Is it safe to have a cat in the house with a newborn?
A new baby in the house creates a whirlwind of excitement, activity and change. This is true just as much for your pets as it is for you. Many people assume, incorrectly, that cats are hostile to babies, or that they may “steal the baby’s breath.” In reality, the biggest problem between your baby and your cat might be that your cat will urinate on baby’s things.
While there are concerns when bringing a newborn into a house with a cat, most of the time it is not a problem with just a little bit of effort.
If you plan ahead, you can make the arrival of a baby much less stressful from your cat’s point of view. By preparing the baby’s room and things ahead of time, it gives your cat time to adjust to those changes in environment. If you do this gradually, over several weeks that lead up to your delivery, this also can ease kitty’s anxieties.
If you have any friends or relatives that have babies, you might invite their little ones over to meet your cat. This gives your cat a chance to have a slow introduction to the sounds, smells, and sight of a baby.
Your cat will likely crave more attention after your newborn comes home. Often, your cat will give you a watchful eye as you hold or feed your newborn. Something simple that you can do to help your cat (and yourself) is to, while feeding your newborn, give your cat a kitty treat too. Eventually, your cat will associate the presence of the newborn with this positive attention. Kitty may even become one of the baby’s biggest fans!
In terms of safety, many common sense rules apply, such as:
– Don’t allow your cat to sleep in, or even climb on, your baby’s crib. A particularly friendly feline might interfere with a baby’s breathing by curling up in the cradle or licking the baby’s face, for example.
– Once your baby is at all mobile, he will probably try to play in the kitty litter at some point. As a part of baby-proofing your home, you should find a place for the litter box that is inaccessible to the baby.
– Keep your kitty well-groomed and clean to reduce the risk that he will carry diseases, fleas, or ticks.
While it may initially sound like a lot of work, helping your cat become adjusted to your newborn is well worth the effort. Once she is relaxed, she will most likely come to accept the baby as a part of the family.