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Human babies and cats :D

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
This is a little off-topic, but I like this forum so Im asking here
My husband and I are trying for a baby at the moment, so *fingers crossed* I may be pregnant soon. Ive read up about toxoplasmosis, and bought the plastic gloves etc for when Ill be cleaning out the litter box. My 3 kitties are all indoor only, so there's limited risk with that. My question is - is there anything else I need to know about cat care during pregnancy/birth?

My cats are all facesleepers/backsleepers and I don't want them sleeping on the baby - Is there such a thing as a screen/net you can put over a crib? Do I need to lock the cats out of the bedroom when the baby is sleeping? Do babies have allergies to cats - and if so does less exposure to them in the first months help?

My friend gave away her cats when she got pregnant because she was worried about all of the above. I wont do that, I love my kitties to bits, and Im more than happy buying/making provisions so that the cats and baby can live in harmony. My gynecologist is giving me all the pro-baby/anti-cat advice, which is fine, but I feel like its not really as 'dangerous' as he's making out, and I imagine plenty of you have had children whilst keeping your cats.

Any words of advice would be appreciated Sorry if I'm being silly.
post #2 of 25
I'm no expert, so hopefully some one who has gone through this will be able to help, but I wanted to say congratulations and good luck! My husband and I are going to start trying in September, so I'm on pre-natal pills and all now! Making me very impatient. You have to keep us updated as things progress.

Because we aren't trying yet, we're just starting to look in to the exact same things you asked. This is what we have so far:

I will not be changing litter boxes! Since I am the one that cleans them most now, I've already told him he has to from the time we start trying.

There are nets you can put over cribs. I have a friend who just had a baby last year who also has a cat. She started with the net, but her cat pretty much ignored the baby, so it didn't last for a month! I hope my cat will be the same way. We will probably start the baby in our room, and since Evie sleeps with us, we can't lock her out! So we'll probably start with some sort of net, too.

I know babies do get allergies, but don't how to minimize them. That's next on our research list! Let me know if you find any good info.

Whatever you do, don't listen to your doctor! I can't believe he'd say something like that. I think if mine does that (we have our first appt the 19th!), I'll find a new one! My kitty came first, I would never get rid of her just because. Now, if the baby is deathly allergic, I'd have to consider it, but it would break my heart!!
post #3 of 25
Unless you are feeding the cats raw meat, its unlikely for them to get toxo. (mainly from raw meat or mice).

Try to get your DH to do the litter pans, but use the gloves if he won't.

As far as the cats in the crib, you may want to look into taking down the nursery door and putting in a screen door. That way the cats can watch, but baby will be safe. I would NOT put netting over the crib.

Most cats don't get too close to babies for the first few months. But on the flip side, as your child starts to crawl - you must teach them how to pet cats properly and stress NO pulling of ears, tails, poking the cat, bothering when eating, etc.

My son was taught all that when he was crawling and was very gentle with the cats/kittens because of that. Forget the old wive's tales - my son was 13 days old and was attending his first cat show (me showing my cats)
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Just out of interest - why wouldn't you use a net over a crib? I think we'd have the baby in our bedroom when he/she is a newborn, and our cats all sleep on our bed, so ideally, Id like something to keep them off the crib without being kept out of the room..
post #5 of 25
Well IMO the net would NOT hold back the weight of the cat and if they jumped up there, they could hurt themselves or the baby. And it would act more like a hammock. The screen door is a better alternative IMO.
post #6 of 25
Yeah, I would never just drape a net over the crib. The one my friend had seemed great, wish I could find it online! It wasn't draped over, it was more like a curtain that went all the way around... So if a cat did jump on it and pull it off, it would end up on the floor around the crib, not in it...

The problem I seen with that type was if the cat figured out a way around it. Curtains aren't hard to get around, and Evie is good at getting to our windows! If I remember right (only seen it once), it was on something like a curtain rod above the crib and one below, so it couldn't just be lifted up...

I do like your screen door idea, Goldenkitty, and may use it after the baby moves to the nursery, but since we want to start any baby in our room and Evie sleeps in there, it wouldn't work for the first few months!

Sorry, Jennywhite686, if I hijacked your thread!!
post #7 of 25
Jenny, here is a link to another thread about this issue.

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...ht=cats+babies

I believe that if you raise a child with animals (and there have been some statistics that seem to prove it to be so), there is less likely they will have allergies. I for one believe this as I was raised in a rural area on a farm with pets, hay, etc., etc. and none of us have allergies and I don't recall any single kid in our whole school or community that suffered from allergies.

I also was fortunate enough to have a doctor that told me to not listen to people with their horror stories about cats and babies. The one concession we made (at his suggestion) was that my husband did the litter duty while I was pregnant.

You'll see my comments in the above thread.

