God, I'm a bit slow on the replies this morning - sorry - by the time I actually hit submit the last time, you had replied!
Before my own BFP I would have had them on my lap for ages and play fighting with them and all the rest, I don't do it as much now, I leave it to hubby, although I do still give them loads of cuddles, just wouldn't leave them up on my lap for ages anymore if you know what I mean. It's probably fine to do that but I'm just erring on the side of caution more than anything. Poor things are looking at me as if there is something wrong! But hubby is getting all the cuddles from them now so after a few weeks they get used to it.
Swissgirl - I had heard that too - that cat owners develop a natural tolerance to toxomosplosis so that's good to hear again.
But for the most part OldBride, try not to worry. I worried like mad the first few weeks and wouldn't let them near me, but as time has gone on, I've relaxed and realised its fine as long as I don't go near the litter tray.
And once the baby is born, it'll be fine, your little kitten will be grand. I'm trying to get mine more used to outside than inside at the moment so once the baby arrives, they're not getting a shock by being outside more. If they get used to it now, it'll be better for them in the long run. Maybe once your little fella gets older you can start the same.
Hi Oldbride, congrats on your pregnancy!
I'd recommend you do what SoExcited did, and read up about it on the internet, and please ignore any scare-mongering friends/family members who talk about not being able to have cats with babies (people who have dogs hear similar things)
You can get a blood test done for toxoplasmosis if you want to, just ask your GP for a form for your local hospital. It will tell you if you have immunity or not from previous exposure. I got it done and i am immune (i have several cats who are indoor but have access to a cat-proofed garden).
You are much much more likely to get toxoplasmosis from undercooked meat and unwashed veg, which is why countries where raw/rare meat is consumed have a higher rate of the population with immunity due to exposure.
In order for you to catch toxoplasmosis from your cat he/she would need to eat an infected animal e.g mouse, then you would have to leave the poo there for over a day as the oocysts passed in faeces don't become infectious for at least 24hrs after being passed, then you would have to contaminate your hand with solid faeces and then ingest it yourself. Some sequence of events to make happen! As your cats are indoor they don't have ready access to infected animals i'd imagine, and even if they did pet cats reared regular and readily available on cat food are less likely to eat prey they hunt and kill. Even if your cats were infected prior to you talking them in they would no longer have active infection.
The Feline Advisory Bureau recommend the following to avoid infection during pregnancy:
Cook all meat thoroughly to at least 70 degrees C
Wash hands, utensils and surfaces carefully after handling raw meat
Wash all vegetables carefully
Wear gloves when gardening in soil potentially contaminated by cat faeces
Empty cat litter trays daily, dispose of litter carefully and disinfect tray with boiling water. If this is done every day, even if a cat is excreting oocysts, they will not have sporulated and therefore will not be infectious by the time the litter is changed
Discourage pet cats from hunting and avoid feeding raw/undercooked meat
Cover any children's sandpits/boxes to prevent cats using them as a litter tray.
To prepare our cats for the new arrival I assembled baby equipment well in advance and let them inspect it, i bought a CD of baby sounds (bit excessive a lot of people will think I know! ) but they didn't bad an eyelid no matter how loud i played it, I sent a babygro and blanket home from the hospital after the baby had been dressed//wrapped in them and my husband left one upstairs and one downstairs for the cats to smell. A month before my due date we started shutting the cats out of the bedroom at night, you may not allow your pets to sleep in the room with you so no issue there, but basically we kept them out during sleeping time until the baby moved into his own room at 6 months.
The cats are as big a part of the family as ever, in fact i think even a bigger part. My son ADORES them, even when he is out of sorts they are the only thing that will make him laugh out loud, I have 2 that are hugely affectionate and highly tolerant of children. You have to supervise of course as a small child can get a death-grip on a handful of passing fur. I have another cat who hates being touched and has a less 'appealing' personality generally :0), these traits also mean he is less likely to approach the baby anyway, but now that the baby is more mobile i am just extra watchful when they are close together that the baby doesn't grab a tail or anything.
