My mother in law always is telling a story how while living in the country she would walk in one day into her baby
room and there was a baby in the crib with a cat sleeping on his belly.
I have no reason beliving otherwise but that did not stop me from having a baby in the face of two
our beloved pre-baby kitties :)
So.. you might consider this:
- Those stories might be true but!!!! and there is a BIG BUT! to it.. they are usually old right? because we have heard them from people who are not young to begin with?..
in case of other countries then USA, cats are usually smaller, much much smaller.. here everything is big! so I gather it is possible that a little cat could jump and fit
on the top of a baby. Take Europe, the cats there are on average 1/2 of an american cat and 1/4 of a main coons ::) So small cat could see a benefit of lying on a
big baby. Here you got a big cat and relatively small baby protected by the fanced crib that is RATHER big.
- Cats do look for warm spots.. and in Europe homes are kept colder and espeically in the villages? wow.. take England they still don't use heat in winter
hahaha.. so maybe those cats did seek for warm spots out of desperation?
- Now, in Europe and other cultures people do keep even nowdays babies in very unprotected settings.. a bed, a craddle..
while here a baby usually sleeps in a Fort Knox for a crib situation. Cat is hardly interested to go through the measures to break IN into such a contraption
when he has a cozy fulffy comforter on the top of your bed where nobody and nothing squirms and fusses underneath.
Now how was it with us? My journey thourhg fears, thoughts emotions and facts on having a baby while two cats were already happily living with us:
- letting cats go was NOT an option.
- we have HUUUUUUUGE two Maine Coon cats and a stray short hair domestic and a bird.
- I was going NUTS worrying how am I going to do all this when the baby comes - how to keep baby safe.
When the baby came:
- Cats were FRICKED out totally! the saw this thing in the crib and never seen a baby before.
I gather they had problem getting it figured it out at firs what is it? A bald cat? a dog, a human?
Did not resembled anything specific? It did not TAlk or walk or loooked like humans they knew! hahaha
'So they arched and sniffed and walked and grawled.. two otherwise happy and relaxed and really calm cats..
they were trying to protect the territory... well not all cats are alike but also not seeing baby explained to me.
I take things at face value and I wa prepared for some transitional period so it was all cool.
- After lots of attention to them and reassurence they are loved and hugged just the same,
and while they watched EVERY baby's move and our actions they quickly figured out that
the baby was NOT a threat, NOT an intruder, NOT anothe cat and that they have to
respect it as it was one of those DON"T touch things. They chilled quickly and relaxed and went
about their business... while they learned to be protective about the baby, when the baby
cried one cat tried to bring his body close so baby could pet as the she cat figured she needed
some contact .. and the he cat would come sit and meow with the baby and tried
to help us to calm crying baby, you really could see him trying to be helpful and on stand by with us.
- That all was nice but I am not stupid :) a cat is a cat and I heard the stories too you know :)
so my natural motherly instinc told me to protect and not to trust. So I did. We kept door
closed at all times for the night and when we were not around the baby, and ALWAYS checked
the room for cats before leaving the baby in a room by herself, as simple as that.
- I also got a contraption, the crib top that protect a baby from the cats, let me see if I can look up online
to give you an idea.. hold on.. I just googled "crib tent" and voila:
so you see you are not the first or the last having this concerns. I would say it is smart thing to do
to trust but protect regardless of the trust.
- NOw bear in mind that you don't have to do it forever because no self respected child will
put up with a cat sleeping or tyring to sleep on him.. so pretty much the age of post SIDS is
when you can stop worrying. as a child develops natural ability to Do something when
he can't breath so a child would just turn around and shake cat off I suppose.
My daugher was a light sleeper so forget about a cat getting int her crib unnoticed hahaha.. yeah. good luck.
Still.. the tend was on.. and we protected.. now, it scared the poop out of my little one.
I would put the tent on she would wake up and see it and she would think it is some sort of danger
she would cry like crazy..
so? off it went. back to just closing the door.
I actually tried this old time trick as I always do training a cat or a dog. I was exposing
cats to a sleeping baby as much as I only could and as soon as they were approching
I would teach them NO in a firm but kind words and yet I would take them away
and hug.. so they would get the message and plenty of practice that they can't go
near sleeping baby. Maine coons do love to watch.. so soon they
got upgraded for good behavior and when I nursed or baby napped near me they could
sit and observe the baby to their delight :) I think they felt more like gards to them
then a predators really.
