The Dangers of Cats Around Pregnant Women and Babies.
If you already own a cat, or are thinking of adopting a cat into your family, especially if you have very young children, a baby, are pregnant, or thinking about getting pregnant, then you need to read these very important safety precautionary tips below regarding the dangers of cats around pregnant women and babies.
You of course can keep your cats, but safety measures should be put in place.
Pregnant and Living with a Cat, The Risk Of Toxoplasmosis
If you are pregnant and own a cat, you need to be incredibly vigilant with hygiene to avoid Toxoplasmosis. Cats can carry in their feces Toxoplasmosis, a parasite which if a pregnant women contracts, can cause the pregnancy to abort, or some very serious illness and defects in the fetus.
- Wash your hands always after petting your cat.
- Do not handle raw meat cat food, use gloves if you have to be the one to feed the cat.
- Avoid changing the kitty litter. Where possible, have someone else change the kitty litter daily, if you have to be the one to do it, wear disposable gloves and a mask.
- Also it is wise to have a blood test to see if you have already been exposed to Toxoplasmosis and have the antibodies, as this makes you less likely to be re-infected .
- More info here http://www.cat-world.com.au/pregnancy-a-toxoplasmosis
Cats Can Unintentionally Suffocate A Sleeping Baby Or Toddler
A cat suffocating a baby or young child is a thankfully, an extremely rare occurrence. However it is one tragedy that should never happen, as it is easily preventable.
Here is a British medical report of a baby girl that was almost accidentally suffocated by a cat in her pram and one report of a cat smothering a baby.
CATS DO NOT SUCK THE BREATH OUT OF BABIES and it is never a malicious act by a cat to try and kill a baby by sitting on the baby’s face or chest.
Cats found lying on top of babies, or next to them in the cot, happens simply because some cats like to sleep as close to a nice warm person as possible. I personally had an incredibly affectionate, Burmese cat who slept across my neck and face and I often had to push her back a bit so I could breathe.
My vet here in Melbourne, who is on the board of the RSPCA, Dr. Onn Ben-David, advised me when my daughter was born, to keep my cat securely locked out of baby’s room. He believes that a baby, or deeply sleeping toddler, may not have the strength to push the weight of a cat off them. He said even if a cat never lies across the face area, the weight of a heavier cat on a young baby’s chest would be enough to make it difficult for the baby to breathe and could lead to accidental suffocation. So we took his warning seriously and installed a temporary fly-screen door on our baby’s room and we could still easily see and hear our daughter at all times.
The Dangers Of A Cat Scratch Or Bite To A Baby Or Toddler
Cats teeth and claws harbor serious bacteria and parasites. A bite or scratch to a baby or toddler can cause serious, even a potentially life-threatening infection if left medically untreated.
*Note – Cat bites are usually treated with antibiotics, as they are far more likely to develop into an infection than a dog bite.
The danger of an older baby, or toddler unintentionally hurting a cat and the cat protecting itself by scratching or biting, is a very real danger and should not be taken lightly.
Never leave a young child unsupervised around a cat. Even the most docile cat can lash out if a baby grabs and pulls hard at a handful of its fur and this is perfectly fair enough.
If your baby or toddler does accidentally receives a bite or scratch from your cat, then immediately clean it and call your doctor for advice.
How To Keep Your Cat Away From Your Baby or Sleeping Toddler
It is up to the adults to make sure your cat doesn’t have access to babies and toddlers when they are asleep or unsupervised by an adult.
- Either keep the cat closed in another room when your children are sleeping, or you can close child’s door and keep the cat out.
- Temporarily install a screen door on your baby/toddler’s room, this way you can still see and hear your child, but kitty can’t get in.
- Cat’s should never ever be allowed into a baby’s cot, even if the baby is not in it. A baby’s cot should be strictly a no go zone for your cat.
- Even when a young baby is awake and in their pram or on a mat on the floor, never leave your cat alone with your baby. Do not turn your back on your cat and baby. If you need to do something and can’t watch the interaction then put your cat securely locked in another room.
Toddlers & Young Children Interacting Safely With Cats
- Always supervise toddlers and young children around your cat.
- Teach your kids never to pull, hit, push or kick your cat.
- Only let older kids carry your cat, once they have been shown how to properly hold a cat.
- Teach your children to read your cats body language, so that they know when the cat has had enough interaction with them and therefore avoid your kids receiving unnecessary bites and scratched from your cat.
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