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Will My Cat Smother My Baby?

Aug19

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Photo by jeniphur99
Hello, wise and very smart Amy!
I am seven weeks pregnant with my very first baby and my husband and I are so so excited. And, obviously, being only seven weeks along means I have TONS of time to get things ready. But I’m kind of a planner, and I’m afraid that being pregnant is turning me into a worrier as well. So here’s what I’m worried about (aside from starting every sentence with a conjunction, that is).

I’m already thinking about how we’re going to deal with having a baby in the house and having two cats. More specifically, how we will prevent the cats from smooshing and smothering the baby while s/he’s sleeping. (At this point in time, we’re planning to have the baby sleep in a crib in a room across the hall from our bedroom. I’m not necessarily against keeping the baby in our room at night, so if that seems to be a good option later on, maybe we’ll go with that.) Our cats are not so good with being trained. We’ve tried different training methods with them before–to prevent furniture scratching, jumping on the countertops, things like that–like squirting with water and sudden loud noises. But nothing seems to work. These cats are too smart and crafty, and they know that it’s just us squirting the water and making the noises. I don’t even want to know what kind of trouble they get into when we’re not home.

My thought is that before we buy a crib, we need a plan, so hopefully the cats will associate the deterrent with the crib, not with us. I’ve heard about some kind of crib cover that is like a mosquito cover for picnic food. A friend told me about some kind of mats that give a small electric shock when pets step on them–possibly those could go in the crib to keep the cats away (pre-baby, of course)?? I adore my cats, but I would give them up in a heartbeat if I thought my baby wasn’t going to be safe around them.

Amy, you have pets, and one of them is even a cat! So on to my question: Did you take any steps of precaution to keep Max off Noah’s and Ezra’s faces while they were sleeping? Do you have any suggestions on how to keep pets and babies apart without constant round-the-clock supervision? I hear sleep is hard enough to come by during the first few weeks of a baby’s life, and I don’t want to be on pet patrol!

Thank you so much!
Megan

Oh, goodness. You poor thing. I don’t want this to sound condescending or anything but WHO IS TELLING YOU THIS NONSENSE?

This. The cat smothering the baby thing? Is an old wives’ tale. Been pretty much thoroughly, soundly debunked. Like it says here. And here. The one “famous case” of a cat smothering a six-week-old in London turned out to be SIDS, though the original story has stuck around since people love having their old urban legends “proven” and tend to turn a blind eye to the follow-up stories.

The legend has been traced back to the days of the witch-hunts and related hysteria, when cats were somehow linked to witches. So you had evil, murdering cats sucking the breath out of good Christian babies on purpose. When civilization outgrew its collective fear of witches, we still kept the legend around, morphing it to suit the day. Soon it was jealousy that prompted the killing, then the smell of milk on the baby’s breath, and then at some point it switched from breath-sucking to smothering. It’s still just as silly, when you think about it. Do your cats regularly plant themselves across your face? (I mean, mine’s a huge nighttime cuddler, but I’ve never woken up choking on cat hairs.) Do they go bonkers over the smell of milk and try to curl up in your cereal bowl or coffee mug? Probably not, considering that most adult cats don’t actually drink milk, at least not outside of cartoons.

OF COURSE, all this is not to say that pets and babies automatically go together like peas and carrots. OF COURSE, you want to supervise any interaction, and keep cats out of the crib, but honestly? It is so very unlikely that your cats will even WANT to be in the crib WITH the baby. Cats, in general, don’t choose noisy, squalling, weird-smelling things as their pillows or bedmates. When your baby is in the crib and you are not in the room, shoo the cats out, close the door, crisis averted. There is no need for worry or electro-mats or special crib-cages (those are really intended for older children who can climb out of their cribs and for parents who aren’t ready for the TERRIBLE FREEDOM of a toddler bed. Update: crib tents have since been recalled and are no longer for sale in the US.). If you really can’t let go of the worry, go for a crib with high, narrow slats and bars and place it where it’s not near any other furniture (changing table, etc.) that the cats can use as a launching pad.

But really, this IS a worry you can let go of. My cat has never once attempted to jump in a crib or bassinet, either empty or chock full of milk-breath baby. He does enjoy naps on the changing pad, but that’s about it. When we brought Noah home, he took one disdainful sniff and walked away in complete disinterest. I don’t think he even realized Ezra existed until five months ago, even though Max was right there in our bed, sleeping across my feet throughout all our early months of co-sleeping.

