Most pregnant women hear horror stories of cats smothering babies. While this is more myth than fact, it is still advisable to discourage a cat from sleeping with an infant.
Sadly, some families do believe that once the baby arrives, the cat must go and shelter workers can verify that cats are often surrendered due to the arrival of a baby. This really is unnecessary and with a few adjustments, the new baby and cat can co-exist happily and safely.
People often recommend spraying the cat with a water pistol if you see it jump into the cot. The only problem with this is that the cat will just avoid the cot when you are around. So if you want to use ‘aversion therapy‘ the trick is to make it an act of god. That is, it happens without you being there.
Buy a crib net (also called a crib tent) – These products are made of mosquito-like netting to stop the cat getting into the cot.
Add a screen door to the baby’s room – This will enable your cat to see and smell the baby, and the parents to hear the baby, but the cat cannot access the room.
Purchase a baby monitor – A video monitor can let you keep an eye on your baby when he is sleeping without necessitating opening the bedroom door and possibly waking him.
Prior to the baby’s arrival:
Put several inflated balloons in the cot – When the cat jumps in, he will get a fright.
Place aluminium foil over the cot mattress – Cats don’t like the feel and this will discourage them.
Add plastic hallway runners on the mattress upside down – Once again, cats don’t like the feel of this and will avoid the cot.
Put some double-sided tape on the cot mattress, – Cats don’t like the sticky feel.
Set up the cot prior to the arrival of the baby – This enables your cat to see, smell and check it out. Cats are creatures of habit and don’t like change, so helping your cat become familiar with new baby products will help reassure him.
Julia Wilson is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. She enjoys photography, gardening and running in her spare time. Full author bioContact Julia