Most pregnant women hear horror stories of cats smothering babies. While this is more myth than fact, it is still advisable to discourage a cat from sleeping with an infant.
Sadly, some families do believe that once the baby arrives, the cat must go and shelter workers can verify that cats are often surrendered due to the arrival of a baby. This really is unnecessary and with a few adjustments the new baby and cat can co-exist happily and safely.
Many people will suggest spraying the cat with a water pistol if you see it jump into the cot. The only problem with this is that the cat will just avoid the cot when you are around. So if you want to use 'aversion therapy' the trick is to make it an act of god. That is, it happens without you being there.
- Set up the cot prior to the arrival of the baby so your cat can see, smell and check it out. Cats are creatures of habit and don't like change, so helping your cat become familiar with new baby products will help reassure him.
- Look into buying a crib net, this is made of mosquito like netting which prevents your cat from accessing the cot.
- Put a screen door on baby's room so that your cat can still see and smell the baby but cannot access the room.
- Prior to the arrival of the baby, place balloons in the cot. When the cat jumps in it will get a fright.
- Lay some aluminum foil over the cot, cats don't like the feel and this will discourage them.
- Buy some plastic carpet runner and turn it upside down. Place this in the cot. Once again, cats don't like the feel of this and will avoid the cot.
- Put some double sided tape on the cot mattress, cats don't like the feel of this.
I would like to hope that it goes without saying that once the baby arrives you will need to remove any 'booby traps' you have put in the cot to discourage the cat from using it. With exception to the crib net of course. Most of these suggestions are to be used prior to the arrival of the baby.
If you have any other suggestions on how to keep cats out of cots/bassinets I would love to hear from you. You can contact me here.