Enjoy your pregnancy and your new baby and give the cat(s) attention as well and you'll have a wonderful blended household IMO.
post #8 of 25
All I can say is that if you garden or cook meat then you more then likely have already been exposed to it and are not at risk. I learned a lot about this at the Veterinary Conference I went to a few months ago and having just moved I don't have my papers and notes handy... I will try to find them.
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen View Post
All I can say is that if you garden or cook meat then you more then likely have already been exposed to it and are not at risk. I learned a lot about this at the Veterinary Conference I went to a few months ago and having just moved I don't have my papers and notes handy... I will try to find them.
Yes, my doctor told me that since I had the cat for awhile, my body would have already built up any immunities to anything she might have which would in turn be passed on to my baby in the womb and through breast-feeding.
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Urrgh Im getting cross now because my doctor made me feel like a bad mommy-to-be for not throwing my cats into the street and never seeing them again. I think I might just replace him, now you've all confirmed he was being overly dramatic. Ive been tested for toxoplasmosis immunity and it came out negative (I have an auto-immune disorder, I dont pick up immunities easily), so Ill be careful/get my hubby to do litter. Thanks for calming me down
post #11 of 25
Also for inspiration here there is a gorgeously happy family with a baby and 3 or 4 abys that post their photos on flickr.

Here are links to a few of theirs. If I'm having a bad day just looking through these always makes me smile. There's suck warmth coming through the photos.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/4abys/506601737/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4abys/1...7600245797353/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4abys/1...7600245797353/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4abys/2...7600245797353/

Good luck with the new baby coming and your cats
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Unless you are feeding the cats raw meat, its unlikely for them to get toxo. (mainly from raw meat or mice).

Try to get your DH to do the litter pans, but use the gloves if he won't.

As far as the cats in the crib, you may want to look into taking down the nursery door and putting in a screen door. That way the cats can watch, but baby will be safe. I would NOT put netting over the crib.

Most cats don't get too close to babies for the first few months. But on the flip side, as your child starts to crawl - you must teach them how to pet cats properly and stress NO pulling of ears, tails, poking the cat, bothering when eating, etc.

My son was taught all that when he was crawling and was very gentle with the cats/kittens because of that. Forget the old wive's tales - my son was 13 days old and was attending his first cat show (me showing my cats)
I had my doc test me for toxo too and I don't have the immunities but since both my cats are indoor only and I've had them both at least 3 years and they never get out it's not a big deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jennywhite686 View Post
Urrgh Im getting cross now because my doctor made me feel like a bad mommy-to-be for not throwing my cats into the street and never seeing them again. I think I might just replace him, now you've all confirmed he was being overly dramatic. Ive been tested for toxoplasmosis immunity and it came out negative (I have an auto-immune disorder, I dont pick up immunities easily), so Ill be careful/get my hubby to do litter. Thanks for calming me down
Ya, I'd certainly be looking for a new Dr. I will never understand people who can and do toss pets aside like that. When I talked to my Dr. instead of trying to scare me (BTW: cat's don't steal your breath while you sleep either ) we had a nice chat about cats as he's an "owner" too and understands that they aren't just animals or pets to us... they are family.
post #13 of 25
As soon as we got our first cat last year everyone was like it'll suffocate your baby you better be careful!

I was livid, how can someone believe that a cat smells milk on the baby's breath and like hovers over and suffocates the baby. Hubby and I go through 3 gallons of milk a week, I have yet to have a cat lay on my head and smell the milk.

My aunt was like buy nets for the cribs.

It's just gonna get worse as hubby and I are starting to plan the whole having kids thing (aren't truly sure I can have kids myself so we have some planning to do).

Leslie
post #14 of 25
I know this is late, but I just had to add my story. The doctor I first visited after finding out I was pregnant said something along the lines of "try to avoid contact." I was like, uh, these are my beloved pets you are talking about that I live with in a little condo. Obviously not a cat person. He also didn't seem overly knowledgeable about the subject and I had to ask to be tested for immunity. I'm changing doctors though. (He also got my due date wrong!!).
post #15 of 25
My neighbour has a Burmese and a Siamese. She just had a preemie baby in July and her cats have total access to both her 18 month old and her preemie and there are no problems.

As my family doctor said to me - he wished people would mind their own business and stop telling pregnant women scary junk.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
As my family doctor said to me - he wished people would mind their own business and stop telling pregnant women scary junk.
Amen! I'm lucky enough to have a cat loving doc. Although we were joking about some of the scary crazy things people say and this still gets me. One woman asked about raising her arms above her head because someone told he it would suffocate the baby!
post #17 of 25
Anent allergies, I have read that one of the reasons that more kids are developing childhood allergies is that parents are so intent on sterilizing/disinfecting everything that isn't nailed down that the baby's immune system doesn't learn to distinguish between harmless and harmful substance, so goes into overdrive.

