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New baby and cats

(20 Posts)
Naetha Wed 19-Sep-07 10:31:40

I know this isn’t strictly a pregnancy issue, but I don’t know where else to put it! I’m 25 weeks pregnant with my first, and I live in a house with 3 very affectionate cats. To say that they’re not going to know what’s hit them is an understatement. Has anyone got any tips for the first few weeks of bringing a baby up in a house where the cats have always been priority number one? Currently the cats sleep in our bedroom, usually on the bed or on the floor, although one of them always ends up sleeping under the covers between me and my husband! Now obviously this isn’t going to be able to carry on in the first few months, however I don’t know how to go about preparing them for this. We’ve tried shutting them out of the bedroom at night, but all they do is sleep outside the door and as soon as I go to the loo (which I do several times a night) they all rush in and assume their usual positions.
I have no qualms as the LO gets older as they are very gentle cats and never bitten or scratched me or DH, but they can be very affectionate, and I’m a little worried about them trying to sleep with the baby and smothering him. I’ve seen cat-nets in mothercare etc, but they do not look particularly sturdy and don’t know if they would keep a determined cat away who wanted a snuggle! Ideally we’d keep the cats away from the baby in the first 6 months anyway for hygiene (fur!) purposes. Having said that, in all honesty I don’t know how the cats will react to having a baby in the house – they don’t like disturbance of any kind, so chances are a screaming baby will keep them well away!

Anyway, any tips gratefully welcomed

ib Wed 19-Sep-07 10:39:06

We had the same, I have to say we did exclude the cats from the bedroom from the start of the pg so they would not associate it with the baby.

They stayed well away initially though one of them did like to curl up next to me when I bf.

Ds is almost 9mo now and they adore him, and we've even managed to teach him to stroke them gently rather tan grabbing their fur and pulling! wink

RGPargy Wed 19-Sep-07 11:11:00

Dont worry Naetha. At first the cats will just wonder WTF all that noise is and will probably run a mile every time baby cries. They'll probably not want to be too near the baby at first until they get used to it. As for them wanting to snuggle, i'm a bit worried about that too with my two, but tbh i dont think they would want to snuggle with something that makes so much noise alot of the time! It's like asking them to be snuggly with a pneumatic drill!! wink

Gill79 Wed 19-Sep-07 11:17:06

Oh dear - poor pussy cats! I'm sure they will get over it though. I'm not sure I would trust a catnet with a cat determined for a cuddle either. We were visiting friends recently with a cat, and another friend was visiting with his 10 month old. The cat was very wary of the baby (understandable as the baby was very keen on making friends!) and was keeping as well away as possible. Baby started grizzling a bit just before his tea-time, and then started a full-on screaming fit. As soon as he started screaming the cat came straight for him, trying to nuzzle him with his head. I panicked a bit and lifted the baby out of the way but the cat wouldn't stop trying to get at him - and everyone was sure it was trying to comfort the baby not attack it. It was so strange, a really nice if very wierd thing, since you would think that the cat's sensitive ears would not like screaming.. maybe it just sounded like a hurt kitten suddenly?

lailasmum Wed 19-Sep-07 11:20:53

our cat was totally phased anyway by the generally change of behaviour so wasn't too inclined to be as cosy as normal. Then when our daughter projectile vomited over him at a few days old it made him keep away anyway. they get on fine now so I think that just the noise will keep them away.

Naetha Wed 19-Sep-07 11:23:11

Gill79 - that sounds very sweet about the cat apparently trying to comfort the baby One of our cats (who is younger than the other two) heard crying on the TV the other day, and immediately ran in trying to find out what was going on, so it will be interesting to see how it affects her! (yes yes I know I shouldn't use the interaction of my cats and my baby as a social experiment!)

As for the snuggling to a noisy baby, they will happily snuggle to DH who can snore like the proverbial pneumatic drill so anything is possible!

