Newborns & Cats

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from clynn5683. Show clynn5683's posts

    Newborns & Cats

    I have 2 cats that are 12 years old.  I am concerned that there will be "issues" when my lil guy is brought home from the hospital.  I've heard the dreaded stories of the cat smothering the baby or cat scratch fever but how realistic is that?  BTW, both cats are declawed.  I am looking for advice on what precautions that I will need to take (if any at all) and for recommendations from people who have cats and have brought a newborn into "their" environment.
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    I have an 8 yo extremely jealous cat. Seriously, he got jealous I was talking to my mom when she was visiting last week. He kept bringing me toys and trying to get me to play w/ him rather than talk to her.  He follows me around the house on a regular basis unless he's napping. Even then, he generally naps in whatever room I happen to be in. 

    I plan on keeping the baby and the cat in separate rooms and never leaving them alone together.  If someone is in the room, fine, but otherwise, I'm keeping them apart.  My cat is not declawed, but he bites rather than scratches.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from tomarra. Show tomarra's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    I don't have much advise but a cousin of mine installed a screen door to the babies room before it was born so that the cat got used to not going in there.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from hot-tomato. Show hot-tomato's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    IMO, you don't have much to worry about, but it's important to keep an eye on the cat until you know how they will behave (and later on when your kid has more independent movement). But it's different with every cat, and you know your own cats best. I was never worried about our cat hurting the kids as babies, but we did keep all the bedroom doors closed at night and during naptime so it wouldn't be an issue of him getting in the crib. As the kids get older, it becomes an issue of making sure that they don't grab the cat, and then it's up to you to be vigilant or find a way to keep them separated. My kids each got scratched once or twice for yanking on kitty's tail.

    Eventually, they all became good friends and the kids enjoyed feeding, snuggling and playing with the cat, and we were all very sad when kitty passed away last year. My point is, you can be a part of building a positive relationship between your kids and your pets, but it takes a lot of patience and vigilance on your part as the parent.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    My baby isn't born yet, but I discussed introductions with my Vet.  I have 2 older kitties and 1 young one.  He recommended keeping the cats out of the nursery and to keep the door closed starting now, before the baby arrives.  That way the kitties won't think that the baby is keeping them away from their new favorite room.  As the baby gets older, he suggested always teaching it to be cautious around the cats and all animals in general.  You don't want the baby to run up to a random animal they see outside and potentially get bitten!  Just teach them to treat the animals with respect.  Finally, he gave me a dewormer for all my kitties just as a precaution.  He said that since the baby will be crawling around on the floor and putting it's fingers in it's mouth, it's better to treat the kitties now rather than treat the baby if it develops something. 

    Oh, I did see this net thing at Baby Depot for over the crib in case you want to keep the nursery door open.  That way the cats can't jump into the crib.

    Hope that helps!
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    I have a 12 year old, very temperamental kitty.  She does not warm up to people easily and has scratched and/or hissed at most of my adult guests over the years.  That being said, she is actually very tolerant of children given her temperament.  If a kid approaches her, she is on-guard, but will let the kid pet her.  When it's too much, she walks away.  When the kid follows her, she keeps walking.  When the kid catches up again, she will swat WITHOUT her claws and walk away.  If the kid persists, she'll hiss and keep walking, and only then, if still being followed (more accurately, chased) will the claws come out, and usually it's more of a threat than an actual intent to do harm.  We've only gotten to this point 2ce, and the kid really doesn't have more than a paper cut and is more scared/startled than anything.  We usually warn the parents and the kids beforehand and try to encourage the cat to go elsewhere.  At this point, most of our friends' kids know that the cat is not friendly and the parents are good about reinforcing staying away from her.

    Now...I have 8 month old twins.  Before we brought them home, DH brought their little hats from the hospital home to her so she could get used to their smells.  When we first brought them home, she steered clear of them.  She was kind of freaked out and didn't want to be anywhere near them.  At some point--5 or 6 months?  My son got VERY interested in her.  He would squeal excitedly anytime he saw her, and I could feel his little heart POUNDING in his chest.  So I decided that the cat needed to get used to the kids touching her b/c once they became mobile, I didn't want any "incidents."  So, I sat down next to the cat with DS in my lap (bursting with excitement).  He was trying to reach for her, so I took his hand and helped him pet her gently and nicely.  The cat was ok with this and let it go on for a few minutes and when she walked away, I put DS down, and went over and gave her a good ear scratch and belly rub.  On another occasion, I repeated this with my daughter, and of course, we've repeated it many times since then with both kids.

