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Cat and baby advice

(33 Posts)
benne81 Sun 04-Sep-11 21:10:54

I'm 37 weeks pregnant and getting increasingly concerned about what I'm going to do about my cat when the baby arrives. The situation is made particularly difficult in that I live in a typical london flat so bare with me.

We live in a two bedroom flat and our main bedroom leads out via double doors onto a garden and this is where we have the cat flap (it is the only place we can have the cat flap to lead to the back garden). The second bedroom is the nursery which is ready and raring to go and we have kept the cat out of that room. We also have a kictchen, bathroom and living room but the door to the living room is closed to the cat in the evening so she doesn't rag the sofa.

My issue is that the cat sleeps in our bedrooom every night until about 5am in the morning and then goes out (we have an electric catflap that keeps her in in the evening becuase she fights with the neighbours cat) but we will have the baby and moses basket in our room initially as well. My concern is that the cat may be tempted to nip in the moses basket with the baby and the possible risk of suffocation and yet I have read that the baby should sleep in the same room as you for the 1st six months. Closing the door on the cat will be impossible as she will just a yell and keep us awake all evening.

My husband is just doing that 'don't worry it will be fine' which I originally went along with but now I'm beginning to panic - anyone else shared a room with a baby and a cat? Anyone put the baby in the nursery with a baby monitor from a young age? Anyone any suggestions?

Sorry for the hefty post

princessdave Sun 04-Sep-11 21:17:18

Hi benne81! DH & I were talking about that this morning! If I forget to shut the nursery door Izzy sleeps in the car seat, found her there at 3am this morning. She usually sleeps with us & I fully expect to find her in the Moses basket when it's empty. Mum suggested a cat net from John Lewis. Also can't shut her out as she scratches the door & rips up the carpet. I think we'll get a net & just keep an eye on her- you might find when baby comes sudden cries will startle the cat & she'll keep well clear! Good luck smile

springboksaplenty Sun 04-Sep-11 21:29:24

Tbh my cat didn't go near my ds when he was a baby - I think it was all the crying! Later on she now tentatively sits next to him and puts up with five mins of 'stroking' before scarpering. I'm with your husband it'll work itself out.

GiraffesHaveMoreFun Sun 04-Sep-11 21:34:49

Our cats also avoid baby dd. We banished them from our room from about 35 weeks - they're allowed back in now dd has her own room. Don't bother w a catnet -we tried, but they treated it like a hammock!! We were also v strict about not letting them in the pram, car seat, etc. Poor cats sad

BonzaBlue Sun 04-Sep-11 21:37:07

We have 2 cats - the same cats since my DC1 was born 11 years ago...
They ignored the babies when they came home ... only gave in and said hellow when they were toddlers ! Now am expecting again and I am not at all worried. More worried about our two naughty dogs who chew everything in sight.... sigh ....

Summerbird73 Sun 04-Sep-11 21:43:18

going against the grain here but our two cats LOVE our DS and have always wanted to snuggle in. we have found them in his bed, cot, pram, buggy etc

not wanting to panic you but just to let you know you are right to be thinking about it. we solved it with a cat net from ebay. it went over the moses basket and pram. it worked absolutely fine as the cats didnt want to jump onto it.

it is great that you have cats with a newborn, it was lovely when i was feeding DS on my lap with cat next to me, DS would scrunch his toes into cat as it was lovely and fluffy and of course cat was getting a scratch which he loves! smile

DS is 2 and he and the cats get on so well, DS is so tender with animals as a result smile

newartriotstar Sun 04-Sep-11 21:45:25

We have a similar situation with our cat! We have started shutting her out of the bedroom now before the baby arrives so she gets used to it and doesn't associate it with the baby. She does cry and do a bit of carpet pulling so we let her in if it gets unbearable but this is getting less and less as time goes on. She even goes some nights without hassling us at all!

