Do you have a new baby arriving and worried about how to keep your cat out of their crib? This is definitely something you want to pay attention to. As we update this article, our kids are now eight and ten. Yet we still remember the struggle in the baby’s room. As much as we love our cats, we agree that a baby’s crib is a no-go place for a cat.
In this article you’ll learn why cats in cribs is a bad idea, why cats go in baby cribs, preparing for your new baby, and the 5 ways to keep your cat out of the babys crib.
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Table of Contents
- Why cats in cribs is a bad idea
- Preparing for your new baby
- 5 Tips on how to keep the cat out of the crib
Why cats in cribs is a bad idea
There are safety and health risks to your baby. These are risks of getting scratched and or bitten, risk to their breathing, and risk of infections.
For example, your cat could accidentally scratch your baby. Or your cat could snuggle up and block your baby’s face so they can’t breath. Your cat could have some of their feces on their fur which could transfer an infectious disease to your new baby. For these reasons, we recommend keeping cats out of cribs.
We don’t believe in myths about cats. Like the one that your cat will steal your baby’s breath like that old wives tale says. It’s also very unlikely that a regular household feline will deliberately attack your new baby. At the same time, your cat doesn’t deliberately mean to scratch, pinch, cause discomfort, or simply wake your baby up. Yes, this usually happened right after we had spent several hours of trying to lull the kid to sleep.
Preparing for your new baby
Preparing for your baby’s arrival can be broken down into 3 areas:
1. Prepare the room
You’ve already begun preparing the room to become a nursery for your babys crib right?This becomes more important if you decide to keep your baby out of that room, you need to remove all the reasons your cat would want to be in that room. Remove all their cat toys, litter box, litter tray, cat tree, and any pet furniture your cat uses.
Prepare a barrier if you want to keep your cat out. Make sure the door latch and lock works. Use a baby gate to block the door. Note these will come in handy later when your toddler becomes mobile. Install baby locks on any cabinets etc. that you want to keep your toddler out of.
If the room is a shared space, prepare the room so that the area where your baby will be is far away from where where your cats familiar hangout is. Move their cat tree to the other side of the room, make sure their toys and scratching posts are far away, and most importantly, move their food and litter box far away.
2. Prepare your self
Keep yourself and your new baby safe by keeping your cat or cats indoors so they don’t pick up any new diseases. Don’t befriend the neighborhood feral cat. Use gloves when in the garden as toxoplasmosis cysts can be found in the feces of infected animals. Use gloves when scooping the litter tray.
3. Prepare your cat
Cats in general don’t like change. If your cat is used to being in that room because their food or litter box are in there, give your cat a few months to adjust to a new location. Get your cat used to the new smells such as baby lotion and baby powder by using them on yourself. Setup your babys crib and other furniture in the nursery so your cat gets used to them. Play a recording of baby sounds such as crying, shrieking, etc. to desensitize your cat to these new sounds.
5 Tips to keep your cat out of the crib
- Decide to keep your cat out of the crib or the baby’s room
- Add some cat furniture to the baby’s nursery
- Place a cat deterrent next to the crib
- Close the door and use a baby monitor
- Keep your cat active during the day
1. Decide to keep your cat out of the crib or the baby’s room
We recommend keeping your cat out of your babys crib at a minimum. Next, decide if you want to keep your cat out of your babys room prior to your babys arrival. Once you decide, you have to stick with that decision.
This depends on your cat’s personality and of course, how fond you are of your cat. We suggest letting the cat inside the room but maintaining a healthy distance from the crib or bassinet where your newborn baby sleeps.
First, it’s easier to do this, second it creates less stress for your cat. Third, in your cat’s view, the baby will be a less of an inconvenience in their life which is good for their relationship.
If you think your baby’s room must be completely off limits to your cat, you should read our related article on how to keep a cat out of the room.
2. Add some cat furniture to the baby’s nursery
Cats love to climb and observe things from above.
A huge part of why cats want to get inside a crib is their curiosity. They want to sniff, or at least to see what’s inside and as a rule of thumb, cats want to climb. It makes them feel safe, comfortable, and helps to satisfy their curiosity.
