My wife is pregnant, and our cat Chester - is the most loving Birman Cat. He loves to sleep between our heads and and always wants to sit on our lap or lay next to you. We are worried that when we bring our new bundle of joy home that he will be just as affectionate and want to lay in the bassinet or crib. Chester just loves company, but we worry that he will lick the baby as he/she is sleeping or possibly so close to our newborn and restrict airflow. As you can probably tell this is going to be our first child, but we wondered if this could be a problem or if you have heard of anything like this and how to correct it.
Hello, and Congratulations!!!
Yours is a common worry, but mainly one that has been passed down from generation to generation without basis. Affectionate cats definitely could be interested in a new baby to love, although most of the time, the cat is frightened and stays away.
I have three children and when the first two were born, I had 14 cats. When the third child was born, I "only" had 6 cats, haha. I did not really believe any harm would come to my babies from the cats, however I am the type of person that does not like to take risks when those risks are about something very precious and are preventable.
Therefore, I did not let cats have access to my babies when they were alone in their cribs until they were a few months old. I prevented this in a variety of ways. For one child, we switched the regular door to the nursery to a screen door because that kept the cats out and yet, being a nervous first mom, I could still hear well. (I painted the door a pretty color and decorated it with stencils, etc.)
Another time, my husband, who was in construction and was very creative, built a top to the crib. It was very much like a child's gate, but was hinged onto the top of the crib like a lid. It was sturdy, couldn't fall or come loose, could probably hold the weight of a person, not to mention a cat or two and that worked out well.
Of course, we had baby monitors in the rooms as well. It wasn't long at all until the babies were big enough and turning over on their own and we didn't have to take such measures. The end result is three healthy, smart, attractive kids who went on to sleep for years with cats wrapped around their necks and on their heads. (As you can see from my picture at the top of the page!) No harm to the kids, no harm to the cats, very little in the way of nervousness from Mom and great relationships between all eventually.
Congratulations again. My motto is take the appropriate steps so you don't have to worry about whether you should worry or not.
Thank you for writing. I expect a picture of the baby AND the cat one day!