My cats are very talkative communicative types and recently have started talking directly to the baby, as if they have realised his little human-ness and direct comments and demands at him, he literally finds this hysterically funny. They are a joy to watch together, the whole thing works beautifully, and i firmly believe that all pets deserve a continuation of the committment we originally made when taking them on especially when a new baby arrives. Informing yourself, preparing your environment, sorting fact from fiction, deciding on what boundaries are necessary etc, and turning a deaf ear to uninformed scare-mongering are all important.
Best of luck!
Lily9 - that post is after making me smile! Delighted to hear your little one gets on great with the cats. Our two are really affectionate and I was only saying the other night that they are going to be great for kids. They are a big part of our life too and although we try and keep them outdoors as much as possible, when the weather is bad, they tend to be in, so its great to hear of a success story. Thanks for posting.
I have two cats also, and have just got a faint positive on a test this morning. I have read up a fair bit on this, and I think as long as you avoid kitty litter, keep your cats wormed regularly (you can get worming tablets from your vet, Drontal is a good one), and wash your hands after handling the kitties. As for newborns and cats, just don't leave them in the same room along together, no matter how gentle your cat is. I was also reading a cat psychology book (yes, there really is such a thing!!) and they were saying that if you want to get your cat prepared for bringing baby home, get hubby to bring one of your baby's clothes home and place it near the cat's bed, that way they are used to the smell of the baby before s/he comes home.
I know there will be whiskers out of joint in our house next summer!!!
Thanks everyone for your replies. I should have mentioned in the beginning that I have had the test for toxomosplosis and unfortunately I dont have immunity. However, my kitten is now and always will be an indoor cat. Her parents were indoor cats also so I doubt very much that she will have it or will get it as she gets dry food only....I think I have calmed down A LOT since reading all the replies, many thanks again to everyone.
Read below. Found it online, gives some good advise on how to help baby and kitty coexist. Also keep us posted. I'd like to hear from someone with some experience on how it went.
Getting Cats and Babies to Coexist
There are many untruths surrounding cats and newborn babies. Stories about cats harming infants are usually exaggerated and based on ignorance. Shelters are often asked to take in the family cat because a new baby has arrived and the parents worry about the risk the cat poses to the child. However, future parents can educate themselves and learn how best to help their cats and newborns coexist.
While your cat may be curious about the new baby, he’s more likely to be frightened the first few times he hears the baby cry and try to run under the nearest chair. In fact until your cat gets used to the baby, he will probably want little to do with the newest family member.
To help your felines adjust to the strange sights, smells, and sounds of the new arrival, let them get involved before the baby arrives. Let the cats check out the nursery during supervised visits. Have someone bring home a baby blanket or item of clothing with the new baby's scent before you return from the hospital so the cats can become accustomed to the scent. Upon arriving home, let someone else hold the newborn so you can greet your cat and give him some affection.
Before the baby arrives, it’s recommended that you take your cat to the veterinarian. You should make sure that he is up-to-date on his vaccinations and has a routine examination. It’s also recommended that you have your cat fixed if he hasn’t already been. Fixed pets have fewer health problems and are less likely to bite. Behavioural problems such as anxiety should also be addressed before the baby is born.
Though much depends on the personality of the particular cat, your cat may feel left out and a bit displaced once your bring the baby home. You will no doubt have less time to play with the cat and meet his needs. Try to set aside an hour or so each day to spend with your cat. While you play with the cat introduce him to items of clothes and diapers that have the baby’s scent on them. The cat will be very curious at first at these new odours. Once you have set up the nursery allow the cat to sniff out all the new furniture and supplies. If you can, invite some other small children in to play in the room while the cat is present. If you have purchased battery operated toys play them for the cat. As you do all this, give the cat food treats in the nursery. Remember not to change the cats litter box while you are pregnant.
Start teaching your cat not to get inside the crib. You may let him sniff the crib. It is a good idea to let him investigate the nursery before making it out-of-bounds. The command Leave it means Stop whatever you are doing and look at me! This command is to be used when the cat gets too excited with the baby. If command is ignored, the cat should be removed from the situation. Keep in mind, too, giving a lot of praise and attention for good or calm behaviour.
You can also purchase a net to put over the crib so the cat can't sleep with the baby. This enables the cat to see and smell the baby and not feel entirely left out, but he can't get into the crib.
There is an urban legend that cats suck the breath out of baby’s. This is obviously untrue. If your cat is found close to the baby's head it's more likely because your cat is seeking some warmth.
