It may seem harmless that your kitty cat wants to be nestled next to your baby while he sleeps, but it’s important to train your family feline to stay out of your child’s crib so he can get a good night’s rest. “When we think of training, we think of dogs, but cats can be trained, too,” says Steven May, pet expert and co-author of “What About Wally? Co-Parenting a Pet with Your Ex.” Make sure that your baby and the family cat is safe by taking precautionary methods to keep the crib feline-free.
Even though your family cat has loving intentions, your baby’s crib should not be his favorite spot in the home. Your child needs uninterrupted rest. The first step in keeping the cat out of the crib is to establish boundaries. Train your cat by blocking off access to your child’s room before the baby arrives and once the little one is home, never let the cat and baby rest alone. Gates or screens at your child’s bedroom door will allow the cat to smell and see the baby without snuggling next to her when she sleeps.
You can also teach your pet boundaries by installing a clear, hooded net over the crib. “This should happen at the beginning of the training process, which helps the cat understand its boundaries,” says May. Crib nets are similar to mosquito nets, complete with zippers, to keep your baby safe and your kitty cats out.
If your cat craves to be by your baby, consider putting a large pet pen in the baby’s room, suggests May. “It should have a covering over it to limit the cat’s movements, yet it is large enough for the cat to play and exercise,” says May. The cat can play close by your child in his enclosed space while your child plays in her designated area – the crib.
“Unless you have confidence in your cat not to traumatize your baby, then it’s best to prevent feline access to the baby’s crib,” says California-based veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney. When your frisky critter continues to navigate toward your baby’s crib, a trip to your local pet store may offer a solution. Pick up a scat mat, a touch-sensitive training pad, to repel your cat from the baby’s bed. Scat mats condition cats to avoid areas by setting off harmless, low-power electronic pulses that are similar to static electricity. Place the scat mat in the entrance to your child’s room or near the crib to keep him from jumping in bed with your little one.