Cats and newborns(52 Posts)
Not strictly AIBU but really looking for advice. I'm 35 weeks pregnant with my first child. I have 2 ragdoll house cats. My concern is sleeping. Generally both cats sleep with me and DH at night. One cat in particular is very cuddly. Obviously I'm worried about what to do when baby is here. We are attempting to lock them downstairs to get used to not sleeping upstairs, of which one cat has adjusted fine. But my cuddly cat meows and stratches the carpet (of which she's began to destroy) we have manuvered a cat post behind the close when it closes at night. Which has now resulted in her banging the door. After about a week she mostly bangs/meows about an hour before we're due to get up.
I have never heard of a cat smothering a baby but safety is paramount. We have also been playing 'baby crying sound effects' for the cats to get used to. My non cuddly cat reacts to this by charging to the noise to see what the problem is. Is she now going to start going mental when she hears baby cry at night and is locked downstairs.
Any advise welcome!
I made sure that there was a space that our cat could go to which was quiet and baby free with somewhere to sleep but apart from that carried on as normal. Our cat sleeps on my bed every night and we have never kept her away from the DDs. She tends to keep her distance from the noisy, smelly creatures anyway
As horrible as it sounds, you just have to leave them to get on with it downstairs!
I had 2 cats, a male and a female when my DD was born (my beautiful boy died a few months ago ), and I had the same problem with the female! The male was pretty wary of DD, if she made a noise when he was in the room, he would run off! But female cat still wanted to sleep with us and would scratch at the hallway door and meow really loudly when we went up to bed.
We just had to stick it out! After about 2 weeks she just stopped. She sleeps on the sofa at night now and doesn't make a sound! But she is always very very excited to see us in the morning!
Our cats moved out of the house when DS1 arrived, and only returned when it was clear DS1 wasn't leaving. I think he was about 5 before the braver of the two cats deigned to let him have a stroke.
I have two cats that used to sleep on my bed and were very cuddly. When DS was born I didn't really see them for about 4 weeks - they only came in for food and when everyone was asleep. They just scarpered every time he was in the room, didn't know what to make of him at all. I put a basket for them at the top of the stairs near our bedroom and they could obviously go up and down stairs - could you try that?
They have never ever tried to get into the cot when DS or DD have been in it, even when we left the doors open.
Have you bought them new beds for downstairs? I put catnip on new beds which encourages them on to them.
6 years on, one of them still does a runner when DS and DD come in because she just doesn't like them running at her. The other one is more placid with them and let's them pull her in directions. They both get cuddles/lap time when kids are in bed.
I'd give it a couple of months after baby is here and see how things pan out. Hopefully everyone will get used to each other.
Baby will be in our room in a Moses basket for first 6 ish months then to its (don't know what we're having) own cot in baby's bedroom.
Eevee, the non cuddly but strangely maternal cat is happy to sleep downstairs, we had a cat bed in the hall upstairs that she slept in and moved that downstairs. Libby, the cuddly cat doesn't do beds. I can't tell you the amount of money I've wasted on unused beds. She is a rescue and sleeps either on or cuddled in beside me at night, or rather DH now as she's mostly ignored me when I got pregnant. Where as eevee is very proactive and won't leave me alone except at night lol!
We had two very clingy house cats when DS was born and I did worry. They also raced over to the 'crying baby' noises I played on my phone to figure out what was going on and before DS came home I caught one asleep in his car seat
I needn't have worried, as soon as DS came home the cats stayed well away and ran whenever he cried. They don't even attempt to go into the nursery and never once tried to get into the crib with him, I think it they knew what the new noisy 'thing' smelled like and to keep clear at all times. I'm sure you'll be fine! We were bought a cat net to keep them out of the babies bed but never got it
Just re-read and noticed they're housecats.
I would buy those igloo type cat beds for when baby arrives and place them in a corner out of the way so they have a place to hide. Put some catnip in them. Hopefully that will become their safe place and when baby becomes toddler, just teach them not to go near their baksets.
you never know, they might get on like a house on fire
I wouldn't worry too much. My cat which has slept on my bed for years very quickly got use to sleeping in the living room c dd was born and in our room (the bugger does though test my patience by being determined to sleep in her pushchair - we have no choice but to leave it up in the living room).
