The comments will start even before you think of getting pregnant.
Yeeee… you won’t be keeping the cat, right? You can get Toxo!’
And then, once you do get pregnant, almost everyone you know will ask the inevitable:
When will you get rid of ‘it’?
‘It’ is a ‘he’, and he has given me tons of precious moments from the second he was adopted off the streets of Beirut in August 2015. Dexter is gorgeous, independent, and caring. When I learned the news of my grandpa’s death, he wouldn’t leave my side. And when I got pregnant, his life would change just as quickly as my hormones!
He wasn’t going anywhere! But a few changes had to be made when it came to the major concerns:
- Toxo: simply, don’t change the cat litter. My husband does this at home. And even if you have to change the litter, make sure to wear gloves, don’t wait too long (Toxo creeps up after 5 days!), and wash your hands afterwards. Et voilà! Cat stays at home!
- Jealousy: yes, your cat might get jealous. Who wouldn’t? He’s had all your love and attention and now needs to take second place! But this is comparable to having an older child. You aren’t told to let your older child go! Instead, you plan ahead. Same with your cat! There is tons of info online on how to prepare a cat. This article is a good one but I read at least ten while I was in the first trimester.
- Interaction: the cat and the baby will interact. If you’re worried, make sure they aren’t alone for long. In my case, our cat doesn’t jump on a high place if there isn’t a ledge to hang on to. So Dexter does not get into the baby’s crib. That’s a safe place. When the baby’s asleep in there, I can leave the nursery open and the cat goes in and sits under the crib. Everyone is happy! And whenever the cat does come close, pet him! Show him that It’s ok. And don’t be pushy. My baby’s almost 3 months old and the cat has barely touched him (smelled his head: once. Touched his hand: twice. Played with his feet: three times). Otherwise, he watches him the way cats watch anything they find fascinating.
- People’s feedback: this is the worst part. Getting people to understand that you know what you’re doing, and ignoring comments when it gets too much. But hang in there and arm yourself with knowledge.
And what’s the point of all this? Why go through all this trouble? —
That question shouldn’t even be a question! A pet is part of your family! It’s never an option! You take care of family!
And bonus points: your little one will have a furry friend that actually moves. Take that, Mr. Teddy Bear. I can’t wait for my baby to be a toddler and reach for his feline friend. And hopefully I’ll be able to prep baby then for how to interact with a cat gently and lovingly (will be reading a lot about that when the time comes).
Dexter and Luki when they first touched hands.