It is common to experience family members staying together with a cat. However, during pregnancy, the scenario differs as certain infections can happen to the fetus if an expecting mother stays in close contact with the cat and not taking proper care. Apart from the baby’s safety, it is also noteworthy to keep a check on the cat as the cats are not too adjusting and need their own attention.
A lot of topics related to the cat and the baby needs attention. Some are in reference to the time when a lady expects while others are when the baby enters the family.
Cats And The New Born’s Safety
In many households, cats are considered a very significant part of the family. The important aspect is the health hazards which can happen due to a cat’s presence and so it is crucial that child safety is ensured and these health risks should be reduced. It is important to know the steps which should be taken to ensure the safety of the newborn baby. Few steps are mentioned as under:
- Formal introduction of the newborn baby and the cat is very helpful.
- Never leave a cat and the newborn baby unattended as it might be dangerous.
- Use a care or shelter gate in order to keep the cat and the baby at different places.
Cats And Babies Health Risks
Even though it is possible for the baby and the cat to stay together in the same house, however, there are many infections that are associated with the cat. Some of the major health hazards are given as under:
- Infection prevails in case the baby touches or swallows the cats leftover food /stool.
- Ringworm infection may occur when the baby and cat are in contact.
- The cat may scratch the baby leading to outburst of blood from the skin.
- The cats may sleep next to the baby; thus obstructing the baby’s breathing
With slight precautions and care, the health risks to the baby can be minimized and the cat and the baby can stay together and be comfortable.
Can Cats Suffocate Babies?
This is considered more like a myth from the old wives tales. Cats generally settle down with the baby and can cover the baby for comfort or the smell of the milk the baby has. This could be interfering with the breathing process but is mostly an accident which do leads to suffocation in babies; however, it is only accidental. The only supervision should be that the cat doesn’t cover the baby’s face.
Check If Babies Are Allergic To Cats
Allergies could crop up in babies and will differ in the acuteness from one baby to another. In order to figure out if the baby is developing allergy due to cats, we need to keep a check on the reaction of the baby in response to a cat and the below symptoms should be watched out:
- Too much of cough or sneeze or any signs of wheezing.
- Redness in Eyes or some kind of itchiness.
- Some kind of eruptions, pimples, burning either on the face or the chest.
Take Precautions While Your Baby Is Walking
Once the baby starts walking, alertness is required if a cat is around in the house. A small baby crawling or waking in the house could be a scary sign for the cat, and it might show signs of anger like squatting, making hissing sounds, whining cries. If so, it is an indication that cat is scared and it’s time to keep the baby and the cat away.
Another safety measure is to keep the cat litter box at a place which is far from the baby’s reach. Always keep the toys of the pet away from the reach of the baby as a walking baby may get attracted to them and put them in the mouth thus leading to some kind of infection.
Give Special Attention To Your Pet Cat
Cats are very possessive in nature and not very adjustable so it is of prime importance that special attention is focused on the cat before the baby arrives and post-delivery. The following can be done in order to give the cats, the attention they require.
- Cats are big attention seekers so the family needs to make gradual changes before a baby arrives and make the cat accustomed to it. This is done as the cat has been there before and it might show uncomfort if suddenly a baby arrives.
- Keep the sound of a baby recorded so it gets familiarised as the cats use sound as a medium in order to connect.
- Start wearing a baby lotion or talcum so it gets accustomed to the smell and does not feel strange when the baby arrives.
- Cats love to play with empty toilet rolls and even few paper bags so grab their attention and play with them while you play with your baby.
Even though a cat and a baby aren’t alike, yet with proper care and vigilance, efforts can be made to make their stay happy, comfortable and loving. In families where cats are kept as pets, it is important to maintain hygiene and make it a positive experience for all. It is very much possible for the family and the cat to stay in harmony.