Cats And Babies: Baby Safety With Cats

Are cats and babies a good match? It’s important to learn how to ensure both the safety of your cat and your newborn baby at home while maintaining your bond with your beloved fur baby. Bringing home your new baby is a joyous occasion that shouldn’t be overshadowed by nervousness about your cat. 

While babies and cats may seem like they were meant for each other’s company, not taking the time to prepare accordingly may cause issues. Fortunately, babies and cats can get along very well, but it’s up to you to gap the bridge. A baby brings a lot of change into the home, and your cat will most likely pick up on that.

Follow these simple tips to ensure everyone’s safety and sustain a happy home. 

Things to Know About Your Cat

kitten and baby sleeping together

Cats and babies can be a great match, but you have to take your cat’s unpredictability into consideration.

If you have a cat, then you know that they are very independent animals. Cats need their space away from the noise and crying baby.

To make the transition of bringing your baby home as easy as possible for your cat, find an area away from everyone, and make it a dedicated space for your feline. 

All of these facts should be taken into consideration when deciding on where the cat’s safe space will be, as well as the distance from the baby’s room.

As most caregivers can attest to, keeping a baby’s changing table as clean as possible is important, so make sure your cat can not jump and access it. If you need to change the location of where your cat normally eats, do so before the arrival of your baby. Cat food may contain raw meat or pathogens, so the further away from your baby it is, the better. 

 How To Prepare Your Cat For Your Baby’s Arrival

cat and baby in diapers

Preparing your cat for baby’s arrival will help to set the stage for a good relationship.

Cats are creatures of familiarity. Playing sounds of an infant crying before your baby’s arrival will help your cat get used to the noise, which will also be helpful in adjusting the cat to your new baby. 

Start washing your laundry with baby detergent and wear the baby lotion you plan to use for your baby. Getting your cat accustomed to the scent will familiarize your cat with your baby’s scent.  

Once your baby has arrived, make an effort to show more love and affection to your cat to avoid igniting feelings of jealousy. Because cats can be unpredictable, never leave your baby unattended with your cat; especially when your baby starts to be more mobile. Your cat might not be open to the idea of your baby coming into their space, which can cause them to scratch or bite without warning.  

Basic Health Precautions

keeping baby and cat safe

Before you bring your new baby home, familiarize yourself with the health risks that cats may present.

Speak with both a pediatrician and a veterinarian about cat-borne organisms that can potentially harm pregnant women, especially around cat litter. It’s advised that women who are pregnant refrain from changing the litter tray and ask a friend or family member to do it in their place. If a pregnant woman cleans the cat’s litter, she should wear gloves and a protective face mask. 

Read More: Toxoplasmosis in Cats: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Follow up with your cat’s veterinarian to make sure they are healthy and fully vaccinated, as well as on flea and tick medication and de-wormed – as you don’t want either parasite transmitted to your baby. 

Benefits Of Cats Around Babies

health benefits of cats and babies

Sharing the home with a cat can have health benefits for your baby, including a reduced risk of asthma and allergies.

A baby being raised around the presence of a cat can reap many benefits. Health is of utmost importance for parents, and it is known that a child that grows up in a house with a pet is less likely to get sick compared to those who live in pet-free homes.

Exposing your baby to cats and other pets at an early age may also help reduce the risk of developing allergies. The mere exposure to cats at an early age helps reduce the chance of developing asthma later in life. 

Aside from the health benefits cats can potentially give to small children, they are a also great source of entertainment, help children learn how to build lasting friendships, and can ease stress and anxiety growing children may endure.

Do The Benefits Outweigh The Risk?

benefits and risks of cats and babies

There are both risks and benefits involved in having a cat around your baby. Keep all of these factors in mind when you consider bringing the two together.

Cats are a great addition to a family, but don’t forget they can be unpredictable and pose potential safety issues for your baby. 

  • Allergies – Babies are sometimes born with allergies to certain things, like allergic to breathing in cat allergens. Signs to look out for include itchy eyes, a runny nose, a cough, sneezing, hives, or asthmatic related symptoms.
  • Illness – The cat litter should be completely out of your child’s reach, as your cat may have a stomach bug and their poop can be infected. For example, humans can be infected with toxoplasmosis, a parasite that cats can carry. Refrain from allowing your cat to lick your child, especially on the mouth or face. Be sure to wash your hands before touching your baby.

Conclusion

Cats are great companion pets, but when you’re expecting a baby, make the necessary changes needed to welcome your new arrival home as smoothly as possible. Introducing new sounds and smells are important steps in preparing your cat to adapt to a new environment. 

Always be present when your cat and baby are together. Cats and babies typically get along well, but as your baby grows and starts exploring, they may catch your cat off guard.

Sharon

About Sharon

Sharon Hafuta is an avid pet lover and enthusiast. Her experience in the veterinary medicine world has made writing animal-based content second nature. As a freelancer, Sharon enjoys working on articles that help educate readers on animal healthcare and overall pet wellness.

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