cat + baby = ?? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-11-2003, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are expecting our first baby in October. I have seen some posts on dogs and babies, but not much on cats and babies. Any advice on how to prepare our cats for the new arrival to our family very welcome.
We have 2 indoor/outdoor cats, and an assortment of mainly outdoor cats that we feed.
TIA,
Kathryn
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Old 08-11-2003, 05:56 AM
 
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Since your cats have each other, they will probably adjust well since their emotional needs will be met by each other. Just don't let them snuggle with baby or sleep in the bassinet. Cats shouldn't cuddle babies because they can smother them. We just got a kitty to keep the cat company and both cats and our baby love each other.
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Old 08-11-2003, 12:03 PM
 
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Both of our cats reacted differently, although they both avoided DS as much as possible. Arthur was so angry at us for bringing DS home, that he would not come anywhere near me for two weeks! He would sit on my mom's lap and glare at me across the room, and then one morning it was kind of like "I'm over it" and he was back to his usual self. Basil seemed her usually cheerful self the whole time, but then came down with a bladder infection after a few months (which she always gets when stressed...she hides her stress well though!)

The only thign I wish we had done was not let them in our bedroom a few weeks before DS was due. I think that was the hardest for them because all of a sudden they couldn't sleep with us. I also would have given them Rescue remedy. We use that with our greyhound to calm her down, and in hindsight I should have given it to our cats too!
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Old 08-11-2003, 01:38 PM
 
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We didn't really do anything to prepare the cats for our baby's arrival. We tried shutting them out of the bedroom during my pregnancy, but they got soooo annoying scratching at the door and meowing all night that we caved and decided to figure it out once the baby was here. Well, once we brought her home, there was no need to worry. The cats were all pretty much terrified of her, though two of them would (and still do) come running (with a really worried look on their faces) when she cries.

There was a short period where the cats would come near and try to snuggle between DH and DD, or to lie in the space above her head on the bed. That all stopped when she got interested in the cats and started grabbing. Now they at least tend to stay out of reach. Her squeals of delight at their presence are usually enough to scare them away, too, LOL.

It's gonna be fun around here when she gets mobile!
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Old 08-11-2003, 03:03 PM
 
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Cat + baby + crawling = kitty who is packing her bags as we speak.

Really, both of ours were somewhat curious about Gavin at first. They came up to sniff him a few times, but other than that, they avoided him like the plague. The sole exception is they think the co-sleeper is their own bed. Once Gavin started to roll over, I wanted to put him in that instead of on the bed just in case but I was having to wash the bedding EVERY OTHER DAY because they could not get the picture that it was NOT their bed. (We have really headstrong cats that don't "get it" even with the water bottle) Many a night I've woken up and attempted to reach over a sleeping baby to toss the kitty out of it.

Now that Gavin is crawling and having fun chasing them around the house, they want a new home. He doesn't quite get the concept of gentle petting, so when he finally reaches them he tends to grab their fur or grab/try to eat their ears. They then quickly run the opposite direction and make it a game to him chasing them around the room.

The only thing I really dislike about cats is the hair issue - which especially becomes an issue once the baby starts crawling. I can vacuum every single day and he still gets icky cat hair all over him, around his mouth, and yes, he does swallow some of it.
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Old 08-11-2003, 03:07 PM
 
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We have 2 kitties that are VERY attached to us.

We weren't mean but we would take some time and be a little rougher with them than we normally were. Not really pulling tails or hitting but petting rougher....does that make sense??

When we brought ds home form the hosiptal they sniffed his carseat and once he moved they stayed awa for about a month! Then ponce we had him sleeping in his own bed....he needed his space we walk in one morning to check on him and the girls were sleepingwith him!!

Now that ds is a toddler he is rough with them but we've never had a problem with jealousy or snipping or hissing.

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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Old 08-11-2003, 09:28 PM
 
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We brought our ds home three weeks ago after not preparing our two beloved cats (and one beloved dog) at all. All three animals are curious and interested about this new being in their midst but don't usually get too close. One cat is allowed to sleep on the bed - and still does. He makes tentative attempts to nest in the baby's space (between me and my partner) but backs off right away when we show him it's off-limits and finds a place at the foot of the bed. I don't have any worries about jealousy issues at all, though I do feel a bit bad that the cats are getting so much less attention - and there's no way around that right now, it seems.
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Old 08-12-2003, 01:11 AM
 