(We tried so hard to keep off the bed altogether, I swear. We bought him a new bed [haaa!], we tried getting him to sleep with my in-laws, repeated firm nudges off the edge, locking him in the hall [not so great with a yowwwwwwwwwwwly Siamese], and nothing worked. Luckily he never came within four square feet of the baby — all he wanted was his regular corner near the foot of our bed, and eventually we caved and let the poor thing have it.)

The real “danger” of cats + baby is really later on, once your baby gets older and grabby and mobile. Again, most cats will be faster and figure out where they can hide, but they may also give the baby a sharp swat before they flee. Again, supervision is key, particularly if you know your cat has a grouchy or skittish temperament. It’s also never too early to model proper pet handling with your baby — take his or her hand and pet the cats the right way. “Gentle, gennnnntle.” My cat is kind of nuts, because not only does he tolerate Ezra’s twisty excited fur-grabbing (the sight of the cat sends him in an almost psychotic state of glee), he actually seeks it out. I’m not about to leave him in charge of babysitting, Good Dog Carl style, but I’m happy to say that I’ve never, ever once felt that my pets pose any danger to my children, or vice versa.

As for preparing your pets in a general sense, read this. When it comes to introducing them to the baby, read this. That’s about it, plus telling whoever is feeding you urban legends as parenting advice to go suck breath elsewhere.

Don’t forget to visit Amalah’s weekly Pregnancy Calendar. You won’t regret it.


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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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44 Responses to “Will My Cat Smother My Baby?”

  1. Jenny Aug 20 at 11:23 am Reply Reply

    I wouldn’t worry so much about it. If your cats are like most cats, they won’t be too interested in the new baby.
    As an aside, one my favorite memories with my little sisters (they are 12 years younger) was when we would read books at bedtime (sometimes I would do this, most of the time it was my mom or dad) when they were 3 or 4, every single night without fail the cat would jump up on the readers lap while we were reading.

  2. Laurellee Aug 20 at 11:28 am Reply Reply

    Put the crib up and if the cat seems to like to jump in and stay awhile, I heard that if you fill up the crib with balloons for awhile that cats will begin to avoid it like the plague.
    Once my baby got bigger the cat liked to take naps with her in the crib. They are totally bonded, those two.
    It will be fine!!

  3. Victoria Aug 20 at 11:48 am Reply Reply

    I entirely agree – we received (and still have to listen to) so many warnings about the baby and the cat. One grandmother’s theory is that they curl around their faces because the baby’s breath is warm. My daughter is now two months old and the cat is only just beginning to come within a 5 foot range of her, when she is quiet only. The cat is averse not only to being near the baby, but anywhere that is considered ‘her’ space – the crib, changing pad, bassinet, blankets, etc.
    Before the baby arrived, the cat’s favorite napping place was a bassinet we set up downstairs. It was in a sunny window and I was way too pregnant to get up and shoo him away every time he took a nap there. Once she came, he tried once to jump up while she was napping. I was watching closely to make sure he didn’t actually get in with her – and I thought once he saw her in there, he would avoid it from then on. I could not have been more right. He got as far as the rail along the bassinet, then stopped and balanced there, looking at the baby in his favorite spot, then ran away and never went near the bassinet since.
    There is so much to do before your baby comes – don’t worry about things like this – enjoy your pregnancy and Congrats!

  4. Elizabeth Aug 20 at 11:56 am Reply Reply

    While the cat smothering the baby thing is totally urban (rural?) legend, I do know of people who had trouble keeping the cat out of the crib, largely before the baby was born. For us, our cat has decided the changing pad is the comfiest spot in our whole house and that he should shed all over it.
    The simplest thing I heard was to put down a sheet of tin foil. The texture and noise will scare off most cats, and if yours is more intense than that, then consider the shocky-thing.

