Parents with cats... How did you protect baby?

(48 Posts)
Guntie Thu 21-Mar-13 19:15:01

I have two cats and am 28 weeks pregnant.

Currently our cats sleep in our room, on our bed.

I wouldn't dream of doing something that's unsafe for baby, so I was looking for advice on how you managed your cats and a newborn.

Did you shut the cats out of your bedroom, if baby was sleeping in with you?

Did you use "cat nets" to prevent cats getting into baby's crib?

How is it humanly possible to keep cats away from baby and baby's things?

Case in point, I bought home our moses basket (haven't got the mattress yet) and one of the cats jumped in it and snuggled down immediately. I got him out and then turned the moses basket upside down. Came back 5 minutes later and he was asleep on the upturned moses basket looking pleased with himself..

I can't always have our room off limits for the cats as it is the only room with access to the garden where they go in and out of everyday..

Thoughts? Advice? Experiences?

Hi Guntie. We had a cat when DS1 arrived (14 years ago nearly). I can honestly say the cat showed zero interest in getting anywhere near the baby at all. Although DS1 was a very screechy baby.

Spero Thu 21-Mar-13 19:19:45

I had two cats and a newborn. I don't honestly remember what I did, never had any problems, they didn't go near the baby. She slept in her own room and I just shut the door when she was sleeping. They were very wary of her as she was noisy and unpredictable. Just don't shut them in a room together and you should be fine.

MortifiedAdams Thu 21-Mar-13 19:23:05

We put.our basket up for a good month before the due date and watched the cats like a hawk for a week til they learnt that they werent allowed in it.

By the time the baby was here they didnt even glance at it. And a noisy smelly baby is a great deterrant.

Also, baby tends be left anywhere on their own for a good few month.

monsterchild Thu 21-Mar-13 19:23:46

I have Q&A month old and 3 cats. They mostly stay away from the baby. The worst problem is sleeping in his cot and trying to snuggle with me when I'm feeding him. They still sleep on the bed with us, ds sleeps in the bed too!

As above poster said don't leave them alone together.

monsterchild Thu 21-Mar-13 19:24:24

Sorry 3 month old, stupid phone!

The DC went on to have a lovely relationship with the cat until she passed away, and i think that was because she wasn't left out. She would still sit on my knee while I was feeding a baby, it was a bit of a squeeze. grin

Rororowmeboat Thu 21-Mar-13 19:25:49

We were exactly the same as you, our bedroom had the only access to the garden and our lovely cat slept on our bed everynight going in and out the cat flap in our bedroom.

When DS came along our cat stayed well out of the way of the baby - I think it was about 8 weeks before she came anywhere near DS (cats get spooked at all the crying).

I still wasn't comfortable though having cat and baby in the same room whilst sleeping though and keeping the cat out of the bedroom would have been impossible as she would have just cried outside the door and kept me more awake than DS (she is very vocal!).

In the end I slept on a camp bed in the nursery with baby in the Moses basket inside the cotbed for the first 8 weeks (we splashed out on a luxury one and it was pretty comfy). Then at about 9 weeks I moved back into the bedroom with DH and the cat. I know the guidance is baby is to share the same room as you for 6 months but in our case I knew I wouldn't get a wink of sleep worrying about my cat sleeping on DS head (although realistically I don't think it would have been a problem but I just couldn't relax about it).

Ps Catnets are shit!

My cat always sleeps on our bed and still did when DS was in a Moses basket in with us. We had the basket on a stand rather than on the floor though. Now he's in the cot in his own room we close his door at nigh no cat nets needed. Tbh she wasn't really interested in going near the noisy squirmy thing!
Now DS is a bit older its the cat that needs protecting from him!

bonzo77 Thu 21-Mar-13 19:27:39

I lock the cat in the kitchen over night, and close the baby's door if he's sleeping alone. The cat sleeps in the cot, car seat, bouncy chair, buggy, sleeping bag, baby gym, etc. but leaves as soon as the baby needs to go in. She has never got into the cot etc with the baby already in there. I take no precautions about hairs and have never used the net. I don't let the cat touch the bottles though I sometimes pour left over formula into her bowl.