I really worried about this with my two cuddly Ragdolls before having my first daughter. Turns out they absolutely hated the newborn and found new hiding places to curl up in. They're back in the bed with us now (three years later and, ironically, with the toddler in the bed too) but all my fears about how I would try and keep them out the cot have been unfounded. They want to be as far away from the kids as possible to begin with (they've been much more at ease with my second baby) so the thought of getting into the cot hasn't even occurred to them since they'd be trapped with the thing that keeps squealing and trying to eat them...
Yes always used a cat net, what does Ragdoll mean?
Have you got a cat tree or some shelves or something they can get up on too so they can be high? Again that's more for the toddler years, but given they can't get outside to escape a marauding child then having somewhere they can escape "up" to could be good. You can get purpose-made or DIY specific cat shelves around a wall to make a high escape route and sleeping area, like this.
I used a cat net. Although my British blue (also a house cat) stayed well clear of the moses basket!
We have three cats, 2 BSH, 1 ragdoll. 2 like to sleep on our bed and still do, though one moves when baby wakes up! Initially they tried sleeping in the crib (not with baby!) but a few times of kicking them out and they seem to have worked out the baby/ cat divide. None have actually gone near the baby.
My tip would be to get the baby stuff in place now to get them used to not touching it.
They will get used to sleeping downstairs and at least they have each other. We have always put our cat away at night as I didn't want her wandering around the house and going on the kids' beds. When dc3 was a baby our cat stayed away from her and ran off when she cried!
No matter what my DM did, one of her cats would apparently seek me out as a baby: sitting outside the door of the nursery (no co-sleeping in those days!), invading the pram and sleeping on the changing mat. He used to take delight in removing the anti-cat net on the pram with slight of paw, and would chase the dogs off if they came anywhere near. Despite hyper-vigilance with their pfb, he did manage to get in the pram on several occasions whilst I was asleep - apparently, he would lounge alongside me, keeping guard. I can confidently say, despite my mother's worst nightmares, he didn't smother me.
The other cats, however, hated babies - one moved out permanently, in fact, and lived the rest of his life in the barn. Most cats react differently to real babies than to the recordings, if the recordings fascinate them - your intrigued cat will almost certainly get over her fascination once the baby arrives, and turns out to be even noisier and smellier at times!
It'll be easier to keep them out of the baby's room when he/she moves to there just by always keeping the door closed. I don't think many cats could resist snuggling up in a moses basket with a warm baby but it depends on how you feel about that.
I've always co-slept and that included the cat, he'd snuggle up to the babies sometimes but I know most people wouldn't be happy with that (my own mother had a meltdown when she found out) but it's impossible for a cat to overheat a baby or smother them if you are vigilant.
Of course your cats might be completely offended by the new, hairless kitten and keep their distance for many years. It's good to be prepared but not something you can really deal with until the baby is here and you can judge their behaviour
Don't worry just yet - I have 2 kids and 3 cats, before kids the cats also slept in the bed with us. But would not even come near it when kids were newborns, they were terrified. Only now that DC2 is 6 months old, one of the cats wants to share the bed again.
They did try to sleep in anything baby-related (cot, pram, playpen, car seat etc) when the baby wasn't there though.
I got a mosquito net for the car seat as I was worried the cat might jump on DD, as it happens the cat didn't go near DD. We became anal about keeping the bedroom door shut to the nursery and the cat was never allowed in there. Easier for us as the cat wasn't allowed in the bedrooms anyway as DH has a cat allergy!
The cat has been spotted sat in the car seat and moses basket when empty and downstairs but she kept well away from DD and now DS in person.
Our cat also benefitted from some baby free space, so we used a stair gate to keep DD away from the cat and utilised a baby pen too.
My cat loved the baby and her baby things. He was always climbing in her Moses basket and once did end up on her face so I gave the Moses basket to the cat and just kept DD in her cot. He also loved climbing into her bouncy chair for naps and the play mat. She's 2 now and he still naps on her pillow. I think it's ok now she's older and can shove him off. I bought my cats a plug-in heat pad and they love it! Perhaps something to try?
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