Kids that grow up with animals are generally healthier and suffer less psychological problems, so thumbs up for having a furry baby guardian right from the beginning. However, some pets don’t understand the concept of personal space which is tremendously important in the first couple of years of every baby’s life, so we are going to give you a couple of guidelines on how to keep cat out of crib.
There is definitely something about babies and cats. Some felines are so drawn to the newcomer that they refuse to leave their side—which is cute but may not be ideal for your newborn or your cat. Keeping your newborn and your cat at a safe distance is not hard; it just takes a little bit of persistence and a couple of tricks.
We will start this article with some valid reasons as to why it is important to keep your cat out of the crib. Then we will give you detailed advice on how to actually do it without making your cat uncomfortable around the baby. Keep reading, and you will realize it is not hard at all.
Reasons for Keeping the Cat Out of the Crib
So why should you even try to resist this cuteness overload? There are plenty of reasons. First and foremost, you should think about the safety of both your baby and your cat.
After all, you want your pet and your kid to have a loving relationship later, so putting in some extra effort in the beginning is tremendously important.
#1: Risks for the Baby
While your child is in this fragile period, a lot of things can go wrong, and it is important to reduce chances for potentially uncomfortable situations.
- Cat hair. Cats naturally shed all the time. If your cat is sleeping near your baby, there might be a risk of inhaling cat’s hair. While this is not a big risk for adults, the fragile respiratory system of a baby might not take it very well. Keep in mind that since cats groom themselves, there is also a plethora of bacteria on their fur, so there might also be a risk of infection.
- Limiting baby’s movement. Baby cradles are not particularly roomy so your cat might decide to sleep on the baby’s legs or chest. This can make the baby very uncomfortable and limit his or her ability to move freely.
- Interrupting a good night’s sleep. Now, this is something you definitely don’t want. With a newborn in the household, you are going to be exhausted enough as it is. If your baby has to fight for space with your cat, he or she is going to be cranky. Proper sleeping habits are essential for the development of the brain, so make sure your newborn has the best possible conditions to have a proper rest.
- Possible bites and scratches. While we are certain that your cat would never hurt your baby on purpose, she might get startled by the erratic movement of the baby. If the cat gets squeezed, pushed, or kicked, she might decide to give the newcomer a warning in the only way she knows how: by biting or scratching. We have already covered the risks of cat bites in another article, so the aftermath of such an event might give you headaches. Make sure to do everything to avoid this situation.
- Overheating. Newborns can’t regulate their body temperature as efficiently as adults. A normal body temperature of a cat is over 39,5 ° C (103.5 ° F) which might make the climate in the cradle a bit too hot. This can make your baby nervous and uncomfortable.
- Infection risks. While it has been scientifically proven that owning a cat brings a lot of health benefits to young children, babies belong to a different category. A newborn’s immune system is not yet developed and exposing them to an environment that is full of harmful microorganisms can be detrimental. Keep the extra immunization for a later date.
#2: Risks for the Cat
Your baby is not the only one that can suffer from sharing space with a furry crib mate. The cat can get injured or associate the baby with a negative experience, which will make their chances of being friends later very slim.
Do not forget that introducing a new family member is also stressful for your cat; so keep the risks of aversion to a minimum.
- Injuries. Everyone who has ever been around a baby knows that they have a very strong grip. The motoric functions are not yet fully developed, and small children don’t understand how hard they need to grasp an object or even when it’s time to let go. This is a very common situation that makes house pets avoid babies and toddlers and associate them with painful and unpleasant experience. Since you can’t explain this to your baby, make sure to prevent it from happening in the first place.
- Noises. Yes, babies are loud. Sometimes even deafening. As you already know, cats are not fans of noisy environment, so it is better to keep them at a safe distance. Preferably on the other side of the door.
Methods for Keeping the Cat Out of the Baby Crib
You might be one of the lucky ones that have a cat who decided staying away from the baby is the best option. If not, there are a lot of good tricks you can use to prevent all the uncomfortable situations we have discussed in the previous section.
Ideally, you should start the conditioning before your baby arrives. The sooner you start, the better.
Before the Baby Arrives
This is the best case scenario, so if you are still expecting, start the preparations. This way your cat will already understand the boundaries when the baby arrives, and you won’t have to put another energy consuming task upon yourself.
Here are some tricks to persuade the cat that the crib is not a perfect place to hang out.
#1: Just Say No
Keep an eye on your cat and correct her when she jumps into the crib. Say “No!” in a firm voice and remove her from the crib.
Don’t punish your cat, but be persistent. If you fail to correct her every time, she might get mixed signals and fail to understand what you want from her.
See Also: How to Discipline a Cat
However, if your cat is the kind that doesn’t take no for an answer, check out the following tips.
#2: Carpet Runner
Buy a plastic carpet runner and cut it to fit the dimensions of the crib. Cover the mattress with a sheet to protect it from dirt and damage. Place the carpet runner on the mattress with the spiky side up to discourage your cat from sleeping in it.
#3: Double Tape
Get double-sided tape and stick one side to a piece of cardboard you’ve prepared. Put this into the crib, over the sheet. Cats hate sticky sensations on their paws so this is a sure way to deter them from chilling in the crib.