SoHHKB Thu 21-Mar-13 19:28:30

Our cat has never been allowed in the bedrooms - we keep the doors shut. He is regularly told 'NO' when he goes to make himself comfortable on the playmat or jump up when baby is feeding and he seems to take some notice...

However, he is seriously missing our laps and miows all the bloody time quite a lot for our attention. He has also been spotted sleeping in the baby's car seat hmm

Luckily, he doesn't seem too fussed to be near the noisy squawking pink thing baby so hasn't yet curled up on him for a nap. I'm hoping that by the time cat feels braver, ds will be able to pull his tail wink

I did worry a bit at first about keeping them separate but tbh, even when they come face to face, neither shows much interest...

(not sure any of that is very helpful really...)

I have always been more concerned for the cat's safety than the baby's, particularly once they can crawl winkgrin

Dolallytats Thu 21-Mar-13 19:29:25

I bought a catnet for the cot when DS was born, but it was useless. The cats did jump in to his cot and were always chased out. We thought this had worked until one morning we woke to find one of them (who passed away last year) curled up asleep at the bottom of the cot.

BikeRunSki Thu 21-Mar-13 19:29:38

Our cat has pretty much ignored both DC as much as possible. Now that they are 18 months and 4, the cat needs protecting from them more than anything else.

BumpingFuglies Thu 21-Mar-13 19:29:51

My cats always kept away. They don't find a wriggling, noisy bundle all that interesting smile

To be honest I never worried about it all.

I think if I had MN when DS1 was born I would have thought about the cat thing more, grin

Glittertwins Thu 21-Mar-13 19:32:28

We shut off the bedroom that the childen were going to go in about 3 months before they were born to get them out of the habit and leaving fur in there.
We were advised not to bother with cat nets as they are fiddly. One of our cats never went near them and still rarely does 5 years on. The other one loves them and sits with them most of the time.
As above, we thought the cats got the worse deal, especially when DD used to shout cat at her very loudly and tried to crawl after her!

PurplePidjin Thu 21-Mar-13 19:37:18

My cat is very wary of my 4mo. She's ok if he's still - and will come up to sniff/scent mark his feet briefly - but doesn't go near his things. I keep a blanket over the car seat/buggy and have the ikea changing mat with washable covers. I like my sleep too much to let cats in bedrooms, tbh she knows well enough not to come in if he infrequently goes down in his crib in the day and i leave the door ajar smile

I think the bigger danger will be to the cat from a mobile baby. Obviously i will discourage ds from approaching dcat, but there will need to be a lit of supervision!

Make sure your cats' litter tray is far far far away from curious little hands wink

After trying to sit on ds, who was a few hours old, the cats scarpered. One will tolerate being in the same room as him and jumps at the chance to sleep in his cot when its empty. The other cat will NOT come in the house if ds is awake!

We keep bedrooms doors shut at night. I used to sleep with my cats too but locked them out once ds arrived. When ds moved in to his own room, I thought I would let them back in my room, but I can't tolerate the invasion of my space any more! My poor cats!

Naturally2806 Thu 21-Mar-13 20:05:38

Hello! We had a terrible experience with this. Despite extensive trips to the vet and a consultation with a cat behavioural specialist (please don't laugh- our cat was a much loved and pampered member of our family before DS1 came along!!) we sadly and rightly had to make the descion to rehome our cat via the rescue centre we for her from as a kitten as she unfortunately "went" for DS1 when I was breastfeeding him. Once strike was enough for us as the fear then set in and the safety of the baby was paramount. Still very sad about it now 2 years on but it was absolutely the right descion for us. Our vet recommended Felineaway vapour plug/spray as it apparently releases happy hormones to chill cats out!! Wasn't successful for us!! Hope this helps- I know families successfully integrate babies with pets but gutted it didn't work for us (sorry for the ramble....been quite therapeutic for me writing it down!! blush Good luck and hope you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy- it's so exciting buying all the baby bits!! grin

BettyandDon Thu 21-Mar-13 20:08:58

You have to not leave them alone together. My cat even jumped into the Moses basket when the baby was in it - it was on a stand in the living room 2m away from me. She did not land on the baby thankfully and never did it again as I went ballistic.

