Why you don't need to give your cat up when you're expecting a baby.
The arrival of a new baby in the home is a major upheaval and unfortunately some parents mistakenly believe they should give up their pets because of this.
New findings show that around half of expectant parents have concerns about cats and children, yet few seek advice on the topic.
Cats Protection receives hundreds of calls each year from people wanting to give up their cat for reasons related to children or babies, so we’re keen to dispel the myths and put their minds at rest.
To encourage parents to keep their cats during pregnancy and beyond, we’ve launched #KidsAndKitties, a campaign offering advice on keeping cats and kids happy together.
The campaign has even attracted celebrity support from Emmerdale star and mum-of-two Samantha Giles.
Samantha, whose children are five and nine, explained: “I am a huge supporter of the benefit of cats both to a calm, relaxed pregnancy and on children learning to care for and look after an animal.
“I remember when we brought our first baby daughter home we put her down in the lounge so our cats could have a sniff, which they did. Our cats were fairly elderly then, too, and they accepted and loved both our children.
Samantha Giles and her cat Bob
“Obviously one has to be sensible and not leave a baby alone with any animal and we made sure we shut the door on Eve’s bedroom so that the cats couldn’t get into her cot.
“I’d definitely encourage people not to give up their cats when they are pregnant because there are so many benefits to having a pet in the family.”
Daniel Cummings, Cats Protection’s Behaviour Officer said: “There seems to be a lot of conflicting advice out there about cats, pregnancy and children so we’re keen to stress that you don’t need to give up your cat if you are pregnant or have young children.
“With just some simple considerations, cats and children may live in harmony together and this can bring huge benefits such as helping kids to learn responsibility and compassion for living things.”
Cats Protection ran a survey to find out what concerns parents have about keeping cats in the family and these were the key findings:
- over half (54%) of respondents who owned a cat while expecting a child had concerns regarding their cat and their pregnancy. The top concerns were handling cat litter (77%) and toxoplasmosis (66%)
- just under half (49%) had concerns regarding their cat(s) and children with the top two involving the cat(s) scratching/injuring their child (61%) and the cat(s) climbing into the carrier/cot/pushchair with the child (50%)
- less than a third (30%) sought advice regarding cat(s) and pregnancy/children
- nearly a third 31%) of expectant parents were told that they should give up their cat, with two thirds (67%) receiving that advice from friends or family
- 1 in 12 (8%) gave up their cat because they were expecting a baby or had young children. The majority (63%) regretted this decision
To find advice on preparing your cat for the arrival of a new baby and tips for keeping cats and children happy together, visit www.cats.org.uk/kids-and-kitties for videos, guides and more!
If you have a story about kids and kitties getting on well together, share it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #KidsAndKitties