  5. Taylor Aug 20 at 11:59 am Reply Reply

    I have two cats, one of which loved to sleep in the crib and the other loved to sleep on the changing table before the baby arrived. We were VERY worried. But, like Amy said, once the baby got here, the cats wanted nothing to do with him and, generally, didn’t even want to be in the same room with him. They’ve never once tried to get in his crib while he’s in there, and although one still likes to snuggle up on the changing table, he moves as soon as he sees us heading for it. Unlike Amy’s cats, our cats wouldn’t even sleep in our bed if the baby was there for the first few months. It was really strange–almost like they knew the baby was something fragile and special and not to be messed with (or just loud and flailing and stinky).

  6. Ashley Aug 20 at 12:51 pm Reply Reply

    I have a cat who has jumped into both my baby’s bassinet and crib. BUT, only ONE time into each! Once the cat discovered that there was a baby in there she jumped out more frightened and freaked out than if she had been shocked or sprayed with water. So, I would lay your fears to rest (along with your baby – cat free! ha, ha).

  7. Karen Aug 20 at 1:00 pm Reply Reply

    I am expecting #1 (today hopefully if this intermittent cramping turns into something productive). We have a hound not a cat, but similar worries about everyone getting along.
    Our dog is ok with babies and toddlers and their smells (loves ‘em) but he’s a little anxious and the crying was making him wig. So a couple of weeks ago I downloaded some tracks of baby noises – cooing, babbling, whimpering, crying, and on up to screaming and I play them for the dog so he becomes accustomed to the high-pitched wailing. It has done wonders and now he doesn’t even bat an eyelid when he hears the screaming.
    Like Amy said, I think the tough part will come when the baby is at a near-walking stage – jerky movements at the level of the dog, and when the dog confuses a nice Lamaze plush toy that makes fun squeaky sounds with one of his cheapies from Petco.

  8. Cari Aug 20 at 1:17 pm Reply Reply

    We have a cat and though I wasn’t concerned about the cat smothering our son, I was worried about allergies since they are prone in my family.
    Get yourself a video monitor (it has become my security blanket) and keep the baby’s bedroom door shut. You won’t have to worry about the cat in the room with, or without the baby.

  9. Jgamma Aug 20 at 1:23 pm Reply Reply

    Our cat loved to sleep in the crib, but NEVER if the baby was in it.

  10. Dawn Aug 20 at 1:26 pm Reply Reply

    When we brought our oldest daughter home from the hospital, my boy cat came within 2 feet to check her out but my girl cat fluffed out her tail as far as it would go and hid in the basement the rest of the day. Today Bonnie is very patient with a 2.5 YO who is fascinated by cats but generally moves as far away from my daughter during waking hours. We are expecting our second child any time now and the only interest that Bonnie has shown is to retreat under the crib. Though she is such a klutz that I doubt seriously she could jump as high as the crib rail.
    You could always try keeping the door to the baby’s room shut if you are worried about it though I agree with the others that the cats will have no interest once the baby comes home.

  11. Bridget Aug 20 at 1:38 pm Reply Reply

    Like everyone else, our three cats wanted nothing to do with the baby, the baby’s crib, or anything that looked or smelled like it might have anything at all to do with the terrible new intruder. He’s two now and they still feel that way.
    However, to calm my pregnant paranoia, my husband was kind enough to put a screen door on the baby’s room before he was born. I could peek in the check on him, it was easier to control the temperature of the room than it would be with a closed door, and we kept the room cat free. We did get a few strange looks when we sold the house, but it let me sleep at night.

  12. aadrw Aug 20 at 1:42 pm Reply Reply

    Um, I think it depends on the cat.
    And while I believe that Amy and those who have commented haven’t had problems with their cats, we REALLY really did. We have a Cornish Rex (6 lb face hugger) and a Bengal (20 lb shedder) and they both loved the crib, loved snuggling with our babies, love the smell of milk, and could not be trained to avoid the crib or the changing table. We close doors, we shoo away, I have been known to launch a few swift kicks, and they both will do whatever it takes to get back where they want to be. The Bengal can even open closed doors in our very old house by launching a full body assault on the door until the latch clicks.
    The answer for us was crib tents, and they work like a charm.

    • Evelyn Aug 30 at 6:07 pm Reply Reply

      Agreed! My cats LOVE to sleep near the baby and one of them will lie down partially on her face. I have to keep close watch. I will definitely try a crib tent!

