Welcoming a new baby into your home is exciting but can also be nerve-wracking, especially if you have pets. One question many new parents have is whether it is safe to have cats around newborns?
No, it is not safe to leave newborn babies with cats unsupervised. After all, cats are animals, and their mode can change unpredictably to aggression at any time and might scratch or bite the infants.
While cats are often beloved family members, there are concerns about potential risks to the baby’s health and safety.
This blog post is the ultimate guide about newborns and cats. Is it safe to have cats around infants? What are the potential risks? Which safety measures to follow when a baby arrives and how to introduce your new family member to your pet?
- Leaving a newborn baby unsupervised with cats is dangerous.
- Cats are animals, and their aggressive mode can be triggered anytime.
- There is a risk that your feline friend will bite, scratch, or suffocate your infant.
- Gradually introduce the new family member and pet.
- Ensure your cat is properly vaccinated and in good health condition.
Is It Safe To Have Cats Around Newborns?
In previous years in the United States, many cases have been reported in hospitals that pets, especially dogs and cats, have harmed newborn babies by biting and scratching.
In rare cases, children have been known to contract illnesses associated with animal contact (also known as zoonotic diseases).
It is not safe to have cats around newborn babies unsupervised. Cats can suffocate, bite, scratch the infant, and carry bacteria and parasites that may pose a risk to an infant.
All cats should be tested and treated for potential parasites and properly vaccinated before being introduced into the home.
Pets should be kept away from cribs and other areas where a baby may be unattended.
All litter boxes should be far from any newborn’s sleeping area.
Why Are Cats So Attracted To Infants?
Cats may be attracted to infants for several reasons: curiosity, playfulness, hormonal changes, warmth, and nurturing instincts.
Cats are known for their ability to detect hormonal changes in humans, and they may be drawn to the scent of a newborn.
They are naturally curious creatures, often drawn to anything new or different in their environment.
An infant may pique a feline’s interest because they are a small, unfamiliar creature that moves and makes sounds.
Baby crying and the body heat of an infant can be particularly alluring. The warmth of a sleeping baby may be especially appealing to cats, who often seek out cozy spots to rest.
Some pets may see infants as potential playmates, especially if the baby is moving or making noise. Felines are known for their playful nature and may be intrigued by the movements and sounds of an infant.
Cats are known to have nurturing instincts, especially when it comes to caring for their own young. They may sense that the newborn baby needs protection and care and may feel compelled to keep a watchful eye on them.
Cats and Babies – Safety Concerns
When it comes to cats and babies, there are a few safety concerns that cat owner and caregivers should keep in mind:
Cats seek out warm, cozy places to sleep and may try to cuddle up with a baby in their crib or on a bed. This can pose a risk of suffocation, as cats may unintentionally cover the baby’s mouth and nose with their body or bedding.
Cats have sharp claws that can cause injury, and they may scratch or accidentally scratch a baby and can lead to cat scratching disease, especially if they feel threatened or scared.
Cat allergies can be a threat for some babies, which can cause sneezing, coughing, and other symptoms.
4) Disease Transmission
Cats can carry diseases such as toxoplasmosis and cat scratch fever, which can be transmitted to humans through scratches, bites, or contact with infected feces.
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What Safety Measures To Follow
- Always supervise interactions between your feline friend and the newborn. Never leave the cat and baby alone together, even if the cat has never shown aggressive behavior.
- Introduce the cat to the newborn gradually, allowing the cat to get used to the baby’s presence and smell. Allow the cat to approach the baby on its terms without forcing interaction.
- Keep the cat out of the baby’s sleeping area to reduce the risk of suffocation. This includes the baby’s crib, bassinet, or playpen.
- Trim the cat’s nails regularly and provide them with scratching posts or pads to discourage them from scratching furniture or people.
- Keep the cat’s litter box clean and out of the baby’s reach to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
- Consider keeping the cat out of certain rooms or areas where the baby spends a lot of time. Never allow stray cats to interact with your kid.
- Keep your kitty updated with the vaccination and properly treat any feline allergy or diseases on time.
- If the baby develops symptoms of allergies, such as sneezing or coughing, consult a doctor.
- If a cat shows signs of anxiety or aggression towards the baby, it may be helpful to consult an animal behaviorist for advice on addressing the behavior.
- Wear gloves for pet grooming or litter cleaning and wash your hand before interacting with your kid.
How To Introduce Cats And Babies
- Introduce a newborn baby to your fur baby under close supervision.
- Ensure your pet is in a relaxed mode at a time of interaction.
- Prefer a quiet room and a noise-free environment.
- Hold your baby in your arms and keep the focus on your beloved kitty and be ready for any alarming situation, such as biting or scratching.
- At the start, it is good to introduce your baby during sleep. Cats often become aggressive with babies crying and baby sounds.
- Repeat the process on a scheduled basis 2 to 3 times a day for two weeks.
- Initially, your feline friend will sniff the baby for some time and lose interest in your infant with time.
How Do Cats React To Newborn Babies?
Cats can react differently to infants depending on their personality, past experiences, and the baby’s behavior.
Here are some common reactions that cats may have:
- They may sniff and investigate the baby to learn more about them.
- Well-trained kitties often want to play and cuddle with the kid.
- Some may be indifferent to the baby and ignore them.
- The presence of a new baby may cause them to feel anxious or stressed. Signs of anxiety may include hiding, excessive grooming, or vocalizing.
- In rare cases, cats may show aggression towards infants. This may be due to fear, anxiety, or territorial behavior.
Supervision is the best way to protect your new baby from cat aggression. You can also use feline-calming pheromone spray to keep your pet calm.
Cats are not like humans. They don’t get jealous of kids; however, they can become anxious when they first meet with a new family member, leading to aggression.
Once your kitty is familiar with the baby, they will start loving and caring for the kid, such as other family members.
Cat hairs are not likely to cause breathing problems in babies. However, cat hair and dander can carry allergens that may trigger respiratory symptoms in some infants.
Yes, cat urine is toxic for babies as well as adults. Ensure your baby does not ingest pet waste, including pee or poo.
Keep the litter box always from your children and train your pet for pee and poo.
Yes, cat toxoplasmosis can affect children, pregnant women and even harm unborn babies.
Ensure to avoid kids and pregnant women’s interaction with cat poo. Clean the cat’s litter box with other family members.
Cats are not bad for newborns; however, it depends on the individual cat’s mode and health condition.
There is no issue if your cat is healthy, properly groomed, calm, and vaccinated.
Never let your new baby and cat sleep together. Cats love the warmth of the new infant and can suffocate and smother them by sleeping on your kid’s face.
Yes, cats’ hair can cause a choking hazard and intestinal blockage in children. Also, there is a risk of other illnesses, such as gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Is it safe to have cats around newborns?
It’s important to remember that while some cats may be attracted to infants, it’s essential to supervise any interactions between cats and babies to ensure their safety.
Cats can be unpredictable, and it’s always better to take some safety measures when introducing them to infants or other young children.