There have always been opposing views on whether cats and babies should live together. Even today, young parents are often exposed to old wives’ tales about cats being harmful to babies.
Parents often worry about how their cat will handle the changes to its surroundings.
Furthermore, sometimes the cat gets excluded from daily activities when the baby arrives. This might result in unacceptable feline behavior, such as not using the litter box.
Yet, if you introduce your pet to a baby well (and vice versa), you can prevent such problems.
Debunking the Myths About Cats and Babies
First of all, you don’t have to get rid of your cat since there is little to no risk of toxoplasmosis for you and your baby.
Out of ignorance, people will often say that exposure to cats will result in an infection.
Yet, you are more likely to get toxoplasmosis while working in the garden or touching raw meat. Cats are often the carriers of the Toxoplasma parasite but are rarely affected by it.
Ways to avoid infection:
- Emptying the litter box often
- Cleaning it using disposable gloves
- Washing your hands after
Your cat won’t harm the baby.
Different scenarios about cats and newborn babies may cross your mind. Despite cats being curious beings, it is unlikely for your cat to jump into the crib to hurt your crying baby.
The new sound of the baby may attract your cat. But the only thing that could happen is it snuggling next to the baby. All the cat lovers know how much cats appreciate the warmth.
Of course, if you’re still worried, you can place a net over the crib.
Cats and babies get along.
There’s a widespread myth that cats don’t get along with babies. In fact, they almost always do.
Cats will adapt as long as they can see that they are still important to you. Moreover, cats can even become protective of babies. Some claim that they perceive them as “human kittens.”
Cats could get irritated by cries, but they are not vindictive.
Since cats are sensitive to sounds. They might get tense if a baby cries often. But this does not mean they plan on hurting your baby. It will not jump into the crib wishing to “turn off” the irritating sound.
When talking about cats and baby safety, cats might get naughty at times. But they are definitely not plotting to kill anyone.
So if you catch your cat sneaking around the crib, it’s most likely searching for a warm and cozy place to nap.
Before the Baby Arrives
Cats and babies can share a household harmoniously. Still, there are measures that expecting parents could undertake. Here’s what you can do.
Break the biting habits.
So, are cats good with babies?
Not all cats are the same when you handle them and what they allow you to do. Some enjoy being touched all over, while others may only let you touch their head.
But, it is common for a cat to show extreme sensitivity around its stomach or tail. This is what you must bear in mind once your baby gets more flexible.
As a result of their curiosity, babies could grab the cat too roughly. This will likely upset the cat.
So, even before the cat and baby meet, try getting the cat used to games that do not involve hands and fingers. We know that you might find this challenging. This way, you can reduce its habit of biting them.
Make gradual changes.
Try to perform all the necessary changes in the home step by step. When it comes to their lifestyle, cats are fond of consistency. They can perceive even the tiniest changes, and they could become upset about them.
Instead, introduce your cat to its new lifestyle slowly. This way, your new baby and cat are more likely to get along later.
For instance, when done with your work in one room, play with your cat there. This way, it will become comfortable there and associate it with positive feelings.
Change the litter box location.
In essence, it shouldn’t be close to the future nursery. It is of utmost importance that you set its new location several months ahead of the birth. This way, the cat doesn’t return to its old spot and doesn’t associate the change with the baby.
It might seem trivial, but all these things matter when you’re a cat. It does take effort, but cats and infants becoming best pals doesn’t happen overnight.
Get the cat accustomed to baby sounds.
One of the most striking cat facts is that they are extremely sensitive to sounds.
If you’re a cat owner, you should know that they get petrified over almost any loud household sound. In general, cats get scared of any sound they perceive as unfavorable.
Yet, that doesn’t have to happen with your baby’s cries and gurgles. What might be helpful is playing audios of baby noises before the baby arrives so that the cat can get used to them.
Get the cat accustomed to baby scents.
Establishing a good relationship between cats and new babies can get challenging. This is because some cats are bad at adjusting to changes.
Additionally, the baby’s presence affects their senses too much. Some cats may even get irritated by the new baby’s scent, so you should gradually prepare them for this as well.
For instance, you can apply baby lotion to your hands before cuddling. You do this for the same reason you would play audios of baby sounds. You want your cat to create a positive association with baby odors.
After the Baby’s Born: Cat and Baby Safety Measures
Even after arriving home with the baby, you have to bear in mind that your cat is still an important family member. So, remember to give it the same amount of attention as before and monitor its interaction with the baby.
Do not neglect the cat.
No matter how busy you are fulfilling your baby’s needs, try to organize your day in a way that won’t affect your cat’s needs. Your partner can play with the cat while you’re in charge of the baby and vice versa.
To avoid potential kittens and babies risks, you also might want to try Feliway. This is a synthetic copy of the feline pheromone. It is used to correct the behavior of cats stressed out by various circumstances, such as new family members and unexpected visitors.
Provide it with a hiding sanctuary.
Cats have their preferred way of handling unpleasant situations – they hide. With cats around infants, the cat usually looks for a secluded place to hide. This location will allow them to observe their environment and estimate when it’s safe to come out.
So, provide your cat with plenty of hiding places. You can add cardboard boxes or put their bed somewhere to feel comfortable.
