Are you worried about how your cat will handle the transition when you bring your baby home? Have you heard horror stories of cats in cribs?
It all sounds scary, but the truth is, there are not nearly as many dangers as grandma may have made you think.
How to keep your cat out of the baby’s crib may be one of the most frequently asked questions among new-moms with kitties. With some thoughtful preparation, you’ll have a peaceful home from day one.
Eliminating risk and creating a safe, harmonious environment for your fur baby and your human baby is completely possible — read on to find out how!
Can Cats And Babies Co-Exist?
Cats classically have a reputation for being territorial, fussy, unpredictable, and jealous. Not all of them are this way, and many cat moms know this — but they also know the cat was around the house first.
So, can a cat accept the arrival of a new, noisy human in their kingdom? Of course they can! Think about all the different ways you’d prepare an older child for the arrival of a younger sibling, or maybe how you’d introduce a new pet to an existing one.
Taking the steps to familiarize your cat with the introduction of a new family member and teaching them early on to avoid the crib and your baby’s other areas is the best way to ensure they exist together safely (1).
Preparing Your Cat For Baby
Start now! Spending the duration of your pregnancy preparing your cat for the baby and establishing off-limit areas can make the transition seamless and simple. Start with showing them new scents and practice by introducing things to your cat slowly.
If you already have your newborn, you can still follow these steps.
By nature, cats are curious. In fact they have a very similar curiosity to that of a child, which will make them great companions in the future.
Addressing some of your cat’s curiosities before the baby arrives can help keep kitty out of the crib:
- Scents: What do babies smell like? Your cat will want to know! Bring out the baby products early on and use them around the house so your cat will associate the new smells of a baby with their everyday life.
- Sounds: New sounds are one of the most stressful changes for a cat, so start slowly with monitored, careful introduction. Playing baby sounds you find on the internet may help do this. Now when your baby cries or coos, it won’t surprise the cat!
- Space: As loving as our cats can be, they need their peace and quiet too. A cat may wonder if they have a room to themself now, so prepare a quiet, secure area for them.
This will help make all these new things familiar to your cat, reducing their curiosity and urge to jump into the crib to investigate.
Keeping The Crib Cat-Free
Exploring different options for keeping your cat-free areas safe should be done before the baby arrives, but there are ways to still solve the problem of your cat intruding after you and baby have come home.
Consider these options and see what works for you and your family.
1. Install a screen door
Including your cat in the presence of your baby will make the whole experience seem less stressful for them, so allow them the opportunity to supervise the baby from afar.
A screen door on the nursery will give your cat a good view and a way to smell your baby without risking them getting into the crib. This is a better option than crib nets, which may be dangerous (2).
2. Make space for your cat
More than anything, your cat will like just be curious about the baby. As intelligent creatures, they see how important this baby is to the family, and they’ll want to be close.
Give your cat an alternative to sleeping in the crib by setting up a perch or a bed on the other side of the room.
3. Make the crib less appealing
Before the baby arrives, you can put uncomfortable, noisy items into the bed of the crib. Each time your cat jumps in, they’ll be greeted by startling sounds and no cozy place to sleep.
Eventually they’ll decide the crib is not a prime nap spot, and will leave your baby in peace when you bring her home.
4. Cat deterrent motion sensors
While other methods are less stressful to the cat, cat deterrent motion sensors can be a quick way to train your cat if you’re running out of time before the baby comes home.
These devices works as a spray form or an ultrasonic sound meant to startle and deter your cat away from the designated area.
5. Close the door
If nothing else seems to be working and your cat keeps finding their way into the crib, it might be time to just start closing the door. Investing in a video baby monitor can help make this an easier choice.
Excluding your cat from this part of your life shouldn’t be the first thing you try, and with some patience, they should learn after a while what message you’re trying to convey to them.
3 Things To Avoid
Many well-meaning parents of both cats and children have tried various methods without realizing the potential dangers they could impose. Recognizing the risks of these methods is important for the safety of both cat and baby.
1. Crib nets
While these contraptions may seem like the obvious method for preventing your cat from getting inside the crib, they can actually be very dangerous for your baby. The fabric could fall down into the crib, especially if your cat is messing with it, causing your child to get strangled in the mesh (3).
2. Peppermint oil
I remember when my mom suggested just putting peppermint oil on everything that belonged to my baby. Cats hate it, and they have good reason! Peppermint oil is very dangerous to cats and could cause tummy problems or pneumonia (4).
3. Excluding your cat
Try to put yourself into your cat’s place and understand how all these changes are making them feel. Even cats who react poorly to a new baby by acting out and getting anxious or stressed should be included as part of the family.
Don’t lock your cat away from the baby but instead focus on supervised moments together.
Feel Relieved And Prepared?
Your cat is an important part of the family, too, and a new baby doesn’t have to change that.
Take the steps together as a team, both pet and human, to ensure a safe, happy, and purr-fect environment for everyone. Try introducing your cat to the sounds and smells of a new baby, and create designated areas for them in the home to keep them cozy.
How did your cat react to a new baby in the home? What are your chosen methods for keeping a cuddly cat from the crib?
Let us know your thoughts and experiences and share this article with your other fur-baby mommies!