Oeisha Sun 04-Sep-11 21:45:37

I really wouldn't worry about your cat jumping in there. One squeak from baby and it'll be staying well clear.
BUT, if you do want to build an aversion to the crib/moses basket/whatever, have a spray bottle of water handy and when cat goes near the moses basket, spritz her. It's an idea to move the location of the basket too (so into lounge room) and do it there too, so she def. associates the basket with the spritzing, regardless of the location.
Plus, if you find a nice, snuggly warm place for cat (radiator hammocks etc) she's unlikely to seek baby out as a heat source.
Remember: baby's likely to be a massive time of stress for a cat, so don't be surprised if she goes a bit funny when baby arrives. I know a brilliant forum Catchat that is stuffed full of mums&cats. So if you're ever in need of advice, they're very friendly & keen to keep you and cat (and baby) happy together.

Misty9 Sun 04-Sep-11 22:00:24

Tricky situation with needing to let the cat out via your bedroom... I'm due tomorrow and we're getting a bit worried how our cat will react to the baby - but I have read a tip about putting tin foil in the moses basket/crib/cot/car seat when empty as most cats HATE the sound of it. Ours certainly runs a mile when I get the foil out! smile

Summerbird73 Sun 04-Sep-11 22:07:20

oisha i think the baby will be a bit cheesed off at being spritzed along with the cat hmm the issue here is the OP is worried about waking up and finding cat in bed with baby.

FWIW i think the worst that will happen is that cat will snuggle into baby, and not smother baby IYSWIM. Our cats dont worry about a squeak from DS - they will snuggle anyway. It is only a problem if you are worried about cat hair (which i was with my PFB - but it was never a problem as i said we had a cat net)

babies and cats are sooo cute

lollystix Sun 04-Sep-11 22:13:31

I worried about my flat cats and ds1. To be honest they avoided him like the plague but naturally didn't want to take any risks. As suggested cat nets off eBay are the way forward. Not sure if you can get crib ones but you can get cot sized ones.

ChristinedePizan Sun 04-Sep-11 22:16:57

I wouldn't worry about it - as others have said, most cats hate babies. But if yours is one that doesn't, then a cat net works well. The foil tip is genius too.

bilblio Sun 04-Sep-11 22:17:43

We had a cat net which we only had to use over the carrycot when DD wasn't in it. Our cats were terrified of her! It's only in the last 6 months that they've decided it's safe to be in the same room as her, and they will occasionally let her stroke them. She's 4 grin
Poor things are going to have to go through it all again in a couple of months when the new DC arrives.

We were very strict about keeping them out of car seats, cots etc, they would get chased out of the house if we caught them, but they never went near them if DD was in it. We always kept our bedroom door open and the cats will come in at night, but they never went near the carrycot if she was there. If they had we'd have used the cat net.... ours are too hefty for it to work as a hammock.

My SIL had problems with the cats sleeping in the carrycot when they weren't in so they put a bag of lemon peel in there for a couple of weeks and the cats never went near it again.

princessdave Sun 04-Sep-11 22:28:22

Some great tips in here, thanks OP for posting! Seems nets work for some and not others so will get one anyway. Was due today but no sign. Will keep the foil & lemon peel tips in mind too!

SootySweepandSue Sun 04-Sep-11 22:32:00

I have a 1 yr old DD and a 2 yr old cat. Our cat has never hurt the baby on purpose but has leapt into her basket (I was sitting 1 metre away and it was a miracle she did not hurt my DD). She would also sleep in her basket/cot/pram whenever possible. I have had to be pretty vigilant with this which has been stressful at times.

To be 100% sure you need to have baby sleeping in different room from the cat and even in the daytime never leave cat and baby alone together. it is a bit lime having a baby and toddler I imagine.

Could your cat learn to use a window in another room? Why can you not add a cat flap in another door?

SootySweepandSue Sun 04-Sep-11 22:35:42

I would add that my cat wasn't interesting in befriending the baby but did go for her sleeping places. When she jumped into her Moses basket she didn't see her in it as it was on a stand, so in her defence she thought it was a comfy bed in the middle of the room!

