Furry Friends And New Babies

19 Nov 2015

Cats bring a number of benefits to a household, they teach us about caring for others, respect for other beings and love.

For children having a pet cat around may reduce the incidence of allergies later in life.  However there is a worry that becoming pregnant means that the cat would need to be rehomed, when in most cases some careful preparation and love can make the transition easier all round.

The ideal way to prepare your cat is to prepare everything in advance of babies arrival - same as with older siblings they will then not have too much change at the same time baby arrives - which may cause resentment of the baby for "ruining their idyllic lives!!"  Start keeping the cat out of the nursery or main bedroom (or both) early in your pregnancy, depending on where baby will sleep.  Move litter trays to places that the baby will not be able to each once they are crawling around and/or get covers for them.  

When buying new things for the baby it is normal for your cats to want to have a sniff around them and check them out.  It may be wise to buy a net for the moses basket,cot or pram straight away so they don't get into the habit of snuggling up in there only to be turfed out later on.

To get your cat ready for the sound of baby crying you could get a youtube/app recording of a baby crying and build it up in volume gently.

Once baby arrives try to stick to the usual routine as much as possble with your cat.  The least disruption for them the easier the transition will be.  Teach the baby to be gentle with the cats from the outset.  It's easy for a excited toddler to rub a little hard or grab onto kitty a little to enthusiastically.  Also it may be a good idea to create a no baby zone where your cat can retreat to if it all gets too much.  

So now you are pregnant how do you stay safe from the risk of toxoplasmosis?

First of all to put the risk into some perspective only 5 in 1000 women get toxoplasmosis of those who are not immune already.  The risk is not only from cats it also comes from raw/undercooked meats in particular lamb or pork, unpasteurised goats milk and it's products and some unwashed salad and vegetables.  In relation to cats to reduce that risk:

Make sure your cat is neutered if not already.

It is best if you can get somebody else to deal with the litter tray.  If you have to clear the litter tray wear gloves and maybe an apron and then wash hands thoroughly afterwards.

Make sure the cat is healthy and flea free at all times.

For more great information and stories of introducing cats to babies visit:

http://www.cats.org.uk/uploads/documents/The_Cat_Mag_extracts/Cats_and_babies.pdf