I don't know it depends on the cat. My current cat had a stint toilet ing in the wrong places since I had DD2. Total nightmare but that's another story.

Sorry not more positive.

I would advise Feliway spray for starters.

littleredmonkey Thu 21-Mar-13 20:19:47

I shut my cat out the bedroom 5 weeks before due date so he got use to not coming in. Was not happy at first but when we brought ds home he knew the bedroom was out of bounds. Kept the door shut all day also so no crafty sleeps on our bed. He did once jump in the Moses basket when dp was changing ds on night. Dp went nuts. Cat takes no notice of ds. He is back on our bed happy as ds is in his own room. My rule is he is an animal very much loved but still an animal so I dont trust him with ds on his own. You never know and as he gets older little hands will grab and little cats bite and have claws

MumofWombat Thu 21-Mar-13 21:50:27

Our cat did try to get into the bassinet and cot before DS came along, but she soon learnt not to. She was used to sleeping on our bed and we made the decision to shut her out at night (we discovered how lovely it was not to be woken up with a ginger furball sitting on your chest poking you in the face, meowing at you at 4am because she'd decided she was hungry - so she hasn't been allowed back in at night even though DS graduated to the nursery and then to his big boy bedroom!). Never used nets.
DS was obsessed with her for a while (his first word was her name) but now they tend to ignore each other - she has swiped at him a few times so they have learnt to keep a respectful distance.
We have child gates to keep her food (DS is very interested in this still!) and her escape route into the cat run (she's an indoor cat with a fenced in outdoor area - the whole length of the house so pretty large!).

2kidsintow Thu 21-Mar-13 21:57:36

Our cat showed no interest in either of my DDs when they were babies. He did occasionally nip into their cot for a sleep, but never when they were already in there. (He still likes to sleep on their beds when they aren't in them.)

I just put a spare cover on the cot and removed it at night time.

When they were toddling, he was quick to make himself scarce, and they were quick to be taught to respect him.

Now they have a lovely relationship. He will sleep on their laps and come for a stroke. They love it when he comes and sits on them.

We started shutting the cat out of our room when I was pregnant so he wasn't hit with another change once the baby arrived.

I never had to worry about the cat around the baby. He was appalled by the new creature he has brought home! He rarely shared air space for the first few years. He begrudgingly accepted ds for the last couple of years when we finally lost him at 16 when ds was 6.

Wincher Thu 21-Mar-13 22:00:40

My group of friends has one cat net. Each time one of us has a (first) baby, the cat net is given to that person so that they can tell their mother/MIL "yes, we have a cat net". The cat net has never come out of its packaging...

greenhill Thu 21-Mar-13 22:03:16

Don't waste your money on a cat net. My parents bought me two of them.

Our cat hated the baby noises and kept well away, then when they were toddlers and could pull her fur and her tail, she kept well away from the DC.

My DH and I are the food providers, the cat is selfish enough to know that unless the DC drop food on the floor for her, they are only there to inconvenience her grin

DoTheStrand Thu 21-Mar-13 22:42:06

We have two cats. They used to sleep on our bed but I stopped that when I was about 20 weeks pregnant with DS1 (I did it then to get them used to it before the baby came). They still - nearly 4 years on - sit whining outside the door but they don't try to come in. We never left him or DS2 alone with the cats when asleep - DS2 now sleeps in a cot in DS1's room which has a baby gate on it and I always make sure the gate is shut at night so the cats can't get in. I have found one asleep in the cot and one asleep in the Moses basket before now, luckily without the baby! One of my cats is huge and fluffy and it does worry me what would happen if she tried to snuggle up to DS2 when he was asleep.

Both boys adore the cats now, there is a point at about 9 months when the baby will suddenly be absolutely fascinated by them. The cats are not quite so enamoured about the DSs! They spend much more time outside now to the extent that some post-baby close friends are surprised to find out we have two cats.

