Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cats and Babies

You remember Ziggy, right? He is our 12-13 pound lovable and mischievous cat (among his many attributes) who often acts like a dog by greeting me at the door and rolling over so that I can rub his stomach. He also seems to be near us at all times and makes his presence known when he is hungry or wants attention. His morning routine begins by coming under the covers to curl–up with me. When he realizes that I’m not getting out of bed, he usually jumps on top of our headboard or bedroom television or bats the blinds. Basically, he does whatever he can to make noise. It is quite effective, though if he does this too early in the morning, he runs the risk of being kicked out of the bedroom. Additionally, Ziggy has a habit of trying to get into places where we don’t want him with the garage being #1 on this list.

I mention all of this since Ziggy will no longer be the center of attention in our household fairly soon. I’ve tried to explain to him that a baby is coming, but I don’t think he grasps the situation. Our primary concern is making sure that he does not get into the crib. In fact, we don’t want him in the baby’s room at all. My question to any parents or cat people out there is how do you handle the cat/baby situation? Is there a way to introduce the cat to the baby? What type of precautions do we need to make sure that Ziggy doesn’t get near the baby? While I’m looking forward to sitting on the couch watching Pittsburgh Penguins playoff games while holding the baby with Ziggy sitting next to me, it’s the other times when I worry how Ziggy will react.


Nichole Fisher said...

Your best bet would be to chat with Ziggy's vet. They may have some ideas for you. Also, your local SPCA might have some ideas tool. I know the one in Boston and the one in Raleigh have tons of educational resources about animals.

Amy said...

I have heard a good tip to bring home a blanket that the baby has used before the baby himself comes home so that the cat can get used to the scent.

I've also heard a tip to play a recording of a baby crying a lot before the baby actually comes so the cat doesn't go crazy when the baby actually does cry.

How high can this cat jump? Our cat died a few months before Blake was born but we were planning on having a baby gate on the baby's door so the cat couldn't get in (she was old and couldn't jump over). Or we would just keep the door shut to the baby's room all the time so the cat knew it was off limits.

I was actually quite nervous about our cat's potential reaction to the kid because she did NOT have a nice reaction when *I* moved in (bit me when I sat on "her" couch). My advice is to be very very cautious.

Anonymous said...

Sean said...

Thanks Nichole & anonymous. When I asked my vet during Ziggy's last appointment (months ago), she didn't seem very concerned. I'm going to try to call her again.

Amy - Ziggy can easiy jump 2-3 feet, so a crib would be within his range. When our friends came over with their several month old child, Ziggy managed to sneak right into the car seat (the kid wasn't in it). He also had no fear in playing with the straps from the high chair/booster seat. He has no fear! Of course, he did keep some distance when the baby cried. Perhaps, I'll try that again. The blanket idea is also good.

Christine said...

Sean - we have 3 cats and I was very concerned when we had Michael. I put up a baby gate on the bedroom before the baby was born so they were used to staying out of the room already - I stacked two for my "jumper". Rob did bring home a blanket with the baby's scent, but the cats ignored it.

Something we forgot to think about was that for the first week or so, we had a lot of guests, so the baby's crying was just another noise for them to hide from. Once everyone left, they didn't really seem to mind him, as long as they got some attention too.

My one cat was my lap cat and she did not recognize the "hairless kitten" as something other than an extension of my lap - she would try to sit on Michael - it was pretty funny. I did catch her in the crib a few times when I forgot the gate, but I just chucked her out and all was well.

Ziggy will probably do one of two things - avoid the baby at all costs or tolerate its presence. Or he could be like our fat gray, and be best friends - she thinks she is a dog ( cat dog = cog) and lets Michael tug on her fur like crazy without scratching.

Sean said...

Thanks Christine! That's very helpful.