Chances are you have heard them all during endless lectures on how to have a proper kid-to-pet ratio at the homestead.
Truth be told, most of the myths about cats and babies are just that—myths.
While there are many, here are four of the most common myths about cats and babies…debunked.
Myths vs. Fact About Cats and Kids
Myth: Kids Are Too Loud or Rowdy for Cats
While it is true that young kids and toddlers can be loud or play rowdy, if they do not learn how to properly handle a pet from a young age, when will it happen? If parents take the time to demonstrate the proper way to be around pets, a child will most likely respond positively. Practice being gentle towards your kitty with your kids, and do so while keeping your voice soft and even-toned.
Now it is true that some kids exhibit behavior that just does not work well with animals. If this is the case, then for your kids’ and your cat’s safety, best to keep everyone separate until your child is older. But for most kids, learning how to gently pet and speak softly to their feline friends will ensure they have a loving kitty companion throughout their childhood.
Myth: Cats Will Get Jealous of New Babies and Act Out With Bad Behavior
A cat will definitely know something is up when a new tiny human moves into the house, but there are many ways to make this transition smoother, so your kitty still feels like a loved member of the family. Before your new bundle of joy arrives, allow your cat time to explore the baby’s nursery. Let them investigate the room and smell the new blankets, cribs, and new environment. There are also CDs made up of baby sounds that you can play so your pet family gets used to the variety of cries and coos before they happen in real life.
When your new baby comes home, try to keep your cat’s schedule as consistent as possible, and remember to schedule some playtime with your cat as soon as you are able.
Myth: Cats Will Suffocate a Baby
The myth of cats suffocating babies is an ole’ wives tale that is entirely false. Your cat will not “suck the breath” out of an infant. However, kitties love to seek out and snuggle next to heat so they may be drawn to snuggle up next to a baby. Any cuddling should always be supervised so if you are not going to be around, make sure baby’s door is shut during nap time.
Myth: If You Are Pregnant, You Must Get Rid of Your Cat
One of the most common fears to plague new families with cats is the idea that you will have to get rid of your cat as soon as you find out you are pregnant. This idea stems from a rare parasitic disease, toxoplasmosis, which cats can transmit to humans through their feces. Toxoplasmosis doesn’t make cats or healthy humans sick, but infection in a pregnant woman can cause miscarriage or birth defects.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, you are more likely to get toxoplasmosis from gardening or eating raw meat than having a pet cat. If you keep your cats indoors, the risk goes down even more to almost none. So if you are pregnant, don’t change the litter box for nine months (hey, someone should be doing that for you anyways!), wash your fruits and veggies, and diligently wash your hands after handling raw meat.
Armed with the right tools, common sense, and knowledge, it is not only possible to have a harmonious home with babies and cats, it is highly plausible too! Have fun with it—your children and your feline family will thank you.