Forget what all the wives tales say, cats and babies can happily co-exist in the same environment. Through a variety of precautious, you can ensure your safety and that of your baby and cat.
Many pregnant women fear a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis can result in miscarriage, stillbirth or a variety of birth defects. Cats can become infected with the dreaded disease by eating small mammals or birds and transmit the infection through feces. While the disease is serious, there are several things you can do to protect yourself from becoming infected.
- Since it is possible for stray cats to contract the disease, refrain from taking in strays while pregnant.
- Wear gloves when gardening, washing fruits and vegetables, handling raw meat or cleaning food prep surfaces.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling food or cleaning the litter box.
- Never eat or feed your cat undercooked meats as you risk transferring the infection.
- Clean the litter box twice a day to limit the chance of spreading the disease.
Preparing for Baby
For many cats, it can be difficult to adjust to change. Rather than waiting until the baby arrives to begin acclimating them, use your pregnancy to help make the adjustment easier for your cat.
- Help acclimate your cat to the sounds of crying babies by playing baby noises.
- Associate the baby smell with something positive. Apply baby lotion to your hands before playing.
- Place the nursery furniture long before the baby arrives and allow him to investigate the new surroundings.
- Place adhesive tape with the sticky side up on cardboard that has been cut to fit the top of the furniture. Cats don’t like sticky items and it will deter him from calling the new furniture home.
- Care such as feedings, grooming, and playing that will be shifted from mother to father should begin to take place approximately 2 months before the baby arrives. This will allow time for the cat to adjust to the new changes and caregiver.
Introducing Baby and Cat
A new addition to the house can be a big adjustment for your cat. With proper preparation and a few precautions, baby and cat will be able to coexist.
- Spend a few quite minutes alone in a quiet room with you cat to reconnect. Afterwards welcome everyone, including the new baby into the home.
- Allow the cat to investigate a piece of used infant clothing or blanket.
- Do not allow the cat to climb into the crib. A cuddling cat may be a danger and impend the baby’s breathing.