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Cat and Newborn

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi-
I was wondering if any of you have experiences with a cat and your baby. I am due this month and we are having a 5-year-old, very affectionate cat. She is an outside cat but is mostly inside actually. She does sleep on top of our blankets in bed in the winter time and we need to leave the door open because we have the heater in the other room and it gets really cold in the bedroom.

I am guessing that the cat will decide by herself that she'll move out of the bed into a more quiet zone as I will be breastfeeding and picturing a lot more action at night which will be disturbing for her. But does anyone have experience with it? Will it regulate by itself? I know it sounds silly. Of course there is no doubt that baby and her safety will always be first but if you have a very social cat that really likes to hang out a lot you might know what I am talking about. Thanks, Maren
post #2 of 23
Our very affectionate cat adjusted fine. His routines really didn't change at all until our son was mobile. He was welcome to continue sleeping where he wished, although I make no special effort to protect him from my son-the cat has learned to move himself!!

The one thing my cat did do was try to sleep in my son's crib (he doesn't sleep there) and I discouraged this because it was getting cat hair everywhere and really bothered me. That is a personal preference however. Other then that they seem to live quite harmoniously together.
post #3 of 23
We have two very in-your-face Siamese cats and I also had concerns about our (then) newborn DS and the cats.

It really surprised us how little interest the cats had in DS. They actively avoided DS and DS's room. (We never allowed them in DS's room prior to birth or after.) We didn't co-sleep until 9 months so cats in the bed weren't a problem.

The male began to tolerate DS at around 3 years of age. Now they are buddies. The female has yet to come around and still avoids DS.
post #4 of 23
IME cats and newborns just ignore each other. Ours cats slept at our feet and, man, was that queen size bed crowded.

And there's not much funnier then a cat pretending to get away from a crawling baby.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks, that sounds very reassuring!! I am guessing our cat will look for a more quiet place as she gets annoyed when there is too much moving around or noise
post #6 of 23
My cats often chose to sleep with us at night. I made it very clear to them with body language/ telling them they were not to get near the sleeping baby, baby's spot, baby's bassinet (even though it was used very little). They went along with it and were just fine. Dd is now two and the cats still like to sleep in our bed, at our feet. I did shut them out of our room for a short period when she was a newborn though. Felt sorta mean, but everyone adjusted and they slept with the older kids/each other. I still won't let them near her when she's sleeping, and they avoid her like they still know. More because occasionally one will spook and take flight or they will start a spat in the bed at my feet, both of which has resulted in my feet being scratched. They can just stay the heck away from my baby, yk? Seems how your cat is an only and you can't shut your bedroom door I would probably invest in a couple of special baskets or blankets and put some cat nip on them to invite her to settle in in them, wherever in your room you'd feel more comfortable with the cat sleeping. At the foot of the bed, or on a dresser, or something. Cats like up high places, so a perch could be another possibility. If you're thinking of encouraging the cat to sleep elsewhere, I'd do it now, rather than wait. I'm one who just wouldn't feel comfortable with an animal thinking they could sleep beside a small baby. Though I'm sure it would likely be fine.
post #7 of 23
When my last baby was born, my cat was still a kitten and the place she loved to sleep most was right on my chest. So I was forced to share space with a nursling and a kitten which was awkward. If the baby was nursing....chances were the kitten wanted to get all up in that too...so i don't know if she was jealous or what. It's six months later and now the kitten is a cat and she could care less where she sleeps...her affection for me has waned and the baby is still nursing.

I have had other cats that could care less about a new baby, this was the first one I actually had to "share" space with.

I did have a cat that loved to sleep in the crib with my very first baby. It drove my DH nuts...I didn't care if she slept with the baby or not. That was the first and only time I have used a crib so now that we co-sleep it's an all for one, any space is available sort of thing.
post #8 of 23
I have 3 cats and they have never been an issue with the baby. My male cats like to sleep with us and they like to take turns sleeping with the baby before DH and I go to bed. It's never worried me a bit and dd actually sleeps BETTER when there's a cat with her! My female just ignores her for the most part.
post #9 of 23
Moving to LWAB
post #10 of 23
We had 2 cats when our baby was born. One - I knew was going to be smart about - she ignored the baby, she is just generally a more intelligent cat and I have no issues having her sleep right next to the baby.

The other cat is what I called social maniac. He doesn't understand "No", and would always cuddle on our dog's head, which is fine with dog, but would not work with our baby. We gave the cat a chance, until he got too demanding. Among other things he tried to hang over the baby to get his mobile toys that were dangling from baby's swings, etc. To make the story short, we gave that cat away to our friend, and I am so much more relaxed now. The cat is happier now - he gets ALL the attention his social self needs. You should have a feeling about your cat too... give him a chance and see how it goes.
post #11 of 23
We have a cranky, but very social cat, and I was worried about how she'd react to the baby. We wondered if we'd be able to keep her -- she tended to nip and scratch with little provocation, and she hated everyone except DH and me, who had raised her from a kitten. She has scratched a lot of guests who tried to make friends with her over the years.

The results?
  • She was terrified of the infant car seat, because it was made of the same kind of plastic as her cat carrier, and slunk away in horror.
  • She didn't like it when the baby cried, and would hide in my closet.
  • She slept with us, and would sometimes attack my ankles when I came back to bed in the middle of the night after nursing -- this was a drag!
  • Never got near enough to touch the baby, although she did some cautious sniffing.
  • Once the baby was mobile, mostly avoided her but would allow gentle petting. If the baby scared her, she'd do that "I'm going to smack you!" pantomime with one paw to warn her off, but she never hauled off and scratched the baby.
  • The "baby" is now eight years old, the cat loves her (though not as much as she loves the grown-ups) and will rub up against her legs, and she totally adores the cat. I think she's gotten minor scratches twice in her life. The cat seems to have in some mental category of "Human, so I want her to pet me, but a kitten, so I have to be more gentle with her."

