Hello, I am currently five months pregnant and we
have a four-month-old kitten and a three-year-old
cat. What is the best way to get them used to the
idea of having a baby in the house . . . especially
for my kitten, he is very playfull and I am scared
he will try to play with our baby and accidently
hurt it. I’m also scared that both my cats will
feel very neglected and replaced because they have
been our “babies” since their births. Any
suggestions would be GREAT!!!
Oak harbor, WA
Most pets have no trouble whatsoever adapting to the birth of a child.
When it comes to protecting your infant from harm, common sense must reign supreme. The cats and the baby should only interact with each other under your supervision. Keep the cats’ nails trimmed short, and make sure the cats are clean and well-groomed.
Most cats tend to ignore newborns because newborns aren’t highly mobile. Toddlers are a different story. Be especially vigilant when your child begins to crawl and walk. In very rare instances I have seen toddlers end up with nasty scratches after cornering the family cat. In my experience, however, most cats are remarkably tolerant of toddlers. Those that aren’t generally engage in a policy of avoiding the youngster.
As well, remember that certain diseases can spread from cats to fetuses, babies or children. Transmission of these diseases does not occur often. However, talk to your veterinarian about toxoplasmosis and intestinal worms. If you practice good hygiene, take basic precautions and keep your cats free of parasites they will pose little risk to you or your child. The Centers for Disease Control has emphasized that healthy pets pose minimal risk to human health. Nonetheless, you should be aware of the potential for disease spread between species.
Will your cats adjust to no longer being your “babies”? I think so. Most new parents spend a lot of time at home, which means more time with the cats. Usually there is plenty of love to go around. For instance, you can hold your baby and pet your cat at the same time. I doubt that the cats will feel neglected.