Your beloved cat really seems to enjoy spending time with your baby. You've caught her in your baby's crib several times, and thought it was kind-of cute but are worried about your baby's safety. If you are living this scenario, you are not alone by any means. Can your cat safely sleep in your baby's crib, or is it best to keep cats and babies separated?
Your cat and your pregnancy
Some couples rehome their cat soon after they find out that they are expecting a baby, while others go to the other extreme and take dirty diapers home from the hospital before their baby, just so their cat can "get used to the baby's smell". The combination of cats and babies clearly provokes strong feelings in many parents or soon-to-be parents. What do you need to know about your cat and your newborn before you give birth? First of all, I'm sure there is no need to mention the danger of toxoplasmosis if you have a cat and are pregnant. This is easily avoided by staying away from your cat's litter tray, or using gloves when changing your kitty litter. While you prepare to become a mom, you can also prepare your cat for the new baby by setting the crib, playpen and any other baby items up around a month in advance. If your baby is going to sleep in a crib in her own room, you may want to keep the door closed and get your cat used to the idea that the room is out of bounds. If your baby will sleep in your room in a crib, or if you are planning on bed-sharing, now would be the time to train your cat to stay out of your bedroom. This may prove to be hard for cats who were used to sleeping on your bed with you before, so getting it started early is a wonderful idea.
Can your cat sleep with your baby?
Some old wives' tales warn about cat hairs killing babies, while other superstitious stories mention cats "sucking a baby's breath away". Both of these tales are very popular where I live. If you have a cat and a baby, I am sure you have heard your own variations of stories that have you worried about your cat spending time with your baby. Yet, your pet is sure to be interested in your baby and will almost certainly want to sleep next to that warm little bundle at some point. Is that safe? As a parent and cat-owner, this is up to you to judge. Here are a few things you may want to take into consideration:
- It is at least theoretically possible that your cat could sit on your baby's face. There is a choking danger. The only way to keep your baby absolutely safe from this risk is to watch your cat and baby at all times while they are together. This is not possible if you are not in the room, or if you are asleep yourself as well.
- Do you have an outdoor cat? If so, your cat may carry ticks and other parasites and germs inside, and possibly pass them onto your baby. Ticks can cause Lyme Disease, which can be very serious.
- Babies who are in the "grabbing stage" will definitely pull on your cat's tail or legs, or perhaps its ears. How does your cat react to that? Your baby may well get hurt much more badly than your cat.
- Your baby may be allergic to cats, even if you are not.
- It is well-documented that pets offer many benefits to children. Your child can bond with your cat in many ways besides having it in her crib, however. Just saying.
Do you have any experience with cats and newborns? Do you have any stories to share about your cat sleeping with your baby, or trying to get into the crib? We'd love to hear your views on this topic you may help someone decide how best to handle this issue in their family. Leave a comment below! You may also like to read: Things to consider before buying a family pet.