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I’m pregnant…Do I have to give up my cat?

 

In a word…NO!

 

pipp38

One of the biggest reasons that well-meaning people suggest giving away cats during pregnancy is because of the risk of toxoplasmosis. This is a parasite that is transmitted in several ways, and one of the ways is through contact with cat feces, especially that of outdoor cats who eat live prey. However, you are more likely to come in contact with the parasite from undercooked meat or unwashed produce. If you think you should give up your cat to prevent contact with this parasite, you might as well also give up eating meat and vegetables.

cats

Also, if you’ve been a cat owner for several years or more, it’s likely that you’ve already come in contact with toxoplasmosis and developed an immunity to it. To be on the safe side, wear gloves when you clean your cat’s litter box, or better yet get someone else to do it during your pregnancy. There’s no need to give up your cat, though – simple hygienic practices like washing your hands (just like you do after handling raw meat) and keeping the litter box clean are enough to prevent this problem.

Another, not so uncommon myth is the thought. “The cat will climb in the crib and try to smother the baby,”

. It seems that cats have been blamed for the death of sleeping babies for centuries. The stories even go so far as to say that a cat actually sucks the air out of the baby’s mouth, causing death by suffocation. I’m quite confident in saying, though,

                                                     …that this story is purely a myth.

To be on the safe side, pets and babies shouldn’t sleep together to begin with, but there is nothing wrong with the family cat and the new baby snuggling and getting to know each other under your supervision. In fact, being allowed to sniff and explore the new baby will help a lot with preventing jealousy, since of course your cat was your first baby, and it’s normal for him to feel a little jealous when a new baby comes along.

cat

The ASPCA has some great advice on preparing cats for the arrival of a new baby, especially when you have a feeling your cat will be resistant to the change. During pregnancy you can invite friends with babies over for visits so that your cat will slowly get used to seeing, smelling, and interacting with babies. As you buy new furniture and baby supplies, set it where the cat can explore it, giving your kitty the chance to get comfortable with the interesting new things around the house. Once the baby is born you can place a used onesie or receiving blanket in a place where the cat can sniff it and maybe lie down on it, getting accustomed to the smell of your newest family member.

Enjoy your kitty…and enjoy your pregnancy

pipp39

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