children and kittens and cats

Manage Kids, Cats, Kittens

Have a child? Have a Cat? Worried about brining the baby home? Read below to learn how to manage babies, children and cats to ensure a safe and sane household.

Cats & Babies


Dear Simba - I have two 4 year old cats that I have had since they were just weeks old,
i have had cats all my life and never thought that I would ever have to get them de-clawed. I am expecting our first baby, and this is the second set of new furniture. They have been spoiled, they sleep with us and rule the house although they do not jump up on tables or counters. I am afraid that they might scratch the baby or even get into the bassinet because they are used to sleeping on the bed. My husband is furious about our furniture being shredded.

I have tried scratching posts and even the spray for the couch, they still love to scratch. They are indoor cats and have never been outside. I know that de-clawing isn’t good but if it means that you may have to give them to a shelter what do you do? Also do you have any information on cats and bringing home a new baby? I would appreciate it. Claw Confused
Dear Claw Confused,
Congratulations on the baby! When dealing with babies and cats, prudence and common sense always win. I have put together some tips that might be useful to you.

Pre-Arrival
  • Take your kitties to the vet for a pre-baby check up. Be sure they have all their shots and are de-wormed.
  • cat scratch postUltimate Scratch
  • Let your cats inspect the new baby furniture (sniff the crib, etc). Their knowing what is inside will keep the mystery out of it, and as we all know, cats love a good mystery.
  • Teach them not to get inside the furniture.
  • Get crib and pram nets so that the cats cannot sleep with the baby. They must be taut when fitted or the cat may use them as a hammock.
  • Begin to reduce the amount of time spent petting your kitties since once the baby arrives you will have less time for the cats.

After Arrival
  • Introduce your cats to the baby in a carefully monitored setting. While you hold your baby, let your partner care for and attend to the cats (makes for positive associations)
  • Establish special 'cat-time' in the evening after the baby's bed-time.
  • Keep your cats' feeding area and litter tray away from areas needed for preparing baby's meals.
  • If you use litter trays have your cats use a covered litter-tray with a cat-flap entrance.
  • Keep the baby's utensils out of your cats' reach.
  • Wipe up any spills before your cats get into the habit of doing it for you.
  • Wash your hands after petting the cat, cleaning litter tray, bedding or food bowls.
  • Encourage your family and friends to pay attention to the cats when they visit...don't let them feel rejected.
Remember that cats view owners as parents and can experience sibling jealousy, so don’t forget about them for their emotional sake. As for their lively claws, check out Claws. There you will find information on ways to keep your furniture safe and your kitties home and whole. Keep me posted. Simba





Cats May Prevent Asthma


Dear Readers,
New studies indicate that children who live with cats can develop an immune response which prevents them developing asthma.

To read more follow these links: BBC News, NIH. - Simba



Siblings Squabble over Cat



Dear Simba,
For the past few years, I begged my mom for a cat. She bought me one last year I love my cat very much, but my sister thinks he is hers. She wanted a cat just as badly as I did. My question to you is this: My sister has made my cat hers and as glad as I am a she likes him, I would rather have her get her own cat instead of using mine. How could I convince my mom to get my sister her own cat so that I do not have to share mine? It might sound selfish, but she has recently started putting bows on his ears and tail. PLEASE help me! L-Anonymous

Dear L-Anonymous,
Your cat must feel very lucky to be loved by both you and your sister. I do worry that he'll begin to suffer gender confusion given the bows your sister puts on him! J

Remember that a cat is not a toy, it is a living, breathing and loving creature. It is likely that your cat has formed a bond with your sister, so you should continue to 'share' him, if only for kitty's sake. Before you ask mom & dad for a new cat, be sure that this is not a case of jealousy or sibling rivalry. Ask yourself if you will you still want the new (or old) cat if your sister no longer plays with him? Also, is your sister is not up for the task of caring for a cat, are you able and willing to care for two cats? Take the cat's feelings into account If you feel you are up to the task, tell mom that you and your sister have a lot of love to give and that you would like to give kitty a new friend. If you have demonstrated that you have been a good parent to your kitty, I see no reason why she would say no. Keep me posted. Simba

PS
Be sure to check out Life Changes for tips on introducing a new cat to your home.


Cat Keeps Kid Awake



Dear Simba,
My daughter's 9-week old kitty likes to play all night. The kitty will lay in its bed, but prefers to go in and out of my daughter's bed. While this keeps her awake, my daughter prefers to have "her" kitty sleep with her. School will be starting soon and we need to get this resolved. Any suggestions? - Ginger

Dear Ginger,
It is in your kitten's nature to be a hyper little fuzz ball. Due to cat's different sleep patterns you can be assured that your daughter will not get her rest with the kitten in her room. I recommend that you and your daughter begin say good night to the kitten before bedtime, and perhaps together set the food and water out. This may make her feel closer to the kitten while at the same time instilling in her the responsibility that comes with a cat. Tell her that the kitten needs its rest too and that it will be there for her in the morning, after-school and there for naps, and so on and so on. I hope this helps. Keep me posted. Simba

PS
You may want to check out "Aspca Pet Care Guides for Kids: Kitten" for more information.



Child Squeezes Kitten


Dear Simba,
I am very happy with my new family, but I do not really like my 2-year old human brother. He likes to hold me, but when he does, he tends to squeeze to hard and it hurts. pleeeeaaaase help me! Kit-Kat

Dear Kit-Kat,
It is nice that your brother likes you and enjoys holding you, but I am a little worried that how he is doing it is not good for either of you.

As you know, kittens often squirm and wiggle so it is not hard for them to fall from child’s arms and get injured. In addition, some kittens have been known to bite or scratch when they are held too tight. This is not good for your brother. My recommendation is that you ask your mommy to supervise your brother when he wants to play with you. Ideally, he would be sitting down with his mommy and would then let you approach him. Perhaps you can talk her into letting him give you treats or play other games (see Playtime). Remind your mommy that you are not a stuffed doll and that you are fragile and can get hurt, just like a little baby would. Let me know how it goes. Your pal, Simba