So later a bab grew into a toddler.. and the cats do stay away from toddlers :)
average cat and average toddler that is.. as in.. cat who is not too fzzy wazzy..
and all over the perosn as my cats were, and my daugher who was full fledgetd
energetic "I am gonna get you Jinxy and ride on you" kind of kid :)
so they stay away quickly and often :) let alone at night.
NOw another thing.. It is rather hard for a heavier cat to jump into the crib
and I can't even imagine our cats doign any such a tries. They could but
they would not. They easily could do the coutnertops in the kitchen
but crib is tough for landing :) and they don't really like this kind of challenge,
I could never see them going for the safty baby gate either, they would drive me
nuts to sit and meow to let them in out in out in out in out.. so I got
a baby gate with a baby gate in it :) http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=10957722
my only regret? waiting toooooo long.
the same thing.. I did buy pet door to the bedroom door.. so cats could get in while the door was closed
if we choose to do so.
So bottom line: you can make it work, not much extra effort really just being generally smart to it
and cooperating. In my opinion it is rather those overly friendly cats that could try ;and lie on your
little baby who would sleep without moving if wa sput on the bed.. case but if you have
a cat that is not too friendly to begin with.. you should be good to begin with. Cats are very
self respecting and they stay away from things that are not friendly towards them.. and baby
is noisy, they all are.
Having a cat around a baby is a blessin in many ways. It is something else then just humans,
it is cute, it is furry.. you know that furr develops child's brain? I mena touching soft cozy objects
it is.. yeah, official studies have been done! so petting a cat totally smart thing to do.
It is not that you will have another child next day anyway so till then the cat is that another kid
to your kid, it i is something to observe, socialize if possible or even just learn about it..
cat is best toy ever, no batteries needed. kids who grow with pets learn respect
and space and all that stuff.. and compassion.
Now few years later - if I ever had to do it agian, I would not give it a second thought.
It is doable, it is easy. Dogs are much worse, they bark and they can bite.
Cat oh.. clip his nails frequently so he can't scratch bu never declaw! your baby
nor cat's baby :) no babies ever should be declawed.
always give cat reassurance of love, speak softly and pet one time cat one
time baby and tell him how good kitty he is..oh what a great sens of security
to them it is.
they are smart.
My daugher now can't imagine life without a cat. It is like a siblings to her
and it is just a life of happiness.
oh and btw.. that thing with clothes from the hospital and smells..
don't bother.. cat won't get any association of smell with what is coming
untill he sees it.. then you could do it but otherwise is just waste of time
they still need to go therough the phases of getting used to it all
and seeing the source of smell is much better for the cat then
just smelling a diaper or cloth not knowing what the heck it came from..
Old thread, but I had to brag about my feral born cat...
He loved our babies. (He will still come running when he hears toddler/kid voices in the house--while he slinks away and hides if he hears adults!) He used to help put them to sleep (lay down on my restless boys' legs and purr so loudly and make cute 'mama cat' chirping noises at them if they squirmed--until they had to hold still for a couple of minutes and would then crash). He played with them and their baby toys and the dollhouses and Rescue Heros and still plays with their legos (with and without the kids). When they transitioned out of the family bed and into their own, he was always there to cuddle whoever needed him to sleep. He let 3 babies/toddlers pull at his ears/tail, gnaw on him while teething, grab handfuls of hair--and whenever I rescued him and picked him up and moved him he'd struggle to get out of my arms so he could be right back with "his kittens". Even now he cries at night if someone is missing because of a sleepover, and cries during the day the first 2 weeks that the kids go back to school. If the kids are watching TV or playing games, he is cuddled up with them. I already get teary eyed just thinking about what a huge loss it's going to be for all of us when he dies eventually (he's 11 now but I'm hoping he's going to be one of those 20 year old cats)! He's been the star of many preschool drawings and elementary school writing projects. He's been stuffed into doll clothes, worn costume jewelry, has had glitter glue and paint spilled on him, has "played" pokemon and scrabble with the kids, been a sidekick and a superhero (complete with paper/fabric costumes). He has dried almost as many tears as I have over the years (my oldest is 10).
I do think that Oliver is a very usual cat, but when you have a cat that loves your kids and kids that absolutely adore your cat, it is a beautiful, unbeatable thing. See, I am getting teary eyed just writing this (with Oliver purring away in my lap!)
I had 4 cats aged 10, 9 and 6 yo when DS1 was born. All 4 slept on my bed. They didn't seem to notice him until he was old enough to start grabbing at them when they got near. Then they mostly stayed out of his reach. His first word was "kitty." He was smitten with them from the start. I heard those stories about "stealing the baby's breath" etc but never believed them for a minute. I knew my cats and knew such tales were not possible.