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Tell me the truth about cats and newborns

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
My mom always told me growing up that cats were bad to have around babies b/c they lay on them and suffocate.
Is this a complete myth?
We have one cat who is not nice (she bites if you touch her) but DP wouldn't dream of giving her up. She has never been around newborns, but she lays on my pregnant belly and purrs.
Should I keep her out of the bedroom when our baby comes? Or should I not worry?
post #2 of 64
Yes, that's a complete myth. I've never heard of any documented cases of that. When I brought my first baby home, my cats ran and hid You should have seen their expression when they heard her cry for the first time. Anyway I co slept, so I think I'd have noticed if the cats were laying on her face!

I've never had a problem with my cats and kids. They have never hurt my kids in any way. Cats are pretty tolerant and usually just run away from kids when they get rough, ime.
post #3 of 64
Our two cats loved lying on my belly and purring, too. They sorta looked at the newborns like "ew, what's that?" and moved on. : They definitely don't like the crawler/toddler phases....
post #4 of 64
complete myth.

two cats, two babies now. Cats were friendly at times, but never dangerous.

post #5 of 64
Total myth. I have had babies and a cat and they all seem to ignore each other. My cat is totally freaked out by babies and really doesn't show any interest in anyone who isn't over 2 ft tall. I would just let them get to know baby while you are around but honestly they probably won't even care.
post #6 of 64
Total myth.

We have 2 cats, one very friendly and one very mean. We have never had a problem with my son - they mostly kept their distance from him as a newborn or would occasionally sniff him but never got closer than that. Now that he is a toddler they actually "play" with him a little. The cats will run by him and try to get the baby to play chase -but they can easily get away from him before he gets close enough to touch them! Its cute!
post #7 of 64
My cat got quite comfortable with our porta crib before ds came. So I was a little worried about her. I did keep her out of our room when ds was sleeping for naps. And once I did find her curled up next to him, but not at his face and certainly not on top of him. Still made me a bit nervous so I kept her out of the room most of the time.
post #8 of 64
I remember my aunt saying that cats will drag a baby down to the basement thinking they were a loaf of bread.
post #9 of 64
The most dangerous thing about having a cat around a baby ime is that the cat will meow at exactly the time the baby falls asleep, causing the infant to be wide awake and wanting to play with the cat. This can cause fits of rage in the mother.

Other than that, they are harmless...and I hate my cat, can you tell??
post #10 of 64
Originally Posted by JD5351 View Post
I remember my aunt saying that cats will drag a baby down to the basement thinking they were a loaf of bread.
Those darn cats and their bread-collecting habits! What on earth is that supposed to be about?

Before ds was born, our cat loved sleeping in the crib, in the baby carseat, etc. After he was here, she gave those things a wide berth.

***WARNING: Possibly triggering post, mention of SIDS/infant death (in theoretical way, but in a more concrete way than the rest of this thread)***

I've read theories that the way the legends of cats smothering babies/stealing their breath came about was from cases of SIDS. The cats are theorized to either have realized something had happened and be poking around to check out what was going on, or they realized they could safely sleep by the still-warm baby without risking grabby little fingers. Anyway, parents found the cats and the babies' bodies, and jumped to the wrong conclusion.

It's rather like the theory that some cases of "overlaying" in cosleeping are actually SIDS deaths, and that the reason the mother's instincts allow her to roll onto the baby is because the baby has already died. Then she wakes up on top of the baby and everyone assumes she was responsible.
post #11 of 64
Scratching and/or dominance behavior can be an issue.

We have a good friend who recently had to find a new home for one of their cats after living happily together for more than ten years. One cat (shy one) and dog adapted well to the new baby and the other did not. There were several bad instances of deep scratches and cuts to the baby. It was very sad. The last time it happened they had to take the baby to the doctor-- it got infected.

The cat had been born on the street and a stray for a year or two before they adopted her. She viewed the baby as a serious, serious threat.

