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Introducing cats to baby: any advice?

(5 Posts)
leanabh2013 Fri 09-Nov-12 14:04:59

hi there,

Looking for any advice about newborns and cats. We have two house cats, 1 older female who is a bit of a stresshead where change is concerned and a slightly younger male who is a cool dude kind of cat. Both were rescued: we got the older one when she was about 2, and she had had a hard life and takes a very long time to trust people other than us, especially men. It took about 4 years for her to go near my parents and a male friend of ours! She was jealous of the younger cat when he came, but didn't harm him. She's very good natured and affectionate with us though, a proper 'lap' cat. The younger one we got as a kitten, but had to take him early as his mother was stressed. He is devoted to us, particularly to my husband, and has always slept in our room, either on a chair by the bed when he was tiny ( we had to have him in sight, on an electric blanket for the first few weeks) or actually on the bed.

I'm a bit worried on two fronts: firstly, how do I introduce them to baby in such a way that they won't be upset/jealous/threatened? Secondly, what habits should I be trying to get them into now (I'm only 11+2/3 just now)? Non cat keeping friends have thrown up their hands proclaiming ' the moggies must go' and giving me the usual nonsense about them liking to sleep on babies faces. While I know this is a bit of an old wives tale, is there anything I can buy to put over the cot/crib to stop moggy cuddles being attempted? Cat number two does quite often come and crawl into our bed once we are asleep, as he likes the warmth. We have tried to discourage it, but it might be a bit late to break the habit with him now.

Cat 1 is a bit scared of kids and tends to hide from them, and cat 2 isn't that fond of them: although he is devoted to my wee nephew (who is 4 and has grown up with cats), I tend to advise my younger pupils ( I teach piano) to give him a wide birth, just in case.

All advice very welcome: my husband has always had cats, but I've only kept them since we met!

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 09-Nov-12 14:18:19

Purchase some insect nets from mothercare they prevented my cats getting to baby over cot or pushchair.
Newborns are relatively in offensive to cats and most cats don't really care about them. However, 8 month old crusing and crawling babies are very offensive as they grab cats. So for now bring baby home use nets cats won't be bothered.
When baby starts to move around make sure cats have somewhere to get away from baby.
Cats don't really do jealousy unlike dogs all humans are beneath contempt baby humans are no exception.

bonzo77 Fri 09-Nov-12 14:24:03

I had 2 cats when DS was born. They were both very attached to me and DH. They were rescues who had previous experience of babies. We just brought DS home and showed him to the cats. They were a bit startled when he moved, and freaked the first time he cried, but were not really that interested or bothered after that. We often napped all together in bed during the day. At night we had always shut them in the kitchen anyway.

I suggest that you decide if you want the cats in your room over night when baby comes, and if not, make that change ASAP so they're used to it. If you are in hospital with the baby for more than a day or 2 it might be worth letting the cats sniff some clothing that has been worn by the baby and / or got your milk / colostrum on it so they get used to the smell. If you have a straightforward delivery and are sent home after 6 hours, or just the next day though that might not be possible.

Personally I think it's pretty off to get rid of the cats because there is a baby on the way. If baby comes and you have insurmountable problems, then maybe. I did wonder if newborn DS was allergic, but the MW reassured me that allergies take longer than that to develop, and newborns are often snuffly.

leanabh2013 Fri 09-Nov-12 14:56:06

Thanks folks!
lonecatwithkitten, I agree, and am certain that the cats refer to us as minion/tin operator between themselves!

will definitely try getting a net, should put them off.
Bonzo, agreed also, I would never dream of getting shot of the cats just because there was a baby on the way, especially given what a horrible start the older one had. Will try the clothing thing if I stay in, and might try and renegotiate with hubby about the cat sleeping on the bed. We're swapping the bedrooms around before the birth anyway, so hopefully cat 2 might stick with the room he likes!

gobbin Sun 11-Nov-12 16:11:39

The only thing I would say is to agree with others about moving where the cats sleep to another room. You mustn't get rid of them but you should make changes, otherwise you will be stressing overnight about whether the cats have got in with the baby. Hubby has to realise this.

I have a lovely pic of my cat looking at my son in his car seat after we brought him home from hosp (15 yrs ago now) and the look on her face is 'What the HELL is that?!' lol.

We used a net over the carry cot he slept in but a couple of times we found her in the carry cot with him, it was obviously warm and cosy! You really can't be too careful.

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