Are you waiting for a happy event ? Here’s how to make your meeting between your cat and baby go as smoothly as possible.
The cat has become accustomed to a quiet threesome life and then, one day, he senses that something has changed. The smell of his mistress is different and he intuitively senses a presence. Cats seem to have antennae for this. The arrival of a baby brings many changes in the life of the family, including that of pets. It is important to prepare the cat for the arrival of the baby, throughout the pregnancy, so that their meeting goes as well as possible and that it gradually adapts to changes in its habitat.
Once the baby comes into the world, he remains a fragile little being for a while. It is therefore necessary to take some precautions with the cat.
Discover our advice to prepare your cat for the arrival of baby.
Cats and pregnant women: beware of toxoplasmosis
It is sometimes recommended that pregnant women not get too close to cats because there is a risk of catching a disease: toxoplasmosis. Indeed, if the cat is infested with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, it can transmit it to humans and, in this case, to pregnant women. Most people don’t even know they’ve had toxoplasmosis because the disease can go completely unnoticed. In only 20% of cases, it is manifested by fever, severe fatigue and increased white blood cell count. But, in pregnant women, toxoplasmosis can have very serious consequences for the baby and can even be fatal.
Before panicking, there are various means of prevention. First of all, from the beginning of her pregnancy, the pregnant woman must do a test to see if she is immune or not. If so, there is absolutely no risk. The cat can also be tested : a search for antibodies (two blood samples taken 15 days apart), and a search for oocysts in the stool, twice 8 days apart. If the woman is not immune, four very simple precautions should be taken:
- the pregnant woman no longer has to change the cat’s litter;
- the cat should no longer hunt, so as not to risk eating infested animals. If he has access to the outside, equipping him with a bell will scare away potential prey;
- no longer give meat to the cat, unless it is very cooked;
- deworm the cat.
In any case, toxoplasmosis can only be transmitted by contact with stool or the cat’s claws in contact with them. A caress on the belly presents no risk!
The arrival of a baby in the cat’s life
The big day has arrived: baby is born! Even if you are monopolized by this little being who demands your full attention, you should not neglect the cat. While the mother is in the maternity ward, the other parent can come and go home to feed the cat and take care of it. Moreover, it is important to familiarize him with the smell of the baby by making him smell a piece of clothing, for example.
When baby arrives home, it’s a safe bet that the cat will be curious. He will want to approach this newcomer and sniff it from every angle. Let him do it by watching his actions. Also let your cat explore baby’s room and stay close to him when he takes a nap. This will reassure the cat: he sees what is happening and he has the impression that nothing has really changed.
Generally, in the event that cats are completely rejected and put away as soon as the baby comes home, they don’t like it at all. They then tend to do mischief, to mark their territory and even in some cases, to be aggressive with the little one. They are simply jealous and upset that they are no longer the center of attention!
For everything to go as well as possible, you must continue to behave with the cat as before. Don’t push him away when he comes to see the baby, just making sure everything is going well. In contrast, do not let him settle in the baby’s cribfor obvious reasons of hygiene, but also because he could lie on him, or even scratch him while trying to play.
Cat and baby: the relationship is changing
Even if the cat was somewhat disturbed by the arrival of the baby, he got used to it very quickly. Baby grows and gradually learns to interact and play with the cat. You must teach him how to behave with a cat: there is no question of pulling his whiskers, hair or tail, or taking him unexpectedly and all the time in your arms. And, of course, it is totally forbidden to disturb him when he eats. Despite its great patience, the animal could be overwhelmed by incessant teasing and show its displeasure with a little claw.
The ideal cat breed for babies
If you do not yet have a cat when the baby is born but you want to adopt one, it may be interesting to choose a breed of cat whose gentle character is known to everyone.
Born from a cross between a white Persian and a Sacred Birman female in the 1960s, the Ragdoll (which means “rag doll”) is undoubtedly the cat breed best suited to living with children! It’s a cat very gentle and very calm charactervery confident, who allows himself to be manipulated without any resistance. The Ragdoll never shows impatience or aggression towards its masters. Very close to these can’t stand being left alone too long hours. He can even allow himself to waste away if he suffers from loneliness. Suffice to say that it is not the cat of people who are too busy… Despite these characteristics, it is however not a big all soft! He is very playful at times and, at times, shows independence. On the other hand, when the desire arises, he can sleep in the most unusual places, and he lets himself go so much in his sleep that he is able to fall off the back of the chair where he dozed off! It therefore adapts very well to living in an apartment.