GreyGardens Thu 21-Mar-13 22:47:32

Cats won't hurt your babies. In the nicest possible way, get a grip.

PurplePidjin Thu 21-Mar-13 23:57:04

DoTheStrand, we have a gate on the living room from when we had a house bunny. Cat clears it with ease...

madbengal Fri 22-Mar-13 00:48:49

I did nothing made sure my 2 at the time, I think the crying and grabbing and not letting spooked them enough, my older female cat did sleep in the rack at the bottom of the pram and would attack the legs of visitors she thought got too close

BertieBotts Fri 22-Mar-13 00:52:18

I never worried about it. Cats suffocating babies is an old wives' tale. DS did get scratched a few times as a toddler though, but that's more about supervision.

Why do you think you need to keep the cat away from the baby's things? I haven't heard that one before.

sleepyhead Fri 22-Mar-13 00:53:34

We've got a lovely photo of our cat meeting ds for the first time when he came home from hospital. She's looking at him in his crib. That was about the last time she paid any attention to him tbh.

I think most cats aren't too keen on the noise and random movements. An empty pram or crib is another thing, but even then chasing her out a few times put her off.

The cat used to sleep on our bed and for the first couple of months we shut her out, but tbh, she didn't come in when ds was there even when the door was left open.

I didn't bother with cat nets. Just keep an eye on them - the trouble can start when the baby is big enough to bother the cat, then the same advice goes!

DoTheStrand Fri 22-Mar-13 01:02:22

grin PurplePidjin funnily enough as soon as I had posted I thought I bet wiser cat owners than me will gently suggest that when I'm not looking my cats are merrily pole vaulting the baby gate back and forth until I turn around to check and they hurriedly resume their usual slothful demeanour...

Haha, DoTheStrand, I thought the same thing when I read your post. My cats can scale a 6 foot fence with ease, so unless yours are unusually sloth-like, a 3 foot gate should pose no problem grin

Wincher Fri 22-Mar-13 09:10:12

I do have a nice photo of my son aged about 20 months in his cot with the cat cuddled up right next to him, both fast asleep. Probably v naughty but by that age I wasn't bothered.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 22-Mar-13 10:30:22

The cat, who is white, and spends 7 hrs a day keeping his coat pristine, took one look at the baby, shot under the bed and has barely re-emerged 2 years and another baby later

I'm not sure what happened to him in his previous life (we got him pre-loved) but I think it might have involved toddlers, jam and his fur.

Acinonyx Fri 22-Mar-13 10:35:50

We had two cats when I had dd. We stopped them sleeping on the bed with us sad

Cats won't go on tin foil so we put some e.g. in her cot when she wasn't there or anywhere we wanted them not to sleep.

Takver Fri 22-Mar-13 10:44:20

I don't remember any problems protecting baby from cats, long time ago but I think they stayed well away.

I do remember a rather stressful time later on protecting the 3 cats from a determined toddler . . . I am still many years later amazed that none of them ever scratched her, the second I turned my back she'd head for them.

DD learnt to crawl following DDog around the room (he would sigh, get up and move to the other end of our long sitting room and lay down for another 10 minutes as she worked her way back along).

gazzalw Fri 22-Mar-13 10:45:42

We were duped into thinking a cat net was necessary but it truly was a waste of money and a liability. We've always had cats with the DCs and I can never remember an issue of feeling either of the DCs (as babies) was endangered by the presence of cats. Cats are generally put off by loud noises so do tend to stay away from babies. Our current cat, loves to cuddle up to DD (now 7) and will sleep 'spoonies' with her. Cats do like human warmth though so I guess there is always a risk.

SuperDuperTrooper Fri 22-Mar-13 21:52:03

We have 2 cats who were always our babies before DS came along. They were always allowed in our room, slept on our bed and generally used the bedroom as their safe haven. We tried to think of all sorts of ways to try to cause as little disruption to the cats as possible as the arrival of a baby was going to be a shock in itself. Shutting them out of the bedroom was not really an option. We took some extreme measures but it worked....