If your cat is especially tenacious, you might need to use a firmer approach. You can try putting a few balloons inside the crib.
When your cat decides to jump inside, she will pop one with her claws and get scared. It should not be your first choice, but when push comes to shove, this method is really effective.
#5: Cat Repellent
Spray the sheet with lemon juice or a commercial cat deterrent. No one likes to sleep in a place that smells funny. If you don’t want to spray on the sheet, you can instead use some cotton balls soaked in the deterrent and scatter them on the bed.
Lavender is also an effective cat deterrent. You can place an old stocking stuffed with lavender flowers in the bed, and your cat will surely find it very unamusing.
See Also: DIY Cat Repellent
Empty aluminum cans can also work; they make a lot of noise while the cat tries to walk around the bed, which sends a clear message that it’s not a place for sleeping.
Aluminum foil is also a good way to make your cat uncomfortable on the bed if he or she is of a more delicate sensibility. It can be very uncomfortable for some cats to sleep on something that makes noise and feels unnatural. Make sure to leave the foil on the bed until your cat finally gives up.
#7: Find the Right Place for the Crib
Even if you succeed with some of the previous methods, when the baby arrives you are going to have a different situation, and your cat’s interest in the crib will be sparked again.
This is why you should choose a place for the crib in advance—a place that is not too close to other furniture, for example, so the cat can’t jump in from the desk or the closet.
When the Baby Arrives
The big day has come, and you have brought you baby home! You have surely prepared everything by now, and you are ready for everything that awaits you. If you had time to prepare your cat, that’s perfect. If not, there is still a lot you can do to prevent potentially bad situations so don’t fret.
Surely the first couple of weeks will be very hectic, and everyone is going to be tired. Your cat is also going to be confused, and a bit stressed, but above all, she is going to be very curious.
This means that, even if you did everything in your power to persuade the furball that the crib is not the best place to be in, he or she might decide to try again. Since the situation has changed, some of the methods described above may not be possible anymore, so here is what you can do.
#1: Shut the Door
This is the most obvious thing to do if the baby is sleeping in a separate room. If you are concerned about not being able to hear your baby, install a baby monitor and/or a baby cam.
This method is foolproof, but you might end up with a cat meowing relentlessly in front of the door or sleeping there, waiting for a chance to sneak in. If this is the case, you can try other methods given in this section.
#2: Crib Tent
This is a very useful crib add-on if you don’t mind spending a few bucks on it. It is originally designed to keep the toddlers from climbing out of the crib, but you can use it as a cat shield for now.
Crib tent is not an investment made in vain because you are going to use it later on anyway, only for a completely opposite purpose. It is also a very effective way to keep mosquitoes out of the crib.
#3: Installing a Screen Door
If closing the door is not an option for whatever reason, you might want to install a screen door. It is made of very fine mesh so you can still hear your baby and let the room aerate properly while keeping the cat out of the room.
#4: Redirecting Your Cat
Drawing your cat’s attention from the baby is probably the most effective method. You will also learn a very useful skill for when you need it for your own little critter. Buy your cat a new, super interesting toy, or a new cat climber, cat cave, etc.
This will show her that she is not neglected and forgotten because of the baby and you can have fun watching her while resting from all your daily chores. Your cat will have something fun to do and leave the baby alone, so it is a win-win situation.
See Also: DIY Cat Toys
#5: Together Time
You want to keep your cat away from the cradle, but you definitely don’t want to keep him or her from meeting your baby. Newborns have a specific scent, not to mention all the other odors that come with a kid.
So let your cat be with you in the room while you are playing with your baby so she can get familiar with everything that a baby brings. This will soothe her curiosity and assure her she is not doing anything wrong by being interested in the baby.
If you always keep your cat at a distance, she might become jealous and see the baby as an invader to her once-loving pack. After all, your cat is a part of the family.
#6: Install an Ultrasonic Cat Deterrent Next to the Crib
This is a device you can buy online or in a specialized pet store. As soon as your cat approaches the crib, the sound will go off, and your cat will decide to go away. Don’t be worried about your baby’s safety. The sound is audible to cats, but not to the babies or adults.
#7: Scat Mat
If your cat is a sneaky rascal and finds her way into the baby room one way or the another, you can try placing a scat mat in front of the door. This is a gadget made for dog training, but it works for cats just as well.
#8: Pet Pen
You can install a pet pen in the baby room for your cat. This way, the cat can observe the baby and get to know the newcomer while being confined to limited space. Pet pens are big enough to keep your cat comfortable, and you can always place some toys and food inside, so she doesn’t get bored.
The joy of having a newborn is one of the greatest things a human can experience. Bringing a new member to the family is wonderful, but also very stressful and energy consuming. This is why it is very important to do all the preparation before the baby arrives.
Growing up with animals is the most natural surrounding for a kid, and we are happy that you decided to keep your beloved pet by your side. All misunderstandings and unpleasant situations that might occur when you mix a baby, and a pet can be avoided with a bit of planning and precaution.
This way you will surely enjoy the wonderful experience of watching your kid grow up with a loving pet.
We hope this article helped you and gave you a few ideas that will make your life a bit easier. Do you know of any other ways to keep a cat out of a crib? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below! Before you go, do check out our article on how long do cats grow, in case you plan to get a baby cat alongside a human baby.