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When I was pregnant, we tried to start closing our bedroom door all the time so the cat couldn't get on the bed. He wasn't having that at all. He is used to getting his way and going wherever he wants. When the baby was born, I decided to leave the door open to see what he would do. I wanted him to at least get used to dd. At first he sniffed her a bit, but as soon as she moved or cried, he took off! He kept his distance for a few days, then finally came back to sleep at the foot of the bed. He seems to understand where his space is and where the baby's space is. Funny thing is, when he wants to get our attention (i.e. empty food bowl or dirty litterbox) he'll go sit on her blanket or stick his paw out at her. He doesn't every extend his claws or touch her and he only does it till he gets what he wants from us. DD is starting to grab at him now and he is pretty tolerant. He just looks at her and lets her go at it unless she grabs his tail-then he runs away.
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Old 08-12-2003, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the wonderful posts. One cat, Abby, will probably run away. The other cat, Kelly, is a bit dim and who knows what he will do. Neither like new people, but are super friendly with us. We cannot shut them out of the bedroom, but they mostly go outside at night so it shouldn`t be too much of a problem.
Now my biggest concern is our caregiver, introduced by a friend, I am praying she likes cats.
Kathryn
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Old 08-12-2003, 01:35 PM
 
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The only problem I've ever had with cats is that they might love him too much. Of my family's 7 cats; My mom has 2 that ignore him and one that is terrified of him and everything else, my brother has 1 who is mildly curious about him, Dh has one who is fond of him but in general prefers the dog, I have one that likes him alot and likes me alot smetimes he will try to sit on the baby while he is nursing so i can pet him more thuroughly. only one cat is dangerous to the baby. she has had kittens (3 of our cats are her sons) and she knows Lucien is a baby and tries to treat him accordingly. which means she ltries to lay on him and groom/nibble him. bless her heart she loves him so much but she can't come near him cause she might smother him....and she tries to nibble on him or groom him which hurts some.
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Old 08-12-2003, 03:20 PM
 
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Cat + Baby = ?? is right!! If ?? means

I thought that having a homebirth would not make the new baby such a shock, since I didn't just come home with it one day. I have 2 cats, a snooty Siamese and a mellow Angora. They have been my babies since birth so I knew it would be a transition...

Chill kitty was fine with the birth (kept trying to help the midwife) and was only freaked out by jerky baby limbs for about a day. After that he was his new best friend (not surprising because that is his temperment). Snooty kitty on the other hand.... let's just say his face has looked like this since the day ds was born. He hid for about a week, was skiddish for another, spent a few weeks tolerating the same room, and now has grown indifferent. He misses the attention but will tolerate the baby....kind of like when we got the dog. :

One thing that sucks is that he has taken to sleeping in all the baby's sleeping spots. I think it is because he thinks he'll get more attention if he goes where the kid goes. But he has *never* come close to ds while asleep. He's still to mad....
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Old 08-12-2003, 03:35 PM
 
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We unfortunately had to get rid of our cat. He just wasn't baby friendly....actually sometimes not even adult friendly!
It's sad really, because even though Noki was unpredictable we had him for just over a year and we still loved him. I didn't love him as much though after one incident. A friend of mine came over and for some reason Noki didn't like her. He was hissing and chasing after her...she had to hide in my closet. When I picked him up to put him in our bedroom, he stuck his claws into my face, very close to my eyes. He was also a biter at times, and drew blood that way a few times. We did get him neutered but that didn't help. We wanted to try everything before we got rid of him. We started letting him outside, that seemed to be the only thing that kept him calm, so he could let out his energy. When Jakob was born, we always watched very closely. He didn't seem to be bothered by the baby, actually kind of interested. But I had a friend come over with her 18 month old twins, and Noki went after one of them and came close to clawing him. We tried so many things with the kitty, but we gave him to the SPCA. Maybe they will find a no-child no-cat home for him (he despises other cats too). I wish I had a nice kitty like some of you! Oh well.

 

 
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Old 08-14-2003, 12:15 AM
 
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We have two dogs and an indoor/outdoor cat. I didn't really do anything to prepare the cat (Sabine) except talk to her a lot and tell her what was happening and what was going to happen. She has always been a little wild so I was a bit worried but tried not to let it bother me too much. Am I glad I didn't lose sleep over it because she really rallied. At first she looked annoyed (although no more annoyed than she would already get at the dogs) but she kept her distance and watched. I would constantly talk to her even though our touch/snuggle time was lessened since my dd needed to be held 24/7. Once my dd was on the floor, Sabine would go over to her and check her out. I CONSTANTLY worked on the "gentle" concept with dd towards petting the kitty and the dogs. Well, dd now 10 1/2 mo just LOVES the animals. Kitty, Mama and Dada are her first recognizable words and I can kind of make out her trying to say Sabine and dog. She is pretty good about petting them. Sabine has only swiped at her twice and it wasn't a vicious swiping, she left a few pricks on her arm - no slashing. I cleaned them with teatree oil and I think it helped dd learn to respect kitty.

Although the fur issue with two large dogs and a cat gets me down at times, I rarely worry about dd. I've heard it will help her from being allergic to animals later on. It means we are constantly battling hair in her mouth, on her sippy cup that's on the floor and on her toys but it seems to bother me more than her and it's worth it to see how much she enjoys the animals.
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