  13. alexa Aug 20 at 2:08 pm Reply Reply

    This was one of my neuroses as well. I eased my crazy mind by buying a $10 bug crib net that I put over the crib at night. It was kind of a pain in the but to put it on, but I knew the cats would have no interest in jumping into suspended white mesh.
    The other thing I did was line the crib in aluminum foil before in the months that the crib was set up before the baby came. Cats hate stepping on it. So they’d jump in the crib, realize what they were standing on and jump back out again. And then they stopped jumping in at all.
    I do have a Scat Mat (cat zapper) that I’ve had for a few years. We put it outside our bedroom door so the cats won’t scratch to come in at night…most annoying noise ever. The cats know not to stand in it, but they also know sometimes it is turned off and will insolently sit on it. It definitely doesn’t work as a permanent deterrent for us. The dog however is still scared of the entire hallway.

  14. angie Aug 20 at 2:56 pm Reply Reply

    My mom’s friend temporarily took the bedroom door off its hinges and replaced it with a screen door so she could still hear and see the baby, but the pets couldn’t go inside the room. I’ve always thought that was a great idea! We have a dog and a cat and have never had any problems with either of them bothering the kids.

  15. Elana E Aug 20 at 3:12 pm Reply Reply

    Well put. We had two cats when the twins were born. There were no incidents. Cats truly do not like loud squirmy creatures. They will stay clear. The girls and the remaining cat are dearest friends. One of the girls carries him around like a baby now and he tolerates it quite well.
    Remain calm. YOU set the tone in your house. Gently, but firmly steer the cat away from the baby when you think he is too close. Teach the baby to be calm and gentle with the cat. The friendship you could foster will be lovely.

  16. Anonymous Aug 20 at 4:07 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t know- we have two cats and I have woken up many a time with one of them on my face, but my cats are total a-holes so it’s probably not the norm. Both loved to sleep in the crib and bassinet leading up to our daughter’s birth.
    Once our daughter was born and the paranoia set in (even though the rational, researcher in me KNEW the cat smothering thing was bull crap) we were very strict about making sure the cats were out of the room during naps and at night. It sucked and we slipped up a few times due to sleep deprivation, which resulted in us finding the cats curled up with the baby (but no where near her head).
    This is also something that I really didn’t care about as time went on and was barely a passing thought when my second came (poooooor second babies). By that time if we came across a cat by the babies bed we’d give them the “You wake him up, YOU can rock him back to sleep” speech. And that was that.
    As an aside I also think my cats DID like the smell of breastmilk because every time I whipped my boob out they would gather around me like I was flippin’ St. Francis. Again, though. My cats are not normal cats.

  17. Joy Aug 20 at 4:13 pm Reply Reply

    The only problem we encountered was that one out of our two cats has started to pee all over the house. She and I already had a tenuous relationship at best. So, 50% p*ssed off cat population, but 100% happy baby.
    Congratulations and good luck!

  18. Jaymee Aug 20 at 5:09 pm Reply Reply

    OMG! I know quite a few crazy people, and have been told many crazy stories about babies and pregnancy. One lady even once told me that if I went swimming in a lake while pregnant that bacteria was going to crawl up my vagina and rot my baby(don’t worry, it’s not true. If the water is safe for someone that is not pregnant to swim in, then the water is safe for someone that is pregnant.). This story has definately topped my list of ridiculous stories told about pregnancy/babies! Thank you for the good laugh!!

  19. Megan Aug 20 at 5:13 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, yay, my question got answered! And I am so relieved to hear that I probably have nothing to worry about. I have seen my cats around my just-walking nephew and they did tend to keep a cautious distance. But they’re also big snugglers, so… better to be safe! I love the tinfoil idea, if the cats do seem interested in the crib. But for now and the next several months, I’m going to forget about this. Not worth worrying about. But I love hearing your stories of how you kept your cats away from babies. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Ellen Aug 20 at 5:22 pm Reply Reply

    No smothering issues here — our two cats have pretty much have avoided our 18-month-old and all his stuff since we first brought him home from the hospital. We did have a tent thing over his bassinet for the first few months, since that was in our bedroom where the cats sleep, but it was totally unnecessary — they never went near the thing. Now he’s in his own room, and we just shut the door (I agree with the recommendation of video monitors. Video monitors RULE!).
    But mostly we shut the door to keep the cats from POOPING in the baby’s room. They have both lost their grip on the litterbox since we upended their lives by bringing this baby home. It’s an ongoing nightmare. So THERE’S something to worry about. Would recommend the “decrease attention now” strategy; wish we’d followed that, but we were all NO WAY, we LOOOOoooove our cats. Hahaha.