A cat tree or a cat shelf on a window sill would be great. Just place them more than a leaps length away from the crib. Your cat can nap on the cat tree, soothe their curiosity about who’s in the crib and still feel relaxed.
If you are interested, see this article on Environmental enrichment for tips on making your house appealing to your cat. Your cat will be less interested in the crib and these tips will also reduce other potential cat behavior problems commonly associated with the arrival of a baby.
3. Place a cat deterrent next to the crib
Now you are ready to actively keep your cat away from the crib. The easiest and the most effective method is to use a pet deterrent, like the SSScat brand repellent.
It’s a motion activated device which emits a puff of air every time it detects movement. The thing is, this puff is disliked by most cats but is not bad for you or your baby. As soon as your cat approaches the device, it emits a small puff of air and your cat will stop in its tracks and stay away. Best of all, it works 24×7 without you being around.
Another choice is an ultrasonic sound emitter. It emits a high pitched sound that humans can’t hear, but your cat can. Its also works when you aren’t around. The sound is released every time your cat approaches the baby crib. This way your cat sees no point in trying to get close to the crib. Another benefit is your cat doesn’t associate you or your baby with the annoying sound. Like the air puff repellent, your cat will associate that area with an unpleasant experience and will avoid it in the future.
You may be tempted to spray water from a spray bottle over your cat. However we find several problems with this approach.
- It requires your presence.
- It requires consistency to be effective.
- Your cat will make the connection that water is squirted on them only when you are around. Connecting you with an unpleasant experience can hurt your relationship with your cat.
While you are waiting for your babys arrival, you can get your cat used to the situation right away. Set up the crib in its assigned spot and put the motion activated pet deterrent next to it. This way you will have an opportunity to observe how the whole setup works. Second, your cat won’t connect their new limitation with your babys arrival. And that is a very positive difference for their relationship in the future.
4. Close the door and use a baby monitor
Regardless of whether or not you have a cat, using a baby monitor is a sound decision. It provides peace of mind for you. Most importantly, you will be able to know that everything’s alright without disturbing your new child.
If your budget allows, we recommend getting a baby monitor with video. The peace of mind of having the live picture of your sleeping baby’s face while you cook for example is invaluable. Best of all, you can use a baby monitor to keep tabs on your four legged children when you are out of the house.
In the meantime, your cat may be either outside the closed door or napping in their own cat tree inside the room. In either case, your cat is a good distance from the crib. The situation is cute and safe. While you think they’re both just sleeping, in cat terms they are napping together and your cat considers this bonding. It’s a safe environment for your cat and they will grow closer to your child at this early age.
5. Keep your cat active during the day
Yes, like many of our patients you are probably saying, How? We are new parents, I don’t have time for sleep much less play time with the kitty. We understand. As parents of 2 babies and many four legged fur babies, we understand how very short on time you are. Playing with your cat is way down the list of priorities.
In this situation, telling you to play with your cat more is like training a fish to fly. Sorry no, it isn’t going to fly.
Please understand that play is very important to your cat’s sanity and good behavior. Read our article 7 Benefits of Regularly Playing With Your Cat.
What we want you to be aware of is that you should at the very least, try to make some time for your cat even with your insanely crazy schedule. Treat it like any other must do task. Just like doing the laundry or preparing food, schedule some time every day. Playing just prior to feeding time is the most ideal. This is because the play mimics hunting activity which your cat’s ancestors and wild counterparts do prior to eating their prey.
Another recommendation we make to our patients is to involve other family members as much as possible. As your baby gets older, you can even play with your cat and your baby at the same time. This furthers the bond between your child and cat.
WIth preparation and using the above 5 ways, you will keep your cat out of your child’s crib or bassinet. You can find more tips about playing with your cat when short on time here. Solo play toys and electronic toys are your cat and your best friends.
You have learned why cats in cribs is a bad idea, why cats go in baby cribs, preparing for your new baby, and the 5 ways to keep your cat out of the babys crib. You will also ensure that your cat’s quality of life will not suffer as a result of the baby’s arrival. This is important for everyone. Especially for you, your baby, and your cat. The months where your baby is a toddler will fly by. We hope your child will grow up being able to appreciate the joy that loving a pet gives.
This will go a long way towards a happy and healthy life with your new baby and pet cat. And keeping your Pet Happy is what we all want.