Essentially I think its going to be a bit tough for them at first, but hopefully they should acclimatise quickly

ImBarryScott Wed 19-Sep-07 11:26:57

Hi Naetha,

We have a geriatric and grumpy cat, and I was terrified for her when we brought DD home. Cat sleeps in a basket in out room, and also gets into our bed for a cuddle before we turn the lights out. She never once got in DD's Moses basket. When we bought a bedside cot, I was worried that the cat would get in, as it's hard to see where the cot ends and the bed starts. But she never did. I think on some level she respects DD's space. The cat's not keen on snuggling up to DD, but will wander over to sniff her from time.

Oh and Gill, one time I was cooking, and was a bit slow in getting to DD when she started crying. I found the cat sort of watching over her, and then giving me "call yourself a mother?" looks! Definitely think the distress sound is universally understood across species wink.

RGPargy Wed 19-Sep-07 11:29:24

Gill - that reminds me of a cat i once had. If i raised my voice she would immediately jump on my lap and try and nuzzle my mouth, as if to shush me. It seemed to stress her out if i was distressed, poor little thing!

Brangelina Wed 19-Sep-07 11:35:05

I have 2 cats who were (and to some extent still are) my babies.We had no problems at all when DD arrived, like others have said they tend to keep well away when the baby is very little, so absolutely no need to keep them out of the bedroom. As DD grew and became more mobile she began to start stroking/grabbing them they just sat still or made themselves scarce, they never lashed out. I have one cat who is very patient and another who is less so, the less patient cat just got up and moved, only now that DD is 2 does he let her stroke him for short periods of time, then gets up out of her way. Having said that he will, now that she is older, lash out if DD is too insistent or rough, but never with his claws out IYSWIM. DD has learnt to respect him and his space, though not so much the other cat's, poor

BTW I made sure that both my cats still got/get lots of cuddles from me whenever possible, especially in the early days, but jealousy has never been an issue anyway. I'd have been a bit more wary of a dog, but cats are usually very good with children.

Loopymumsy Wed 19-Sep-07 13:13:58

Message withdrawn

mumzyof2 Wed 19-Sep-07 13:24:22

When i was pg with ds1, i had two of the softest cats imaginable, and i loved them so much! so much so, that when i went into labour, i sat on my bed with them, crying because i wouldnt be able to spend so much attention on them. Thy were ok when alex was born, although spent a lot less time in the house, but never once tried getting in cot or moses basket with ds, however i did find Metz in alex cot a couple of times, but alex was never in it. Now,im 9 weeks pg again, with THREE cats, and a chihuahua! Its going to be one hell of a house! And my two cats (the third was my bf's before he moved in with me) are rarely here anymore, and its quite sad because they are such lazy indoor cats, but would rather spend their time outside, than with by bf's cat, that opens the fridge and steals food at every possible moment, a two year old that chases them, or a tiny chihuahua, that likes to make up for his size, by yapping at them all day. Th thing is, the cats will have to get used to any situation you put them in (i never intened on having so many animals, two cats was enough!), howvwe, if you trust your cats, im sure they'll be fine, and if you stop them going in your bedroom now, it will be easier than when theyre scratching at your door when the babies born. Give them plenty of attention in your living room, and they'll be fine.
oh, sorry to all the people that fell aslepp during my HUGE ramble on!

Chaotica Wed 19-Sep-07 13:33:21

DP and I worried about it but our rather insistent, aging puss kept away at a safe(ish) distance once DD was born. (She has had 15 kittens and seemed to instinctively understand little members of a species even if not her own.)