Hence, early exposure is more likely to acclimitize the baby's immune system to the cats than the reverse.

Farm children seldom have asthma or allergies, and this theory would explain why.
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zane's Pal View Post
Anent allergies, I have read that one of the reasons that more kids are developing childhood allergies is that parents are so intent on sterilizing/disinfecting everything that isn't nailed down that the baby's immune system doesn't learn to distinguish between harmless and harmful substance, so goes into overdrive.

Hence, early exposure is more likely to acclimitize the baby's immune system to the cats than the reverse.

Farm children seldom have asthma or allergies, and this theory would explain why.
I've always believed this to be true and having been raised on a farm in a farming community confirms it. Not one of us or our friends have any type of allergy. There was an article in the Toronto Star just yesterday about this very thing. There have been some new studies that apparently support the introduction of things such as peanuts as young as 9 months (I assume peanut butter or the like rather than whole peanuts). The study used two like groups of babies and the ones introduced to the peanut products young had no allergies whereas the group that did not have the peanut products had around an 80% allergy rate.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
There have been some new studies that apparently support the introduction of things such as peanuts as young as 9 months (I assume peanut butter or the like rather than whole peanuts). The study used two like groups of babies and the ones introduced to the peanut products young had no allergies whereas the group that did not have the peanut products had around an 80% allergy rate.
don't know about that... my nephew who's allergic to peanuts had peanut butter fairly young - his mom let him have a bite of her PBJ sandwich & ended up taking him to the emergency room. i know he was under 2 years old at the time.
most of my food allergies are to foods i used to eat quite often.
post #20 of 25
I have 4 children and have always had cats. I have always changed the litter box as well...my DR. said that because I have had cats all my life, I probably already have immunities built up and that it is fairly rare that they actually see it. It's one of those things they have to disclose because someone got it and they don't want to be held liable (sp?). My cats are pretty good to stay away from my baby (2 mo), she is scary and noisey I just limit their access to the nursery. BTW, my kids are not allergic to anything and very rarely get sick.
We used to joke that germs were our friends. People are way to worried about everyday things and in response to that there are new strains of viruses popping up every day!
post #21 of 25
To be on the safe side, ask your husband to clean the litter box... That is really the best way to prevent toxo, besides giving up on the kitties, which is, well, just not an option for a cat lover...
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by carolinalima View Post
To be on the safe side, ask your husband to clean the litter box... That is really the best way to prevent toxo, besides giving up on the kitties, which is, well, just not an option for a cat lover...
But for some of this it isn't an option. If I left it up to DH to clean the box Frankie would be peeing everywhere. Besides, if you educate yourself and get tested, then the risk is almost non-existent. Life in general is al about calculated risk.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
don't know about that... my nephew who's allergic to peanuts had peanut butter fairly young - his mom let him have a bite of her PBJ sandwich & ended up taking him to the emergency room. i know he was under 2 years old at the time.
most of my food allergies are to foods i used to eat quite often.
There will always be exceptions. I think the study was showing more the rule than the exception.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AMYSCRAZY View Post
I have 4 children and have always had cats. I have always changed the litter box as well...my DR. said that because I have had cats all my life, I probably already have immunities built up and that it is fairly rare that they actually see it. It's one of those things they have to disclose because someone got it and they don't want to be held liable (sp?). My cats are pretty good to stay away from my baby (2 mo), she is scary and noisey I just limit their access to the nursery. BTW, my kids are not allergic to anything and very rarely get sick.
We used to joke that germs were our friends. People are way to worried about everyday things and in response to that there are new strains of viruses popping up every day!
We were the same - as kids we had mumps and measles but rarely if ever even caught a cold after tobogganing and skating on the pond with snow soaked clothing. I do think folks these days are far too concerned about germs and need to let our bodies build up natural immunities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carolinalima View Post
To be on the safe side, ask your husband to clean the litter box... That is really the best way to prevent toxo, besides giving up on the kitties, which is, well, just not an option for a cat lover...
I also could not count on my husband to do the litter box. Keeping a pair of rubber gloves for litter duty and washing hands (and gloves while you still have them on) after doing litter duty would probably be quite safe.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
I also could not count on my husband to do the litter box. Keeping a pair of rubber gloves for litter duty and washing hands (and gloves while you still have them on) after doing litter duty would probably be quite safe.
That's what I do... with a dust mask.
post #25 of 25
Yes, scientists have determined that being raised with a cat or dog in the house makes children *less* likely to be allergic to them. That's because new babies' immune systems calibrate to their environments early on, deciding that whatever is regular in their environment is "normal."

And I agree with everyone else that there's no cause to worry. Of the babies I know who were born into houses with pets, it seems like "cat" or "dog" or the name of the pet is often their first word... because they're so enamored of the family pet.
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