How to keep baby and cat friendly in the crawling stage
So your baby has suddenly taken a new interest in the cat – but your independent cat would rather be left alone, thank you. Here are some suggestions for keeping the peace before something scratchy goes down.
- Always supervise. Make it clear that playing cat’s tail or other parts is a no-no, and never leave your cat and your baby together unsupervised.
- Protect food and litter. Keep your baby away from your cat’s water and food, and put her litter box somewhere the cat can reach it but the baby can’t.
- Escape hatch. Make sure your cat has places to escape to. Try installing a baby gate to close off a private area like a basement room, where your cat can retreat.
- Rearrange furniture. Give your cat her own chair pushed against a wall so she can retreat from the baby either by perching on its back or by hiding underneath it.
- Monitor vermin. Don’t forget to have your cat checked for worms and to give her regular, non-toxic flea and tick treatments. Wipe down eating surfaces if your cat walks across them, and remember to keep the sandbox covered when not in use to prevent transmission of parasites from cat to child.
- Treat bites and scratches. Catch scratches can be especially prone to infection because of the way a cat’s germy claws can hook into skin. Wash any bites or scratches out with salt water, and report any scratches that show signs of infection or don’t heal in a few days to your pediatrician.
- Protect the crib. Cats love cribs, but you don’t want the cat to mistake your baby’s bed for her own. Many crib tents have been recalled for safety issues, but there are a few other ways to ward cat away from the crib: keep other furniture away from the crib to make it harder for the cat to jump in, when baby’s not in the crib put a sheet of aluminum foil over the mattress, or if all else fails lock kitty in another part of the house at night.