(I suspect that after couple of months she wondered why DD was still around being rather helpless and hadn't been given away to a good home grin )

Now DD is 16 months and has learnt to feed her and our main problem is ending up with an cat who is an enormous diabetic.

fiona76 Wed 19-Sep-07 19:02:44

Thats all good to know I have one year cat who rules the roost and baby due in 2 months. I was wondering how they would get on.

choufleur Wed 19-Sep-07 19:13:10

we have two cats and i was very worried about them jumping into the moses basket and cot. we put both the basket and cot up a while before ds arrived and armed ourselves with a water pistol. whenever either of the cats went near the basket or cot they got a quick spray or water (may sound mean but it worked). we only had to do it a few times before the cats wouldn't go near either. One of the cats still stays completely away from the cot and ds is now 17months or cat hates ds as he likes 'patting' the cats.

missbumpy Wed 19-Sep-07 19:15:06

I was wondering about this too. I don't have cats but I'm going to stay at my mum's for a few months after my EDD and she's got 2 cats. They're knocking on a bit and not likely to be too scratchy or spiteful. I was just wondering if I should be worried about the cat fur or indeed a big furry cat deciding to curl up and take a nap on the baby's face shock!

whomovedmychocolate Wed 19-Sep-07 19:15:53

Both our cats were bloody terrified of DD - she was very loud and it scared them enough that they hid for the first six months. Now she's mobile they are even more scared. I don't think you have to worry TBH.

We did shut them out of her bedroom to start with but quite honestly, they avoid her like the plague anyway and get really worried if they accidentally end up in the same room as her so we aren't concerned these days (she does like biting their tails though when she gets close enough hmm) grin

Charlie999 Wed 19-Sep-07 19:20:52

I have a 16 week old DD and was concerned how my 6 year old spoilt "baby" would react to a real baby...and he's been fine.

He did claw at the carpet outside the bedroom and make his feeling known very vocally about not being allowed to sleep on the bed hmm but DD went in her own room at 6 weeks and normal service was resumed grin

We have had to put a pet gate up at the nursery door as the cat LOVES sleeping in the cot (not with DD obviously - he's shit scared of her grin) and I did catch him in the moses basket once!

As long as he continued to be fed and got lots of attention from me, he was happy smile

Good luck smile

missbumpy Wed 19-Sep-07 19:27:24

Good, hopefully mum's cats will be terrified of baby grin

kerioke Wed 19-Sep-07 19:44:37

hi naetha, i havent read the whole thread just the OP so am probably repeating others words!

we had similar before and my biggest tip is to make all adjustments BEFORE baby comes... dont put cats on landing where they can hijack your room once door opens... put them away from your room completely without access... they will be sneaky and try to hide under bed etc when bedtime comes, but they will adjust really quickly... i know it is so so hard to push your 'babies' away (i found it heart breajing) but it is kinder to do it now whilst still preg as you still have plenty of time for them in the day... if you do it all once baby is here you will have your hands already full and they may resent sharing!

i was worried about smothering, but again as long as they arent left in the room alone with sleeping baby there really isnt a problem.

another thing to do to help them adjust once bub is here is to leave an item of babies (we used a vest) with bubs scent on somewhere round the house the cats like... they will start to recognisse his scent in familiar surroundings and welcome LO all the more!

MrsMcJnr Thu 20-Sep-07 15:10:53

Naetha – reading with interest as I too am in this situation as you know. I’m getting cramps in my legs at night now because I need to move but can’t for fear of hurting them, I know it’s silly but they are my babies too! We had hoped that we’d move house soon and be able to change the routine then but as time goes on, I am getting concerned that we will need to start locking them out so that they can get used to it when the baby arrives. One of ours scratches at doors (including the loo door) if I lock her out from me! hmm I know my two little ones hate babies crying and noisy children too – oh dear – I do keep telling them that Beanie will be different because it will be their’s but we’ll see!

Lots of lovely stories on here smile

Couple of weeks ago, my BF brought her 10 week baby round. He was in his chair and the older cat (10) wasn't bothered by him at all and carried on sleeping on the arm of the sofa but when one of the younger cats came in (age 3) and tried to sniff about the older one hissed at her and sent her from the room. She allowed her back in again but she had learnt her lesson and kept a safe distance. Interestingly, the other cat, the ruler of the roost (also 3) who I know is scared of babies was allowed to come in and look into the chair, when she saw what was in it she ran away - maybe the older one knew that no hiss was needed!

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