Do cats smother babies?

Cats do not have a homicidal streak. Cats do not smother babies! People that give away their family cat because they believe that the soon to come baby would be in danger from the pet are in fact believing an old wives tale.

Don’t leave a baby alone with the cat. Cats like licking the milk from the baby’s mouth and in doing so would kill the baby by smothering. Cats smother babies because of jealousy. These are unfounded beliefs. Cats smothering babies to death is an ancient belief. During the olden times, cats were associated with evil. Cats, especially the black ones are believed to be used in occultism. Cats are as well believed to be witches’ familiar. During the 13th and 14th centuries, there were cultures that believe cats steal baby’s souls. These myths were debunked. However, a very recent case of cat smothering was reported. The mother found the baby on the crib with the pet cat lying on top of the baby’s face. The baby died. It was later found out that the baby had died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The cat is not to blame but news of this kind travel fast. Cat owners love the pet but it would be natural for parents not to take the chance. Once it is confirmed that a baby would soon be added to the family, the cat will be left to an animal shelter. In some cases, cats are simply abandoned. Poor cats!

Do cats really smother babies? Cats are not very affectionate animals. Unlike dogs, cats are not big on PDA. However, some owners have recounted how the pet would show jealousy when the owner’s attention is turned to another pet or to another person. The introduction of a new baby can stress the cat so that it would develop unwanted behaviors like destructive scratching, territorial marking and failure to use the litter box. Smothering and killing babies though would be a farfetched idea. Animal behaviorists that have observed cats believe that cats would not smother a baby as these are aloof animals and they tend to scamper at the slightest movement. The baby’s cry can frighten the cat as well and frightened cats tend to ran away.

Cats would not smother babies but it would be best if parents would make the necessary precautions. Just as stuffed toys and extra blankets are removed from the baby’s crib to prevent the likelihood of suffocation, cats must be kept out of the baby’s crib too. Sleeping babies must not be left alone with the cat. A net can be placed over the crib to prevent the cat from sleeping with the baby. The cat must get accustomed to the presence and the smell of the baby. A screen door will prevent the cat from entering the baby’s room but it can view and smell the baby. Babies are very delicate. Cats do not really smother babies but babies would still be in danger from the cat’s claws. One important reason why cats should not be allowed to stay with the baby is the fact that the pet can harbor parasites and zoonotic diseases.

Giving the pet away because a baby is arriving soon would not be a good idea. Shelters are overcrowded and commonly underfunded. It is highly probable that cat will be put to sleep. Pet cats and babies can co-exist but parents must make sure that dangers to the baby’s life are prevented. Cats have been domesticated for years. Cats are not aggressive animals but there are times when the behavior of the pet can be unpredictable. Close supervision is necessary at least until the baby grows older.

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