  21. Bethany Aug 20 at 5:42 pm Reply Reply

    Please, please, please stop with the loud noises and water spraying and do NOT get the electric shock. The water, as you’ve seen, doesn’t work. Loud noises are good for breaking up a fight and startling a cat, not long term training. Electric shock is just going to cause worse behaviors (yay for unhappy freaked-out peeing because that’s what frightened cats do).
    Please, please, please do read “Starting from Scratch” by Pam Johnson-Bennett about behavior issues with adult cats. She is amazing. I’ve used her book to help me retrain adult foster cats (2-14years, now on my first ever foster kittens and rushing for her kitten book). She covers ideas about how to prepare cats for babies (yes, crying tapes are awesome and you shouldn’t go overboard with pre-baby affection). It’s a wonderful book, libraries have it, and it’ll help you know that you’re doing the right thing to help your cats with your baby.
    Congratulations on the pregnancy and good luck with the training. My friend has two cats and a 9 month old and the only trouble she’s ever had is one cat trying to lick the baby to groom him (she’s a very maternal cat). It’s adorable when the cat curls up behind the baby like a large stuffed animal.

  22. Bethany Aug 20 at 5:50 pm Reply Reply

    Instead of the electromats, do try sticky tape. Most pet stores sell a special doublesided tape that cats hate the feel of and doesn’t leave marks. They also sell nubbly (nonelectric!) mats that cats hate the texture of. There is also bitter spray that they dislike the smell of. There are many ways to get them to avoid the crib without causing them pain and fear. You really do not want to model behavior that’s mean to animals for your new baby, right?

  23. Two Wishes Aug 20 at 10:23 pm Reply Reply

    Just wanted to give another vote for tin foil.
    We have FOUR cats and a 5-month-old. Can’t tell you whether the cats would stay away while the baby’s in her bassinet, since the BABY won’t sleep in her bassinet (2 months holding her all night, 3 months in a car seat, sigh). But the cats really, REALLY want to snuggle in her bassinet, they’re very crafty and persistent, but they have managed to stay away completely since we covered the bottom in tin foil. Since it’s cheap and most people have it on hand, definitely worth a first try!

  24. Muirnait Aug 21 at 1:05 am Reply Reply

    That’s something I’ve wondered about, when I got a cat and planning for the future…I’m glad you covered it.

  25. Ashley Aug 21 at 8:34 am Reply Reply

    I am running late for work now so I don’t have time to read the comments – someone may have already said this but….. when my friend was pregnant they were told to put tin foil on anything that would be the babies – crib, changing table, etc- because they hate tin foil and will leave it alone.

  26. Olivia Aug 21 at 8:40 am Reply Reply

    Um, yeah, everthing Amy said. I have two cats and I swear they are just beginning to realize there is another person in the house now that my daughter is 4.5 months. They sleep on the foot of the bed, well away from the baby. Occasionaly, one will jump up and sit next to me while baby is on my lap, but they have barely even sniffed in her direction. Even when she’s on the floor they just walk around her with hardly a glance.
    Since cat fur in the crib can be annoying just keep the baby’s door shut and all will be well.

  27. Danielle Aug 21 at 10:10 am Reply Reply

    Our two cats LOVE to sleep in the crib — when it’s empty. Before the baby was born and when he was really tiny — when the bumpers were still in — they would curl up together in a corner of it, and we still find them in it from time to time now that the baby is 9 months old and the bumpers are out. But they never go in the crib at the same time as the baby. He’s too noisy an unpredictable. However, they were VERY interested in him from the moment he came home. Once they’d seen me nurse him once, they seemed to understand that he was my young and were very protective of him. One in particular would curl up near him and watch over him; the other wasn’t particularly impressed with him because he couldn’t pet her. They continue to be very good with him now that he can try to pet them and end up grabbing tails or fur. We try to show him how to stroke them without grabbing and always give them a grown-up scratch on the ears of thanks for being so patient, and they’ve been really good about not swatting at him or even hissing at him.