In other words, introducing a cat to a newborn baby means making sure it has at least a few hiding spaces in your home. This is especially important in the areas where you will spend time with your baby.
Don’t forget to put some tasty treats inside these hiding places, so it takes to the changes faster.
Praise your cat.
New parents are usually exhausted most of the time. Still, it’s crucial to find the time to get your cat and newborn baby closer to each other.
Do not rush – take it one step at a time. For instance, when they first meet, let your cat sniff your baby’s foot in a sock sprayed with feline scent. That way, the baby will gain the trust of the cat, who will conclude that there’s no reason to fear that tiny human.
When your cat reacts calmly to your baby’s presence, do not forget to praise it and give it some tasty treats. This will show the cat that being gentle with the baby results in rewards.
Keep the diapers away from the cat.
For the safety of both your baby and cat, make sure soiled diapers are always out of your cat’s reach. Yes, it is gross, but cats are pretty curious about bodily scents.
Soiled items might attract them, which you probably don’t want to happen.
Keep an eye on small baby items.
Cats like to play with small items, such as bonnets and pacifiers. They may even steal them to play with them, so you should pay attention to where you leave your baby’s items.
As long as you know what might interest cats and babies, no health risks will appear.
Make sure your cat is up-to-date on treatments.
There are many cats and babies myths. But one thing to remember is to keep up-to-date with your cat’s parasite treatments. Also, be careful about the ingredients of the products you use on your cat.
Consider nail caps.
Also, if you’re concerned if the cat may scratch the baby, you might want to consider nail caps. They get glued onto your cat to reduce scratches while avoiding trimming the claws. Trimming often traumatizes the cat.
Do not worry about these being uncomfortable or toxic to cats. All you have to do is choose the appropriate nail size and apply them properly.
Anyhow, the friendship between cats and babies is no danger. Of course, it will need to get acclimatized.
In no time you’ll have your own cute cat and baby video to share with the world.
Are cats a danger to babies?
There is no proof that cats can be dangerous to babies. If you introduce the two carefully and give your cat time to get used to the baby, there shouldn’t be any problems.
Furthermore, it’s also important that as your baby grows, you teach it to respect its space.
How do you introduce a baby to a cat?
There are quite a few tips on introducing a baby to your cat.
For starters, introduce them in a space where the cat feels comfortable. But, it should not be where the cat usually has its meals and naps.
While holding the baby, you should allow your cat to sniff it. Rewards your cat’s obedience with cuddles and its favorite food.
Some cats take to the baby very quickly. Others take a little longer to feel comfortable enough. Take it slow.
How can I tell if my baby is allergic to cats?
If an allergic child inhales cat allergens, it will cause them to cough and sneeze. Apart from that, they might develop a rash over their face and have red and itchy eyes.
Why do cats lick baby’s heads?
For the same reason they do it to adults. It is very common for a cat to lick its owners’ hair. Some of them even groom their owners’ beards and eyebrows!
The reason behind this is a simple one: they only lick those they consider their favorite people. So, it is just one of their weird ways of expressing affection. When it comes to why they lick other cats, the reason is that they are marking their territory.
Are cats good with toddlers?
Although they aren’t dangerous to children, take caution when leaving them alone together. Cats mostly love children, but toddlers might irritate them. This might annoy the cat to the point of biting or scratching them.
Make sure that your toddler understands how to treat animals and respect their boundaries.
Can cats cause eczema in babies?
Yes and no. Some older studies have investigated the risk of eczema in babies whose mothers had asthma and spent time with cats during their first months.
The conclusion was that exposure to cats would cause eczema symptoms only if the baby was born with a specific gene mutation making them prone to eczema.
This specific gene is called the Filaggrin gene and is known to produce the protein of the same name.
At what age should a child get a cat?
Most parents think that the best option is having a cat grow along with their child. However, according to the American Humane Society, it might not be the best idea.
Toddlers are usually hyperactive, and kittens might find that intimidating. Furthermore, this can make them grow into scared and overly cautious cats.
This is why, unless you already have a cat, it is best to wait until your child is six.
Do cats sleep on babies?
Your cat might want to curl up near your baby. Why is that? Well, the reason is the same as for any other pet. Animals are social beings, and, as such, they have a desire for closeness.
In other words, cats have feelings, too.
Most of the time, they express those feelings by wanting to smell and touch their owners. So, while you should be careful, try not to act in an overprotective manner.
Do cats make good family pets?
Not everybody’s vision of a good family pet is the same, but cats make perfect family pets.
They’re delicate and highly affectionate. They are always near you. They enjoy sharing space with their owners, and some of them even love being held. Cats eagerly engage in all sorts of games.
As your child learns how to handle cats, they will also learn of compassion in the most gentle way possible. Start early with your cat and newborn, and enjoy their lifelong friendship.
Cats are sometimes naughty on purpose to get your attention. They will lay across your keyboard while you’re in the middle of writing an important project. They won’t let you enjoy your meal until you share it with them.
However, these are all the essence of cats’ charm, the main reason people love them.
Remember that parents are the ones who decide to what extent a connection between cats and babies is to develop. They are the ones setting the boundaries of their interaction.
Moreover, while parenthood is a responsible task, pet ownership requires responsibility too. In that way, there will be no reason for your baby not to love your cat as much as you do.