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cat plus baby

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone.
I'm new to this site and wondered if anyone could help me.
My husband and I have a very beautiful, very loving and thoroughly pampered 2-year-old white torty called Meadow.
I'm almost 16 weeks pregnant with our first child and I'm concerned that once the baby arrives, Meadow will feel rejected - particularly as she currently sleeps on our bed every night and the major change we're going to have to make is keeping her out of our bedroom at night, as the baby will sleep in there for the first six months or so. To make matters worse, Meadow's second favourite place to sleep is in our spare room - but that's going to be the nursery, so we'll have to bar her from there as well.
Does anyone have any experience in these matters and advice on keeping your cat happy while keeping your baby safe?
Any thoughts gratefully received.
All good wishes, Meadow's mum
post #2 of 9
What I would do is to change NOW where you want the cat to sleep. If the spare room will be the nursery, then start keeping the door closed and set up another place for kitty to hang out.

I don't see why you need to ban the cat from your room even if the baby is sleeping in there for the first 6 months (IMO you don't have to do it for 6 months - maybe the first 2-3, but that's your decision). The cat will not bother the baby.

One thing to keep in mind that you always greet the cat first when you come home (at least for a few months). And if one of you is busy with the baby, the other entertain the cat at that time. Our cats always were part of my son's life from the time he was born. I even have pictures of him sitting on the sofa at 2-3 months old and a kitten coming to investigate

Also you might want to have some baby things (like powder, lotion, etc. sitting around open so the cat can get used to those scents. If you can before bringing baby home, have a small blanket that the baby's been wrapped in to bring home and let the cat smell it.

Just remember to keep the cat's nails clipped and the only other thing is not to let the cat sleep in the same bed as the baby. Other then that you don't have to worry.

As your baby grows, teach him/her how to properly pet the kitty and not to be pulling tails, ears, etc. My son was taught those things when he started crawling

And be sure the baby cannot get access to the litter box till he/she understands its NOT a sand box to play in
post #3 of 9
We showed the my grandaughter the day she came home. One of them just sniffed and was totally disinterested, and after nearly 2 years is still not interested in her. The other one licked her little toes and immediately started sleeping under her crib. He has never growled or scratched at her, even in the rare instance she has pulled his tail too hard. He just moves out of reach. Sometimes they will nap on the couch together, with her hand wrapped around his tail. If she is sitting on the couch, he will lay his head in her lap to be petted. He has been her guardian kitty since she started walking. If he does not want her to go somewhere, he will block her way. I think if Meadow is a good natured kitty, he will remain so with the baby.
post #4 of 9
First Congratulations on the new baby! Every day with a baby is wonderous and each day is better than the day before.

Our cat, Sheba, was nearly 14 when our son was born. Maybe we should have tried to get her used to the new scents before he came home, but we didn't. The day that we set up the crib though, she knew that things were going to change, and in her mind, it was all bad. She sprayed the corner of the room closest to the crib. Besides getting the carpet professionally cleaned, we called the vet for suggestions. She recommended blasting the room with pheromone spray, which we did. The result was that Sheba never ever walked into his room. I hadn't intended on that, but it really worked out well. We never had to worry about her jumping into the crib. (Although at her age, jumping wasn't much of a risk.) I would recommend some deterrent to keep Meadow from going into the room at all.

Sheba used to always sleep in our bed, and I don't remember what we did in the weeks that when our son was in the bassinette in our room. I remembered being concerned, but I don't remember what we did. It is possible that we locked her out for those weeks. No matter what you can't use a "co-sleeper" if there is any chance of the cat getting into the room; it is much too easy to jump into.

(That brings me to another issue. I strongly recommend that you re-think having the baby sleep in your room for 6 or more months. Remember, babies sleep thru the night in about 8 weeks, so you won't be needing to have the baby so close after then. Besides, by that age they have outgrown the bassinette, so you would have to set up the crib in your room after the 2nd month. At 6 months, the baby is used to a particular routine, and the transition is going to be much more difficult for the baby then if you had started out having the baby in the nursery. If you are thinking of having the baby is going to sleep with you, that is a really bad idea. Most importantly, it violates every rule on prevention of SIDS, unless you are thinking of the whole family sleeping w/o blankets and pillows.)

Overall, while Sheba never loved our son, she knew she had to tolerate him and she did. As for our son, having a cat was a wonderful experience. He learned compassion for animals, and how to "make nice" from the youngest age. He is also probably healthier. Children raised with animals are less likely to have allergies or breathing disorders. I am so happy that he had that experience.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for all your useful advice and suggestions. Regarding having the baby sleeping in a cot in our room for six months, that's the advice given by the department of health in the UK; from what you've said, I imagine the advice may be different in the US and I appreciate your comments as experienced mums. (I am drinking in information at the moment - you probably all remember that stage!) Thanks again.
post #6 of 9
Just curious on their reasoning why keep a baby in your room for 6 months - be interesting to hear
post #7 of 9
even places in the US say to keep your child in the same room with you up to a year.

Honestly, you'll see once the baby comes that it's not necessary to have them in your room that long. Honestly, it's better for the baby and your own sanity to teach him to sleep in his bed, in his room.

In the long run, things will be a lot easier. When I have another child, we're not going to keep the baby in the same room nearly as long.

As far as kids sleeping through the night at 8 weeks..that's if you are lucky. I was lucky to have mine sleep through the night when she was a month old but other babies go a year or more without sleeping through the night.

No advice on the cat and baby situation. We got our cats starting last year and our daughter was 4 already.
post #8 of 9
The first thing my Mom did after bringing me home as an infant was to sit down and introduce me to the resident cat and dog. They were allowed to smell me and Mom ran my hand over their fur. After that, they were my guardians - always under the crib when visitors came!

I read of one instance where parents installed a screened door to the nursery. That way kitty stayed out, but could still see and smell the baby.

Just don't ignore Meadow. Remember, he is your "furkid" and worthy of all the love and attention as before.
post #9 of 9
I agree with the above posters. Before my daughter came home, I had my husband bring a blanket home with her scent on it and throw it on the floor for my 2 cats to smell.

My 2 had no interest in being where the baby was and never tried to get in the crib. We do keep the door to the nursery closed just in case, though.

I would wait and see how your cat reacts. You may have no problems allowing her to still sleep in your bed even with the baby in a bassinet next to the bed. If you know you don't want her in the nursery, get her used to that now so she can find a new spot to be.
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