Pregnancy is a very sensitive period in the life of every woman, and it can be challenging if you have a cat during this period. None of the challenges you’ll face as a pregnant cat owner is even remotely insurmountable.
If you are thinking of getting rid of your cat, then you have to avoid that though because all you need to do is a little planning. Babies and cats have coexisted in peace for centuries, and that isn’t about to stop.
First of all, you may have heard people say things like cats can suck the air out of your infant, but that is just an old wives tale that holds no truth. I agree it is theoretically possible for a baby to be suffocated by a cat but there has never been a recorded report of such an occurrence. Besides, there are over a hundred ways to block your cat from gaining access to the child’s crib.
Cat litter and toxoplasmosis concerns during pregnancy
Most pregnant women strongly consider doing away with their cat because toxoplasmosis can cause congenital disabilities in infants. The concerns of these women are reasonable. However, there are other ways to prevent your child from catching the disease without letting go of your feline.
Toxoplasmosis is a dangerous disease that is caused by a parasite that can infect your pet if you allow it feed on prey that already has the parasite, eat raw meat, or even play in soil that is contaminated with the disease. It is important that you know that cats with toxoplasmosis may not necessarily show symptoms.
Most women are naturally immune to toxoplasmosis this they cannot pass it to their infant. In fact, there is a huge chance that you have already been exposed to the toxoplasmosis disease.
Meet your doctor to confirm if you belong to the group of women who are immune to toxoplasmosis, If it is confirmed that you have immunity to the diseases then there is no cause for alarm.
The United States centre for Disease control and prevention have recommended some basic steps to help prevent this infection from spreading.
1. Always keep your cats indoor
Cats that are not allowed to leave the houses or even play in the backyard are never reported to have toxoplasmosis. The disease is only shed in your cat’s faeces for some weeks after infection, during pregnancy never let your cat outside of feed it with raw or half cooked meat.
2. Avoid handling your cat’s litter box during pregnancy
Have a help or another family member handle the litter box during the period of your pregnancy. Make sure to have no form of contact with the litter box even up till the second month after the birth of your baby.
3. Make sure the litter box is cleaned after each use
The toxoplasmosis parasite can only become infectious within one to five days after the cat sheds it through its faeces so it is best the cat poop is scooped out immediately and taken out of the house to reduce the chances of an infection.
4. Always put on hand gloves and wash your hands
Whoever is scoping the poop should always put on a pair of disposable hand gloves and wash his or her hands thoroughly afterwards.
5. Avoid getting the infection from raw meat
Eating undercooked or raw meat is one of the easiest ways humans contact toxoplasmosis. If are a meat eater then you have to see to it that all utensils and surfaces that have come in contact with raw meat are washed. Avoid cooking raw meat with the same chopping board you use for raw foods such as salads. Most importantly, have a thorough hand wash after handling raw meat.
6. Avoid toxoplasmosis infection from soil
If you have a garden and must tend to it while you are pregnant, make sure always to put on gloves while you handle soil. Toxoplasmosis parasite has its home in the dirt, so it’s important that you wash your hands well after working in the garden.
Preparing your cat to accept the new baby
The way your cat sees it, being a baby into the house all of a sudden and giving this intruder all the love, care, and attention is threatening, and it has no choice but to fight for what seemingly was rightfully it’s own. Things shouldn’t be that way as cats and babies can be best of friends. The easiest way to make life not so difficult for your cat during this period is to introduce the changes gradually so that it doesn’t come as a shock to your cat.
For your baby’s safety, you might want to introduce your cat to baby stuff so that when your child finally arrives it won’t be a surprise to your pet and it just might be as excited as you to have the little human in the home.
Introduce your cat to baby smells and sounds before the birth of your child. Wearing the baby powder and lotion, you will be making use of will help your cat get used to the new smell as it sniffs you. Give it a treat every time it plays around you trying to get used to the baby smell you are wearing.
You would want to get a recording of baby cry sounds that you can play for your cat to listen to. You can start with short lengths and low volume then gradually work it up to full duration and volume. Again, remember to reward your feline with a treat after every listen.
If it is possible for you to invite a family member or a friend who has a baby to your house, then that would go a long way to help your cat. The mother and baby could come for short visits and increase the duration of their stay with time. While your guests are around, make sure the baby is sitting in your laps, a playpen, or even a baby seat while you’re car walks around the house. Play with your cat while you have the baby around.
If you are preparing our building a nursery, give your cat enough time to get used to the new set up gradually. Let your pet feed it’s curiosity as much as it wants and never forget to play with kitty during your work on the nursery. The key here is to get your cat involved in the process so that it doesn’t feel left out.
Set your baby’s crib in advance of its arrival. Make sure the crib is inviting to your feline and proceed to fill many soda cans with some pennies and close the opening of the cans with a tape. Place the cans into the baby crib and watch to see if your cat goes anywhere near it. If your cat loves to visit the crib, then you should consider buying a net that will fit over the crib.
Consider fixing an interior screen door that will prevent your cat from going into the nursery.
Allow your cat play with baby toys and other things baby related so that when the child arrives none of those items will be new to the animal.
Avoid too many changes
Try as much as possible not to change too many things when it comes to your cat’s routine. When your cat has a predictable routine, it’s stress level is reduced and that prevents many problems. Ask a family member to help attend to your cat the way you would (Brush, feed, and entertain).
The reason for this gradual detachment is to enable this cat to live almost independent of you when your child arrives so that you can attend to your baby without thinking of the best way to share this attention. Discuss with everyone in your household on his to help your cat get used to the changes and accept the presence of the new member of the family.
As your child grows, he or she will develop a good relationship with your feline, and you will discover you made a good choice to keep your pet instead of letting it go.