I hope they will be friends one day.

SootySweepandSue Sun 04-Sep-11 22:45:10

Just adding, I would let the cat have the lounge and the baby the bedroom. Cats hate babies crying and will want to get out and your sofa will soon take some damage from the baby anyways (milk spills, sick, crayons etc).

I have read on cat forums that it is important to give cats a safe place away from baby noise/grabbing. I have to shut mine in the bedroom sometimes for her own peace. She is also being aggressive outside with other cats (3 fights this summer) which the vet thinks may be related :-(

Summerbird73 Mon 05-Sep-11 10:28:49

wow i am loving the lemon peel tip <makes mental note>

knitterati Mon 05-Sep-11 10:40:13

Should also add, something soaked in Orange essential oil (you can buy at Holland & Barrat and places like that), helps - certainly put ours off scratching the sofa!

Good luck!

worldgonecrazy Mon 05-Sep-11 10:51:33

Seconded all the comments about cats staying away from babies. Our cat never slept anywhere near the moses basket or the cot. Now DD is a toddler they have reached an uneasy truce but still have had a few altercations. Mostly the cat puts up with her but sometimes if DD is chasing her too much or hurting her, she will give her a swipe. OH thinks that the cat treats DD as if she was a kitten, so it's a warning nip rather than a full on attack.

Oeisha Mon 05-Sep-11 11:24:03

Lol! I wasn't suggeting you spritz baby too! grin Generally making the cat wary of anything you don't want her near will help...start now and you'll have it sorted when baby arrives...soon...I'd accompany the spritz with a firm "NO" to.

I thought about mentioning citrus smells. Cats do indeed hate them BUT be warned, some cats - like one of my boys - will then wee on the smell to make it smell 'normal'. Same with tin foil. Stresses like a new baby can exaggerate this behaviour. IF your lady does start weeing on things then get her checked over (UTIs are VERY common in cats, especially stressed ones), but it will more than likely 'just' be the stress. If she does look miserable, things like "Feliway" diffusers help a lot.

TeamAniston Mon 05-Sep-11 12:15:41

We have 3 cats, 2 of whom always sleep on our bed and there's not a chance anyone would get any sleep if we shut them out! Also, I didn't want them to feel any more jealous of the baby than they were already bound to do. So, our daughter slept in her cot in her nursery (next door to our bedroom) from day 1 - she's now nearly 2 and we have another on the way.

She was/is happy (a great sleeper and we've never had to deal with 'moving' her into her nursery which can be a nightmare), the cats are happy and rarely if ever go into her nursery (even though the door is generally open when she's not asleep in there. In short, I wouldn't overthink it and please don't worry that cats and babies don't mix.

Our 3 cats more than tolerate our toddler and one of them is even her best friend - his name was one of her first words and he's never more than 6 feet away from her.

Good luck with it all, it will work itself out!

TheBride Mon 05-Sep-11 12:25:59

I have 2 indoor cats. They have ignored/ avoided DS since the day we brought him home from hospital. I think the cat will probably steer clear but maybe get a cat net for peace of mind.

Grumpla Mon 05-Sep-11 12:32:33

My cat never went near DS or anything that smelled of him. But then she is not a particularly 'nesty' cat.

Cat net and squirt bottle / waterpistol as initial deterrent should work fine, get the Moses basket set up well in advance so she is totally trained before the baby arrives. Squirts work best if she doesn't see you do it though! A bit of staking out the Moses basket from the next room sounds like a relaxing activity for your last few weeks of maternity leave grin

benne81 Mon 05-Sep-11 13:19:39

Thanks so much everyone for the advice - I've already bought a catnet and I'm on my way to get some orange essence (my cat hates it when I eat a satsuma near her so I think that will probably work). I'm going to just go with the flow and see how it goes the first couple of weeks - if its too difficult to keep them apart then the baby will go in the perfectly safe nursery with a monitor like teamanisiton suggests.

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