    My son started crawling at 7 months and still loves the cat.  There have been a few occasions where we've turned our backs or not realized the cat came into the room and DS has crawled right up to her and started touching her.  There have also been times when we've been VERY close by and aware of what was happening and have watched to see the cat's reaction when DS approaches her.  She has never shown any aggression towards him, and in at least one case, seemed to be enjoying him petting her.  And when she's done with his attention, she gets up and walks away...and keeps walking when he follows.

    So...my thoughts are that if it's handled correctly and you know your cat and you keep a very close eye on your kids AND GET THEM USED TO EACH OTHER early enough, that they can coexist very peacefully and happily.  I should also note that the kids are at my mother's house 2 days a week and she has 3 cats (who all have better temperaments than my cat) and they all have been very patient with the kids as well.

    Now..."cat smothering the baby" is an old wives tale.  There are a couple of things that could happen that may have spurred this tale, but they are easily avoided.  1.  baby is warm, so cat cuddles up next to the baby or partially lays on top of baby.  2.  baby has milk smell near his/her mouth, so cat investigates by getting close to baby.  If your 12-year-old cats are anything like mine, there's no way they're getting into the crib--they just physically can't.  The cat is probably going to be afraid of the baby and won't want to be anywhere near it, but just be mindful of the cat's presence and don't leave them alone with the baby.

    "Cat scratch fever" If you've never gotten it from your cat, your baby probably isn't going to.  And even if he does, what I could find on the internet is:  "In children with normal immune systems, full recovery without treatment is the norm."  Frankly, this is something that never crossed my mind and really doesn't seem worth worrying about.

    I would highly recommend discussing this with your veterinarian too and make sure that your kitties are up-to-date on all of their shots before baby comes home.  Otherwise, I'm sure it will be fine.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from corsetkitty. Show corsetkitty's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    I had a 15 year old jealous cat when I had my daughter.  I was so worried about them together, especially after my daughter ended up in the hospital for an infection for an additional month (we both lived at the hospital with her, basically abandoning my cat for a month after she was born).

    But when she came home the second time, I was blown away by Lady.  Lady seemed to get that Elanor was my "kitten."  When she would cry, Lady would look at me with anxiety and the only kind of concern Lady had given towards her next meal.  We slept with Elanor's crib pushed up against our bed and the side off, creating a co-sleeper.  E would sleep up near my head, and Lady would sleep down by the end.  Lady stayed near Elanor, keeping an eye on her.  Once E entered Early Intervention, Lady always came and checked out the EI appointment each week, to the point where the specialist and I referred to it as Lady "supervising" us.

    Every night my husband read the book "Tails are not for pulling" to her as part of the bedtime ritual, starting around 4 months of age, walking Elanor through how to pet Lady gently.  Lady lapped up the attention (especially as she was getting a lot less).

    Unfortunately Lady became ill this past September with renal failure and as her condition continued to deteriorate regardless of the treatment she received, we elected to euthanize her.  Elanor grieved for Lady in her own way, and she shows a lot of attention to friend's cats even now.  She demanded a stuffed cat that looked like ours a few weeks after Lady died. 

    We'll get another cat when she's a little older.


     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    CorsetKitty, Your post was so sweet yet sad - it made me cry!  Your Lady sounds like she was a wonderful kitty and I'm so glad your Elanor has started life loving cats!  I will have to get the book you mentioned for my LO.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    I'm planning to pick up that book too--we already need it!  Corsetkitty--that story was sad and wonderful and served as a reminder that our pets will sometimes surprise us with how much they actually understand and think about what's going on around them.

    I will say, when my son grabbed my cat's tail the other day, she whipped her head around like she was going to lash out at whoever was doing it (I was standing right there) and when she saw it was my son, she stopped and just walked away. 

