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could a cat accidently sufficate a baby?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I just saw a thread about the old wives tale about a cat "stealing someones breath". (I`d always heard it that they could steal a BABY`S breath)
Just wondering if it would be possible for a cat, smelling the milk on a baby`s breath, then settling down to sleep against the baby`s face....could the tale have come from something like that accidently happening? (Esp a tiny newborn that could`nt move it`s face away????
post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by stampit3d
I just saw a thread about the old wives tale about a cat "stealing someones breath". (I`d always heard it that they could steal a BABY`S breath)
Just wondering if it would be possible for a cat, smelling the milk on a baby`s breath, then settling down to sleep against the baby`s face....could the tale have come from something like that accidently happening? (Esp a tiny newborn that could`nt move it`s face away????

you know, i never would have thought so til i catsat my grandkitty sheldon! i started the thread you mentioned, and while i instinctively will move either him or my head away so that i can breathe when he lays on top of my face,
i would think its quite possible that a cat could get on top of a baby or close enouuhg to its face and depending on the age of the baby, the baby would not be able to move away and could suffocate.

i have never heard of this happening but most people i know who have cats and a baby, put a screen door on the baby's room so that the cat can not get in at night, and they never leave the baby unsupervised during the day. (which no one does with an infant anyway)
its probably not really likely to happen, but with babies you want to take all the precauctions you can to keep them safe.
thats one thing you do not want to learn the hard way!

if someone has a baby and has any worries about this, they probably should speak to the pediatrician. they have seen everything and would know what the most sensible precautions are, i would think.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
I agree...that it could be possible with a tiny baby.....even though the cat would not be doing it on purpose...it would be an awful thing to deal with.....I wonder if that is where the saying came from....someone caught a cat licking the milk off a babys face, and the baby having died, maybe they just thought the cat sucked it`s breath.
Yes...I`d be careful too...til the baby was old enough to know to turn it`s head or push the kitty away.
post #4 of 16
I am admittedly astonished that this urban legend or "old wive's tale" (the latter being SUCH a sexist term!!!!) is still rearing its ugly and fasle head!!

Here is good explanation and repudiation of it on the Snopes' web site:

http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/catsuck.htm
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberKitten
I am admittedly astonished that this urban legend or "old wive's tale" (the latter being SUCH a sexist term!!!!) is still rearing its ugly and fasle head!!

Here is good explanation and repudiation of it on the Snopes' web site:

http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/catsuck.htm


from that site: "It is possible a cat might lie across the face of a sleeping child and thus upon extremely rare instances accidentally cause a death,"

i think most parents would rather be safe than sorry. i doubt anyone is foolish enough to believe that a cat can "suck" the life out of a infant.

even if the cat did not lay on top of the baby, we all know that cats when startled will bolt, or attack, depending on the situation.
the movements of infants and the crying etc, are quite likely to startle a cat who has decided that sleeping next to the baby is a nice warm spot, and noone wants their baby accidentally clawed or bitten.

no one wants the cat hurt either, and older babies could certainly inadvertently hurt a cat.

the myth is foolish of course, but that does not mean that you should not protect your cat and your baby, does it?
post #6 of 16
You need to follow all the guidlines that doctors give regarding SIDS. Anything can suffocate a small baby, including a cat. Even stuffed animals can suffocate a baby. A cat can get in the crib to cosy up next to the baby to keep warm, which could possibly suffocate the infant. A cat doesn't do it on purpose, it just wants to keep warm. No matter how much you love your furbies, you also have to protect your baby and take the necessary steps to keep baby safe. I put a special cover over the crib to keep my critters out of the crib. My kids are now 6 and 2, and they love their kitty, but the little one still doesn't want the cat near her at bedtime. The myth of steeling the babies breath is not because the cat will suck on the babies mouth, it is because they can sleep by the baby and cover its mouth and nose with its body and cause it to suffocate.
post #7 of 16
The point is you should NEVER leave a cat/child/dog etc alone with your baby, especially if it is sleeping. I mean, my cat could suffocate me in my sleep when he sleeps on my head!

I know a lot of people who don't like cats or think a woman should get rid of a cat when she has a baby because it could "Steal the child's breath" Only if you are stupid enough to let it happen!
post #8 of 16
yes absolutely never leave a cat alone with a small child.
post #9 of 16
I think the point is that babies (and toddlers) and cats should NEVER be left alone unsupervised - for the protection of both of them!
post #10 of 16
I knew a couple who gave their cats away because they were afraid that the cats (who were really fat by the way) would accidentally suffocat the baby. I admittedly never realized or thought about the fact that a cat could lie on a baby and suffocate it, but even so I couldn't give my cats away. There are simple precautions that can be taken, some of which have been described in this thread, that will prevent such a tragedy without having to rehome the cats. A screen door on the babies room is a great idea, as is a screen over the top of the crib. Babies should be supervised at all times anyway, but if/when we have kids, my cats will have their own room when the baby is asleep.
post #11 of 16
I totally agree that giving cats away in such circumstances is quite ridiculous. For goodness sake, just close the door! Little babies should never be left unsupervised anyway. Not with a dog, or a cat, or even by themselves for long. Fancy blaming cats for human being's stupidity.
post #12 of 16
agree that you should close the door, or get a screen door so you can still hear the baby. I have heard of no cat related baby deaths in this country although it would be interesting to find out
post #13 of 16
My mom's cat used to sleep in my crib with me all the time and I am fine.

I think that as long as they both are supervised, all will be well, which is really only common sense anyway.
post #14 of 16
We bought a special crib tent to cover the baby bed. Also the bassinet had a tent that zipped up over it. My cat sleeps on my head so I was ready. Everyone told me I would have to give away my cats and I was willing to do anything but that.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charcoal
My mom's cat used to sleep in my crib with me all the time and I am fine.

I think that as long as they both are supervised, all will be well, which is really only common sense anyway.


You cannot supervise constantly! and just because you are fine, doesn't mean others would be. It is very irresponsible to say its okay for a cat to sleep in a crib .

No matter how much of a cat lover a person is, it is not okay. It only takes a few seconds for a baby to suffocate. That comment would be like someone saying, I'm pregnant and I smoke and my mom smoked when she was pregnant with me and I'm fine. You should never ever put a child in jeopardy. Most cats are loving and very affectionate and would not intentionally hurt anyone but accidents happen. You should take every precaution to keep both baby and cat safe!!!!!!
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MRod1
You should take every precaution to keep both baby and cat safe!!!!!!
That was what I was saying and you better believe if I had a child, it would be supervised with the cat constantly, Period.
ALL I WAS SAYING WAS IF you supervise your cat and child, you wouldn't have a problem.
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