We adopted a kitten 3 weeks ago and things are going great. However everyone keeps trying to scare me that kittens/cats are not good with newborns. Everything from suffocation warnings, stealing baby's breath, and scratches is what people keep bringing up. Should I be worried? We had a cat when my brother was a baby (and he was a mean cat) but he never bothered with my brother. I am due in 2 1/2 weeks and I am getting concerned. Any advice? Any suggestions?
Amy WAHM to Elle 3/2/2004, Meadow 12/02/2006, Azaliah 4/09/2009, and Olive 09/23/2011. I have been married to my husband Bill since 2/22/03.....
Don't worry. I will not lie and tell you that cats are perfectly safe and docile animals who would never dream of hurting your baby, because the fact is that cats do have claws and will use them when they feel threatened or are miss treated by a baby pulling their tail, trying to hug them, poking them etc. But generally, most cats will swipe with one paw and run away to a safe distance (especially so since the baby will start wailing and cats don't like too much sound). If you have disinfectant at hand and some band aids scratching really isn't something to be overly concerned about since it is very, very, very rare that a wound gets seriously infected. Yes, of course you do not want your little one hurt. On the other hand...isn't it a good thing that the little one learns that when you treat a cat badly the cat will hurt you?
To make the claws less likely to pierce your little ones skin (and save your furniture in the process) you can always try soft paws if your economy allows. They are not all that expensive, but still a cost to factor with if you use them long term since they do need to be re-applied every now and again as they fall off with wear and tear. Soft paws are little silicone caps that you can apply to your cats claws (most people just do front paws) to make them softer and rubber like.
As for the rest...do these people warning you actually know of a real case where a baby has been suffocated by a cat? I don't know of a single one. I hope you don't either. And yet, there are lots of people who have newborns and cats. So even if there might be a possibility, the likely hood is extremely low if we look at statistics.
If you are truly worried, invest in a good baby monitor and just close the door so the cat cannot get into the nursery/bedroom unless you are also there to supervise the interaction.
All in all, I really can't see any reason to worry. Generally speaking, at least older cats pay very little attention to babies since they simply just aren't interesting. They cannot feed them, nor pet them, then what use are they to them?
Don't worry. Just use common sense and I am sure you will be fine.
After having my cat attempt to latch on, I felt so gross and my skin was crawling. I didnt sleep shirtless for weeks.
Other than that, all was good with our kitty and newborn. And now, DD chases him everywhere and is in love with him.
Holly and David
Adaline (3/20/10), and Charlie (1/26/12- 4/10/12) and our identical twins Callie and Wendy (01/04/13)
The story that a cat will try to suffocate a newborn IS AN URBAN MYTH! Cats will not suffocate a baby! In fact, they realize that your newborn is indeed a baby and thus does not know better when it pulls on the cat's tail. We went through the same thing when we had our daughter and people found out we had two cats. Our cats have never done anything to harm our now 1 year old daughter. In fact, when she is napping in our bed one of our cats will stay with her until she wakes up and then come and get me to tell me that the baby is awake. I never worry about my cats hurting her.
Most cats will generally wait until a child is old enough to learn and understand that the cat can be sharp and place a few well timed, even tempered swipes. Your child will eventually have to learn (likely the hard way) why you don't pull a cat's tail. It sucks, the child cries, you hug and kiss the child, and remind them that's why you don't pull an animal's tail, the child gets over it, and we hope that they learned their lesson.
Having animals with children is wonderful! It teaches the child compassion to not only other people, but also other living creatures. When the child gets older it will teach responsibility. And (sadly) it will likely teach a child how to mourn when the animal passes away.
We have two cats (& now 7 tiny kittens, but that's another thread). One cat LOVED the baby stuff before we had ds & I was a little worried but once ds arrived he gave him a WIDE berth. My cats have from day one avoided ds. Obviously different cats will react differently but in my experience it's not a worry.
As with all animals & babies you do need to watch them.
Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).
We've always had lots of cats,6 currently,and they never bothered or hurt my dc.I've always had very gentle cats,and taught my dc at a very early age how to pet them.When dd was born,we had a cat named Midnight.He loved snuggling up to my belly when I was pregnant,and when I brought her home,he would lay on me purring away while I fed her.Unfortunalty he passed away when she was about a month old. :( I've also coslept with my dc,and the cats.Dd or ds on one side,a cat or 2 or even 3 on the other(mostly Muldey,who passed away almost 7 years ago.I miss him so much. :( ).Baba,who we recently lost :( ,used to go in dd's playpen with her.She was less than a month older than him,so they basically grew up together.He would just sit or lay there and watch her play,happily purring.I never ever had a problem.I don't think they ever even scratched my dc,not on purpose anyway.They have all even put up with my 7yo neice,who carries them around,follows them everywhere,and just bugs the crap out of them.The poor kittens never get a break when she comes over lol!
People that tell you cats will suffocate your baby or steal its breath are not good sources of info about anything. How absurb! Have you ever heard on the news that a cat suffocated a baby. I looked it up on Google and couldn't find one case of a house cat killing a baby. People kill babies.
Sometimes a cat won't like a baby and the cat is so unhappy you have to rehome the cat. Some cats and toddlers aren't a good match. We always had a high place for the cats to go so they could have a break if they wanted to get away. You could get a tall cat tree or set things up so the cat can get on an entertainment center or dresser (but the toddler can't).
: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons
If you use a crib, cover it with something to keep the cat out at night or close the door with the cat outside. Also, when I was 6 or 7 we had a new kitten and I got scratched often and contracted cat scratch fever (yup- it's a real thing!) which caused me not to be able to turn my neck. I would certainly not get rid of the cat- just like anything else in life with babies, you just need precautions and thinking ahead. Get a hard-to-penetrate litter box :)
I had a frightening experience years ago when my DS was a baby. He coslept, usually against me with my arm around him. Being a paranoid new mom, I would frequently put my hand on his chest to make sure he was still breathing. Once in the middle of the night I put my hand on him, felt breathing and then slowly in my half asleep state realized I was feeling FUR! I simultaneously screamed and launched the cat across the room. DS was fine - he didn't even wake up when I screamed. I have no idea how long the cat was on top of him before I checked on him. The cat never tried it again. I'm sure she was startled by being suddenly airborn (but uninjured, good thing we have carpeting) This particular cat avoids babies when they are awake but will come up and lick their hair and face while they are sleeping. She was 3yrs old back then and is now 13.
I have a younger cat now too that makes me crazy by trying to sleep on top of my 3 yr old. We didn't get him until DD was 2 so I didn't have to worry when she was a newborn. As soon as DD goes down for a nap he is right there rolling around on her chest. This tends to wake her up so I usually have to put him in a bathroom while she naps (she naps on a pad in the family room so there isn't a door to close) When she is awake they are great buddies.
I have 2 other cats that do not ever bother sleeping children. (yes, that's 4 cats)
So, I would be cautious of cats around newborns until the baby is bigger and mobile.