Try to arrange as much supervised time as possible with yourselves, the new baby and your pet. Your cat should get a lot of positive attention during these periods but should be required to obey the new rules.
If you have a nursery with a solid door that can be closed, it is advised that you have a baby monitor installed so you can keep the cat out of the room when necessary while still keeping tabs on your infant. For people without a separate room for a nursery or who don't have a door to close, tight fitting mosquito netting can be used over the bassinet or crib.
Keep the baby's food and medicines in separate places from the cat's. Bottles and packaging can look remarkably similar.
Be vigilant about keeping the litterbox clean and accessible to the cat. Install a cat door or baby gate in the room where the litterbox is kept. This allows easy access for the cat while assuring that baby's first sand castle will be at the beach and not in the cat box. Make sure there are various places in each room that the cat is allowed to jump up on or crawl under. To you, it may be a window sill, the top of the refrigerator, the back of a closet, or a carpet covered shelf to your cat, it's a sanctuary. Your cat will need places and time away from all the excitement just like you will.
If your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat, create an outdoor enclosure for him rather than letting him run free. Since most cats become carriers of toxoplasmosis by killing and eating live prey (mice, etc.) their risk of exposure will be greatly reduced. In addition, your cat will have a longer, healthier life.
The most common disease that cats can transmit to humans is not really a disease at all but a fungus commonly called ringworm. It is most frequently seen in stray, feral and outdoor cats and appears to be more common in tropical and temperate climates. Always consult your veterinarian if you notice any abnormalities in skin or coat, whether you are expecting a child or not.
When your infant becomes mobile in a wheeled toddlers chair your cat will have to learn the art of self-defence. Usually they find an inaccessible place to relax on the dryer or bookcase or under the bed. This is fine. It also helps to place an infant gate across one quiet room. Also use that room for the cats litter box. The cat will quickly learn to jump over it. If your cat has no sanctuaries from the child, it will have to learn to be poked and pulled and carried around.
Finally, please note that not all cats love babies. Do not be surprised if your cat goes into hiding after the baby arrives. Some cats simply ignore the baby. In both cases, allow the cat time to realize that everything's all right. Do not try to pull your cat out of hiding or force a relationship that the cat or the baby isn't ready for. No matter what your cat's reaction is, however, find time every day to spend with the cat alone. It may be as little as five minutes of quiet talk or a grooming session. There are always adjustments to be made when a family grows. Just don't forget that your pet is part of that family too.
great topic. Hubby and I are ttc and I have the same worry. We have 2 cats. 100% indoor and like most people got all the warnings that once baby comes in, cat goes out. I did some research on everything the scare mongers told us to get rid of our kitties. Most of the diseases cats are at risk of come from other animnals. For example. toxop (you know what i mean, cant spell it) That comes from the ground, birds eat worms, cats prey on birds. Being indoor cats they are at little risk of it. Having said that I still change the litter..... not like I ever do anything
Girls a friend of mine had a 100% indoor cat that tested negative for toxoplasmosis at the vet's
The vet told her that if she let the cat outside, it could easily become infected. So she kept the cat indoors when she was pregnant and had her baby but was much stricter about which rooms the cat was allowed in and what furniture it was allowed on.
If you know your cat definitely doesn't have toxoplasmosis, then it's prob best to keep the cat as an indoors cat if that's practical, but still stay away from the litter tray and keep the cat away from the newborn when he/she arrives.
When my sister was a new born baby, the youngest of 5 (there is only 7years between the oldest and youngest) and mum was pushing her in the pram (down the town) and carrying my brother and the rest of us in a queue trailing behind her, a neighbour came up and obviously hadnt seen mum since the birth. She said something like "oh welcome back" and "how are feeling" etc. and then of course she said "ooooh give us a wee look" and stuck her head in the pram and pulled back the blanket. According to mum she screamed. Anyway there was the cat asleep in the pram. The baby at the other end. Mum was mortified...but she said the cat was forever sleeping with us. Now I dont know if I would allow that happen(!) but it kinda shows its one of these things that years ago people just didnt worry about.
Cats do like to hang out at the bottom of prams sometimes :0)
That is a VERY cute picture!
If you have any more cute pics of cats and babies, please share!
am getting all broody now (for a kitten as well as the baby