    Again, I think you need to know your cat(s) and go from there as far as how you handle the situation, but I also think it's important for the cat to get used to being touched/grabbed/manhandled by your child as soon as it makes sense.  In the case of my cat, on some level, she "gets" that kids don't know any better and she's demonstrated over and over that she's much more tolerant than with adults.  She's surprised me a number of times in this regard, and although I'm still cautious about my kids being around her unsupervised, I am reasonably confident that I don't have to restrict her freedom of movement throughout the house to preserve their (and her!) safety.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from corsetkitty. Show corsetkitty's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    I'm glad my story helped provide a little balance.  I got really upset with all the bad stories.

    Don't get me wrong, while we were teaching E "gentle," there were plenty of less than gentle attempts, but like Daisy75 said, our cats will often put up with things from our kittens that they'd never take from us. 

    For anyone looking for a cat, we got Lady from the Pat Brody Shelter for Cats in Lunenburg, which is a no-kill shelter still in operation.  If we're still local when our family is ready, we'd adopt from there again in a heartbeat. 

    I just want people to remember that our pets are part of our family too, and if there is a difficult adjustment, there are rewards to be found by working through it.  It breaks my heart to hear people talking about getting rid of cats they've had for years because of fear surrounding a new baby...especially without giving the cat a chance.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from elainel820. Show elainel820's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    My experience is that most of the time newborns and pets do just fine together. I really believe that cat smothering thing is a total myth.  As the baby grows it is very important to supervise any child/pet interactions to protect them from each other, but it is also an opportunity to teach your child about caring for others and loving a pet.

    If you do have cat issues, like peeing inappropriately, the cat is most likely feeling stressed and ignored.  Consult your vet or a cat behavior book right away to take care of that problem.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Judgenot. Show Judgenot's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    I have had plenty of experience with this as I have brought home two babies to my cats. The first baby, my samantha (cat) was just a baby herself and could have cared less. The second baby came and Samantha reacted so terribly. she would not use the litterbox opting for my daughters car seat, clothes or blankets..it was hell on earth and for a split second I considered giving my beloved cat away. Luckily, I had literature to read about these behaviors and spent an extra amount of time with Sammy, involving her in cuddle times with baby and now..1 1/2 yrs later, my daughter and Sammy are best buds and Sams behaviors have stopped. Extra attention, a little extra lovin and your cat will accept your new baby just fine.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from clynn5683. Show clynn5683's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    This is all very helpful.  I think my anxiety is partially new mother nerves.  Just reading your stories and advice has calmed my fears.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from hellgirl. Show hellgirl's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    We have two cats, one of whom is very jealous by nature but also afraid of her own shadow. Before our daughter was born, we kept them out of her room so that they were used to not being in there. After she was brought home, they never even seemed to notice her. We made sure that they weren't in our room (or hers) when she was sleeping, but that was it.

    When out daughter was 2 months, she would chew on one of the cat's tails if she saw it, but that cat was patient enough and when she got fed up, would simply walk away.

    We never had any issues and still don't now that our child is a toddler.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from MummyKitM. Show MummyKitM's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    You can get a "Crib Tent" at almost any baby store, and it will keep cats out of the crib. Two of my cats used to walk over it all the time, and at eight and 13 pounds, it's a sturdy cover. Cats don't "steal the breath" of babies, but they can snuggle too close and even lie on top of them for warmth, so I strongly suggest the crib tent. My older brother was scratched by the family cat when it got into his crib and thought he was playing with it by waving his arms. Good luck.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from SarahInActon. Show SarahInActon's posts

    Re: Newborns & Cats

    I was also worried about my two cats.  But everything was fine and turned out to be not an issue at all.  We asked the nurse to save the 1st baby hat from all the goop from when DS was first born.  We stuck the hat in a little baggie and my husband brought it home to "preview" the baby.

    That being said, one cat won't go near the baby to this day (he's 9.5 months) and the other one loves to play with him.  We ALWAY supervise of course but there haven't been any scratching, biting, hissing, peeing problems.  DS also LOVE LOVE LOVES the cats and crawls after them, squealing and laughing - definately his favorite toy.  He can get pretty aggressive by swatting at the cat but we try and teach him gentle (kinda pointless at this age). 
     

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