We found out about it from the husband who asked us not to bring it up. It was very, very hard for her. Luckily they found a new home that child-free.
post #12 of 64
3 cats. No real issues... They like to sleep with her, but not on her, and we cosleep, so they really just want in on the cuddling
One is a Siamese, closest thing to a problem is that she tends to start talking loudly as soon as DD falls asleep (as a PP mentioned ). Not always, but often.
Anyway, as other PPs have mentioned, they are generally more scared of the crying, or want to watch the new baby from afar. Once crawling/cruising/walking happen, mine seem to try to steer clear when she is 'hyper', but love playing with her and letting her pet them
post #13 of 64
2 cats, 1 baby, no problems. And one of our kitties, Sid, is REALLY hyper and playful, we always joke she is a dog in a cat's body, but both cats steered clear of dd until recently (she's 8 months now) when they are both testing out being close to her to see if she'll pet them!! They just want more attention and figure she's better than nothing! ha ha! If anything, she hurts THEM with all the hair pulling, tail pulling, and near eye poking...I'm trying to teach her to be gentle with the kitties, eventually she'll learn. But anyway, despite her overly enthusiastic affection toward the kitties they are very sweet and patient with her and just walk away when they're sick of her.
post #14 of 64
Honestly, I am more worried about my cat! Little ones just LOVE to pull cat's tails and ears! I think my cat will be scared when she hears the baby crying. She will probably run and hide for awhile, but may eventually warm up to her.

The only thing I'm worried about as far as the cat hurting the baby goes is her claws. I need to make sure to keep them trimmed down really well, because when baby starts grabbing she will probably react with swiping her paw at baby.
post #15 of 64
Cats can be a nuissance to newborns but not dangerous. I have three cats that can be really annoying and or demanding at times. We did not cosleep with dd1 so we put up a screen door so we could still see and hear in there but the cats couldn't get in. They'd do obnoxious things like lay in the crib as I was just about to lay the baby down or dig around in the closet and make a bunch or racket. Meow over and over again when I couldn't pick them up which would wake the baby. Nothing serious, but every ounce of sleep to me worth more than anything. With dd2 we coslept and our long hair cat would lay next to her. He moves his tail constantly like most cats and then it'd tickle her face. Another one liked to step ON her instead of go around and that of course woke her up. I couldn't kick them out of our bedroom so I just kept a squirt bottle next to our bed and if they tried to go in her side carred crib, I'd grab for teh bottle and they high tailed it out before I could even squirt them. The eventually learned.
post #16 of 64
Cosleeping is always the answer to such questions! That way you'll be there and know the cat won't accidentally smother the baby. Of course, it's probably a total myth, but I must say, one of our cats - the largest one - looooved to sleep curled around DS's head when he was a baby. Warm & cozy! He did sometimes shift around and flop his large butt over DS's face in a way I was not comfortable with...but I was right there. I did take the cat out of the room with me if I was stepping out.

Just for fun, a picture! Yellow baby, 2 days old. Orange cat, about 5 years old.
post #17 of 64
Two cats with my last two. The only issue we had was occasional scratching...because the kids, dd in particular, would pull on their tails. Even then, the cats almost always got up and walked away, rather than reacting.

I've heard this story many times, and have never heard any evidence to back it up. Total myth, imo. I think the cats are in more danger from the kids than the other way around!
post #18 of 64
Originally Posted by Limabean1975 View Post

Love this. I was just looking at pics of our DD as a newborn and our "old man" cat who is nearly 13 now sitting by her keeping guard. He has loved her since she was in the womb.
post #19 of 64
I had a cat (s) when all mine were nbs and never had a problem. It was kinda funny cause I have a crib that wasn't used for several mos while my youngest was a nb (used a bassinet and co slept at night) so the cat started to sleep in it instead of on the bed. I think she was smart - the kids couldn't bother her in there.
post #20 of 64
Originally Posted by TortelliniMama View Post
Those darn cats and their bread-collecting habits! What on earth is that supposed to be about?

Before ds was born, our cat loved sleeping in the crib, in the baby carseat, etc. After he was here, she gave those things a wide berth.
ROFLMAO!! on the bread/baby collecting cats

And our cat was the same: had to shoo her out of the car seat, crib etc repeatedly before baby arrived, but once dd was here, the cat just wasn't interested.

However, I wouldn't leave (sleeping) baby alone with a cat. or any other pet, I guess, unsupervised. (
Our cat used to love to sleep near our heads/faces (she isn't allowed in the bedroom any more now), so i wouldn't be 100% confident it was safe.

And recently my dd and my cat are getting along great: dd has been grabbing at the ears etc of the cat and the cat interprets this as petting/ear scratching and she loves it
Poor animal, has been getting a lot less spoiled since dd arrived. I feel so sorry for her!
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