So, even a kind of rotten cat (much beloved, though) can turn out fine with an infant!
post #12 of 23
We have four cats, and I've been really impressed with how they handle our little guy. They mostly ignore him, but when they do interact with him, I really think they view him as a hairless kitten. They love to take naps with him on the couch, and I am careful not to leave him alone with them or let them sleep on top of him. He thinks they're pretty fun, too. Now that he's almost crawling, I foresee lots of counter and table time for them, though.

I would encourage you to try to spend some time with your cat after the baby arrives; it'll be a big adjustment, and a little love can help smooth out the transition. I worked at an animal shelter for a year before having our son, and I saw more than one cat brought in by new parents. If your cat does have adjustment issues, there are resources that can help. Feel free to PM me and I can try to run them down for you.

Congratulations, and sending you easy labor vibes!
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks!
Are you German Trauerweidchen? Hope our cat will adjust well!
post #14 of 23
Our cats started sleeping over our heads on the pillows with no bother as soon as Lina joined us in bed. They'll also lay on the other side of dh some times, and will lay along side Lina (started around 6months old, I think) but move ASAP if she stirs.

Lina's first 'word' was the tongue clicking we use to call the cats. The first thing we actively taught her how to do was to use an open hand when she pet the cats. (Starting by holding her hand open and guiding her to do nice petting when she went to pummel them. Ending with an occasional "yes! open hands" as we observe her petting them nicely.)
post #15 of 23

I had cat worries too

I have a bengal cat who loves being right in your face. He actually likes when you blow in his face and a few other really wierd things, but I was soo scared he would get in our babies face and suffocate her. So what we did was got him his own cat bed and started having him sleep in there. He also moved to his own room so at night he sleeps in there with the door shut. At first he had a hard time adjusting to it, but now he actually puts himself to bed. I dont know if thats an option or if you are even really worried about the cat in your LO's face, other than that though during the day when i have her laying on the floor playoing with her toys he might come sniff her but is pretty spooked by her. Good luck and congrats.
post #16 of 23
We have 2 cats - one was very interested in the baby and the other could not care less. The friendly one rubs up on the baby all the time and purrs so loudly when she is around. Its really sweet! The other cat just goes about his life as if there were no children in the house.

I think the best thing to do is make sure you pay a little attention to the cats even when the baby arrives. It is amazing how overwhelming new parenthood can be and you may not even realize how little time you are spending with your pet. I try to make it a point to pet the cats whenever I have a free hand.
post #17 of 23
I am not sure if someone above mentioned this, but we bought a crib tent. We have a very affectionate and curious burmese cat who absolutely needs ot get into everything and everywhere. We also didnt have a baby room and had the crib in our bedroom AND we lived in a loft so no doors to keep the cat out (even with doors she meaws so loudly you have to let her in eventually). The moment we installed the crib (pre-baby) the cat jumped in and made herself cumfy. We knew we could not take the chance so I bought a crib tent on-line ($70) and this kept the kitty out until I was sure the cat wanted nothing to do with the baby. Now kitty knows which things belong to baby and stays away on her own, so I removed the crib tent as it was sort of unsigtly. I hear these things are also good at keeping bosterous todlers IN their cribs too
post #18 of 23
IME how the cat acts when you are pregnant is how she'll act toward the baby. We had two adult cats when I was pregnant with dd1. One cat ignored me completely (thinking "WHAT is up with her belly????") but the other one - every time I sat down - did what we called "hatching the baby". She would sit on my lap, facing me, and put her front paws around my pregnant belly, laying over it. It was hilarious, and very much resembled a mama bird trying to hatch a chick. Baby would kick sometimes, and cat was fine with it. Dd1 was born, and the first cat ignored her completely, never really coming around. "Hatching" cat was her BEST friend and we have the most darling pix of her UNDER the baby's blanket on the floor with her. This cat loved her when she was in utero, and loved her when she was out.

Our cats (we've had five over the years, never more than two at a time) have always been fine with the kids - when they were babies/toddlers/older kids. But I am very careful to teach the kids to be gentle and read the cats' cues for when they don't want to be picked up, etc.
post #19 of 23
We have two cats, and had two completely different experiences with them. Our Siamese was VERY atten tive to the baby at first, coming to us whenever he cried and such. She was our kitty babysitter! And now she could care less!

And our other cat disappeared to the basement and we didn't really see her except for at mealtimes for the first 6 weeks. Now she tries to cuddle up to him, or stand on him while I'm nursing and I caught her licking the top of his head yesterday :P

I kind of liked it when they ignored him, because I didn't have to worry about leaving him alone in one room while I ran off to throw in a load of laundry/etc. Now I have to worry about the one cat going to sit on him.

So you can never tell how your cat will respond! Just keep your eyes on them at first...
post #20 of 23
Please just put thought into introductions between your cat and your baby. With my first baby, we were so worried about doing everything right with introductions with the dog, that we didn't even think about the kitties. The day we took my son home from the hospital, he was two days old and we had him on the changing table-- he was crying--and one of our two cats came in the nursery (without us noticing) and jumped right up on the changing table (out of curiosity about the sound of the crying I'm sure)...I think out of complete fear he basically went into attack mode. This cat is very outgoing and full of personality, but we had never had issues with him attacking us or being violent prior to that. We had to take my son to the emergency room because of a cut on his head (luckily that and a small scratch on his hand was all he sustained). It was an awful thing; I was beside myself and cried for an entire day straight...I really wanted to get rid of the cat for a few weeks after that, but with a little more time he adjusted just fine. My son was totally okay, and loves both of our cats. It was totally our fault for not doing a better job of introducing them.
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