  28. Kathleen Aug 21 at 1:35 pm Reply Reply

    We have four cats, one older with some hygiene problems, and one oddball face/throat sleeper. So I really wanted to cats off of the baby furniture, regardless. I did get the kidco crib tent, and it has worked great, with the added bonus that kiddo’s limbs don’t get stuck in the crib slats. I put x-mats (the nubbly plastic mats, which did keep the cats off the countertops) in the crib and on the changing table before kiddo arrived. The cats were really into trying to get on the changing table then, but haven’t seen them up there in a long time. And under the crib is a retreat for two of our four, but that’s also becoming less common as he gets older and louder.

  29. Stacy Aug 21 at 4:05 pm Reply Reply

    I’m surprised this hasn’t even been mentioned?!? We put a kiddie-gate in the doorway of the baby’s room and our room. No pets inside either room. It was sort of a given. The cat has tried to enter the room a couple times if I’m in there and the gate is open – but a loud “uh uh” and he’s right back out. Maybe because he is fat, but he hasn’t ever attempted to vault the gate or anything. Once the baby stopped co-sleeping we allowed him (and the dog) back into our bedroom. But the baby-gate is still up at the door of the baby’s room.

  30. Ali Aug 21 at 10:44 pm Reply Reply

    Our cat, who already had some behavioral issues, decided to pee on anything related to the baby that she had access to … stroller, pack n’ play, playmat, you name it, she peed on it. We ended up giving her to my husband’s brother, and she’s now doing fine. Just a warning that it doesn’t always work out.

  31. Cheryl S. Aug 25 at 11:20 am Reply Reply

    My 2 cats LOVED the crib, as long as the baby wasn’t in it. I closed her door when she was in there asleep (Just so they wouldn’t wake her up). Trust me, babies smell too bad and make too much noise for most cats!
    If you are worried about the cats acting up generally after the baby is born (not TOWARD the baby, but maybe because of him/her) just make sure to give them some attention when you can!

  32. EdenSky Sep 05 at 9:24 pm Reply Reply

    I was worried about this too, just because my baby was sleeping in a moses basket beside my bed which looked remarkably like a cat bed. My solution was a bedroom door. Close it. I was more worried about the cats sleeping in there when the baby was NOT in bed and getting it all hairy, so I put a pillow on top during the day and just took it out when I was putting the baby down. I had this same conversation with my neighbour and found out that my cat was in the habit of sleeping with HER son in his crib for a nap every single afternoon, in fact her baby cried if he didn’t show up!

  33. Marisa Mar 07 at 3:53 pm Reply Reply

    My cat Crouton is a sweet heart…I got him while I was pregnant and from the moment we brought our son home he has wanted to be his best friend nd never leave his side. He sleeps right near the crib and when the baby is crying he comes running from whatever room he’s in. I make sure to watch him but I went to take a shower today nd my boy friend left the door open to our bed room and fell asleep. Needless to say I came back with a sleeping baby and kitten on his tummy. It scared me nd I immediately thew him off…..so I’m sorry but not all cats are bothered by noises or try nd stay away from babies….my cat loves our baby a lil too much

  34. Marisa Mar 07 at 3:57 pm Reply Reply

    Also my cat can climb ne thing…and can jump from the floor to the top of the fridge….putting the crib not near furniture won’t matter. What do u suggest for people with super loving friendly cats -_-

  35. joel Aug 05 at 4:00 pm Reply Reply

    Are you guys f****g serious not to come off like a prick but I am a father of 3 a cat has smothered my middle child. It was on a thanksgiving day i was eating dinner and heard my son screaming in such a way i knew something was wrong. It was not the usual fussiness. I looked over to see that my mother in-law’s cat had laid down right on my child’s face so that it was hard for him to breath or not at all. I of course ran over there to save the day but when i picked him up he was catching his breath. Its safe to say i was pissed. now I have no particular problem with cats but to shrug it off and say stop worrying about it is crazy. My wife loves cats as for me lets just say I am partial to them. What I do know is that your child should always come first. All i can say is don’t let them out of your site and keep your door shut or and get a crib net. Oh and as a side note i would keep your newborn in the same room for obvious reasons. we actually have a bassinet which is easier because you do not have to get up and go into the other room. For instance when you have to feed him every 2 to 3 hours. or when he looses his binky its much easier in that regard.

