Cats and Babies: Can They Get Along?



cats and babies

photo by JayGirlsMom

A purrrfect pair

There are lots of old wives tales about cats and babies: "A cat will suck the breath from a sleeping baby," "If a cat hears the baby crying, he'll think it's another cat in the house and attack it," and "If a cat smells milk on a baby's breath, he'll lick the baby's mouth and smother it."

They kind of make you wary of having a cat don't they? Not to worry. According to Kat Miller, a behaviorist with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, cats and babies can co-exist peacefully.

"Cats are creatures of habit, they prefer consistency," says Miller. "Any abrupt change in their life can cause anxiety and fear."

Here's what she recommends you do to keep the peace between your cat and your baby:

1. Set up the baby's furniture ahead of time to help ease the transition when the baby arrives. If this means a new spot for the litter box, be sure to place it where the cat won’t be disturbed when using it. Otherwise he may decide to do his business elsewhere.

2. Get your cat used to baby sounds and smells.
Play a recording regularly and using baby lotions on yourself and let the cat sniff them.

3. Learn how to trim your cat's nails regularly (ask your vet to show you). You might also consider a product called Soft Claws — soft caps that are glued to a cat’s claws.

4. Create a new routine for the cat. Think about changes in routine that the new baby will bring, and try to gradually transition to that schedule for the cat’s feeding, play and cuddling time.

5. Supervise the cat whenever it is near the baby. The simplest way to keep a cat away from a sleeping baby is to keep the door closed, and there are devices called crib tents and scat mats that discourage cats from climbing into cribs. If the cat is attracted to the crib, consider adding perches like high cat trees to other parts of the house.

6. Lay down the law.
Make sure the cat knows what’s allowed, not just what is forbidden. For example, if you don’t want him in the crib or on your lap when you’re nursing, put a treat in a nearby perch or cat bed to give him a place where he can go and still be in your company.

7. Never hold the cat still to meet a baby.

8. Don't panic if the cat goes near the baby. That will teach the animal that the baby causes upsetting things to happen. Allow the cat to observe and approach at his own pace. If his tail’s up (not wagging, which, unlike in dogs, is a sign of agitation) and his ears are pricked up, he’s relaxed and interested.

Do you have a cat? How does it get along with your baby?


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sstepph sstepph

I have 2 cats and an 8 month old son and from day 1 the one cat loved him, the other cat, well she isnt a people person haha. When he crys the cat will come and nudge my face and stand in front of his door. Now that our son crawls and is walking he goes after the cats. Actually today he bit our son, but it wasnt a bad bite, it was a nip. But they get along. I set everything up 2 weeks or so before he was born so I think that helped.

maggi... maggiemom2000

Before we brought my son home from the hospital the cats would go into his crib.  Once they saw us put the baby into the crib, they never went near it again!!  They did not ever want to go near the baby, or anyplace the baby usually went.

lvbzcts lvbzcts

We have four cats & for the most part they have no interest in our daughter. She's only 3 months old & hasn't started paying attention to them yet. We'll see what happens as she gets older.

justa... justanotherjen

My mom had 2 cats when we moved in with her bringing along our 3 week old baby.  We never did any of that stuff.  We just brought the baby in and plopped her down.  They both just stayed away of their own accord beacuse they didn't like all the noise and excitement associated with the baby.

I didn't do anything to keep the cats away from the baby but they did get in trouble for going in the baby's bed because they left icky black fur all over (blah).  When the baby started crawling the younger cat (about 6 years old) run and hide.  The older cat (about 16 years old) would just stay away all together.  And we taught the baby not to bother the cats.

But we finally had to get rid of them.  It was the hardest decision I ever made.  The older one started scratching my oldest (then 2 1/2) for no reason.  She was just looking at him.  He was old (18 years by then) and getting kind of senile.  So we took both to the shelter.  I cried like a baby but the kids came first even if we had that cat for almost my entire life up to that point.

Kaytl... Kaytlynsmommy

I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter and a 6 mo. old son...we've had cats since before my daughter was born. They learn their place.

RanaA... RanaAurora

We have a cat, and I'm not concerned about her AT ALL when it comes to the baby that's on the way.  She is incredibly tolerant, sweet, and we won't even need to "supervise" her - there's just no need.

klinerms klinerms

Our two cats don't bother our four month old.  But this story just makes me laugh everytime I think about it.  When our daughter was about two months old, I was in bed and my younger cat was in bed snuggling with me.  My lo was upset and crying, (my husband was in her nursery trying to comfort her) but you could still hear her crying through the monitor.  My cat  got up, walked over to the nighstand, knocked the baby monitor on the floor and came back to resume snuggling.  It seemed so deliberate on her part! LOL!

mamag... mamagiggles2009

I have 2 cats and a 2 month old. The cats couldn't care less. Like hes not even there. We'll see what happens once he can grab them. They'll probably just be excited there getting more attention.

emslala emslala

I have had 5 cats since before I was preggo with my now 1 year old DD. They are very tolerant of her for the most part. We have had a few incidents with swatting (claws in), but nothing major  :)

katcb... katcb1019

I had a cat when I had my oldest daughter and never had a problem. In fact he cat loved her more than us.

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