

      Reply
  10. Natasha says:

    I don’t have any pets but this honestly isn’t anything I’d ever thought would be an issue! Great post x

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. It wasn’t really anything I’d thought about before getting pregnant either!

      Reply
  11. Trace says:

    It sounds like you’ve done all the right things for your cats and baby! We have two (sisters who can be a bit skittish at times, but generally they’re very gentle and happy) and our son has started feeding them and taking care of them. I love how it is teaching him empathy and responsibility. Glad you listened to your heart and kept your cats!

    Trace x | http://www.thefashioncollector.com

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Exactly, so many life lessons from having animals. I just need to stop my little girl from giving them full bags of dreamiest all at once!

      Reply
  12. Becka @ Becka's Bubble says:

    I have cat and she has very been overly loving or cuddly. Since having the kids she’s worse. She just stays out of the way. I could never have kept her in, as an outdoor cat, whilst I was pregnant. She would have been climbing the walls! #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Mine were already pretty much fun indoor so I had no issues, but had they been outdoors my other half would’ve been handling more than just the litter!

      Reply
  13. Daydreams of a Mum says:

    I too have heard the cat /baby scare stories . Like anything though I guess if you research and be sensible there’s no reason you can’t have both !! #blogcrush

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Yes, there is no reason as long as you are sensible.

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Oh my two are such big softy scaredy cats. Its lovely that your little girl and gorgeous boy got along

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thats a great idea. I’m sure that acclimatising a dog with babies is an even bigger deal. Thank you for reading.

      Reply
  14. Crummy Mummy says:

    We have 2 house cats which we’ve had with all 3 children. I happily handed over cat litter duties to Misery Guts when I was pregnant too! The cats were a bit frightened of each new baby at first but soon got used to them! #MMBC

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I’ve tried to keep my OH on litter duties ever since. It has kind of worked…yippee! The cats are only just now getting used to E. Its only been 3 years!

      Reply
  15. Cat Lady says:

    Lol…well some babies are allergic to cats and some are not. Some love cats so much that they eat them. Your writing style is admirable.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you so much. My little girl would love to cuddle ands squish the cats right now, but they are very wise and too quick for her!

      Reply
  16. Morgan Prince says:

    A very informative post. I’ve never had any pets so it wasn’t an issue for us but I can imagine this post being very helpful to some.
    Thanks for sharing with #pocolo

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I remember doing a lot of googling about the subject before it happened to us, so I thought a blog post about it was a good idea. Thank you for reading.

      Reply

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