  36. mike e Jan 18 at 9:55 am Reply Reply

    Regarding people suggesting crib tents, as far as I know, all models have been recalled and deemed unsafe for use. One child died and a crib tent made by Tots In Mind was blamed. I’ve been reading about this all morning and, from what I can tell, no one is selling them in the US anymore.

    • Isabel Kallman
      Isabel Kallman Jan 18 at 10:10 am Reply Reply

      Thank you. This post should have and is being updated now to reflect the news.

  37. mike e Jan 18 at 8:54 pm Reply Reply

    That was fast!

    Regarding the now-banned crib tents, I personally think it’s a shame. From what I’ve read, it seems like a great product which many parents would find it hard to love without. It’s unfortunate that one tragic incident caused the demise of the product.

    My search for something comparable continues. What might have to work are crib mosquito nets also referred to as canopies to keep my cats out. They’re less structural than the crib tents, but seem liked they’d work.

  38. Two cats Feb 10 at 7:40 am Reply Reply

    Father of 3- no one is saying let your pets and baby alone unsupervised and also of course you should be extra vigilant when your baby is around OTHER people’s pets.

    You will probably have to be extra vigilant in the beginning to see how your cat reacts to the baby but as most people have found, cats are generally adaptable and would rather avoid the jerky, loud movements of babies. When baby is sleeping, just shut the cat out.

    My cats have finally gotten comfortable enough around my 5 month old that I’m more worried about the baby pulling their whiskers than anything. They are very tolerant and friendly though and have never ever hissed or given a warning scratch or bite to human. You will know your baby and pet better than any advice you get from random strangers. I think the most annoying part is all the unsolicited advice from fear mongering non-cat owners, when in reality dogs can be quite dangerous and there are more accounts of dogs attacking to death both adults and babies.

  39. Athena Apr 13 at 11:54 pm Reply Reply

    Our cats both love the baby stuff, but never when baby is there.

    Harmony likes to claim changing mats, playpens or the mats from hanging toy sets or anything similar as soon as darling boy is down for the night. Ginger, on the other hand, makes her claims during the day, but only in sleeping areas not currently used by Toshy. First, after the transition to cot, the bassinet became her nest. As soon as the bassinet was in use again, though, she avoided it like the plague. Within a few days she worked out the cot was currently vacant and has been hopping in there instead. It’s kind of cute, actually.

  40. Shannon Sep 20 at 6:05 am Reply Reply

    I’ve also had the experience of waking up in the middle of the night to my cat laying on top of my newborn in the bassinet next to my bed! Talk about a horrible wake up call. It’s happened twice so far…first time the baby woke me up crying in distress (thankfully!!). At that point we started locking the cat out of the room. The second time we didn’t know the cat was hiding under our bed when we locked the door…I woke up to the cat laying on top of the baby with only the baby’s face exposed. Yikes! My cat is a cuddler and has slept on my face. At first we didn’t have any problem with the cat…she barely noticed when we brought home a baby…and we observed her for a while. But I guess one night it just clicked and she wanted the warmth and wanted to cuddle. I know my cat and I don’t think it was malicious, but the concern is still there that a newborn baby doesn’t have the strength to breathe for long under the weight of a X lb cat…it would lead to asphyxiation. I’m an adult ER nurse and have friends that do pediatric ER…there’s numerous stories of babies coming in that have been smothered/asphyxiated by cats. It does happen! I agree with the recommendation to watch and observe your cat. But even like with mine, there’s a first time for everything. So just use your judgement and baby comes first if there is ever any concern. It only takes once!

  41. Ray Oct 02 at 9:39 am Reply Reply

    You are ALL wrong,wrong,wrong, Cats DO steal babies breath ,I have witnessed it ! There was NO mistake , it was intentional and scary ! I saved my sons life that day ! newborn moms GET RID OF THE CAT !

  42. ebonee Nov 09 at 3:13 pm Reply Reply

    CATS DO SMOTHER BABIES. My mom’s best friend is hysterically afraid of cats after witnessing her baby sister’s death because their family cat smothered her. It is not an old wives tale. 

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