DH and I moved into the nursery with DS for a good couple of months allowing the cats to have the main bedroom to themselves. I know some may think that's mad but it really worked. We could keep the cats out and DS safe whilst everyone settled in and got used to the new arrival. One cat kept her distance anyway but the other wanted to be around DS all the time. It turned out that she ended up moving into the nursery with us all and showed no threat to DS or real interest in getting into his Moses basket. Once we realised this we all moved back into our bedroom again.

The cats have been amazing with him ever since. They never minded him being around, didn't get jealous and fuss around him when he gets really upset. It's very sweet!

GingerDoodle Sat 23-Mar-13 15:30:37

I have 6 cats and a 6 month old DD so speak with good experience.

We put balloons in the crib and did shut them out of our bedroom at night for a while before she was born. I looked into nets but didn't find one with good reviews. To be honest once they figured she was not a food source they were not interested in her.

Between the balloons and some very stern words if they looked so much as interested in the crib they worked out they were not allowed in it and we started leaving our bedroom door open quite quickly after birth.

They have never been allowed in the nursery anyway but we did have one accident when one of them followed me in for a night feed and accidentally got shut in. DD was in her carry-cot in the cot so said cat decided he would kip in the cot. He shot out like blue lightening had struck when i opened the door! (there may have been some rather high pitched choice words involved). Now they stand guard outside even when the door is open.

They have on occasion got into the empty pram or on the highchair but they were left in the kitchen so I guess that was fair game. O and babymats left unrolled on the floor = comfy cat bed. Now they are strewn with toys not so much.

Now DD is more interested in them the ones which sleep with us even tolerate being petted by her which is sweet; of course I think they are trying to butter her up as, having started weaning, she is now a provider of extra nosh!

GingerDoodle Sat 23-Mar-13 15:33:55

O almost forgot; I love my cats, but you may find you feel different about them after birth. Having not been a home all day with them for any length of time I found them, on occasion, to be more attention seeking and outright pains than DD! I still love them, although in retrospect I would not have so many!!

prettybird Sat 23-Mar-13 15:41:38

Bought a cat net but never used it. Cats (who were used to sleeping in bed with us) were shut out of the bedroom for the first few months, while ds was sleeping in the same room as us.

Once ds was moved into his own room, the door was kept shut so we couldn't hear him crying but in general the cats never showed any interest in going near him. On the contrary, they were rather wary of him.

During the day, I often let him have his nap in/under his baby gym (well swaddled) in the living room and again, the cats never went near him.

Having said that, one of our current cats I'd have been more wary about, as he's the first cat of ours that does sometimes try to sleep on your head. hmm Ds is 12 now (and said cat is now 7 years old) so by that time it was never an issue.

Bluestocking Sat 23-Mar-13 15:43:30

When we brought one-day-old DS back from hospital, our sagacious old cat took one look at him in his car seat, shot me a look of utter contempt and stalked out of the room. He never showed the slightest interest in DS, never tried to sleep in his Moses basket or the cot, and gave up sleeping on our bed until DS was in his own room. I honestly wouldn't worry about it.

JakeBullet Sat 23-Mar-13 15:46:15

Same as Bluestocking, my cat was utterly horrified by the mewling, tiny human....she hotfooted it out of the room as fast as possible.

Never had a problem with her at all, no cat nets needed.

Obviously all cats are different so it's worth taking the precautions, we had a cat net etc but never needed it.

Fuzzymum1 Sat 23-Mar-13 22:14:18

We had cats before we had children, I've never really worried about them. When DS3 was born we had 4 cats and none of them really went near him when he was tiny. They were a bit spooked by the mini human and avoided him pretty much. As he got a bit bigger they started to interact a little and now he is six they all really like him as he is very good with the animals. Our youngest cat spends his day sleeping in DS3's bed while DS isn't in it.

sweetkitty Sat 23-Mar-13 22:17:14

This thread should be "How do you protect the cats" grin

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