It is not just cats that should not sleep with young children, it’s any household pets.
It is impossible to say how an animal may react in certain situations, in particular if the animal feels threatened. Cats and young children can co exist harmoniously, it is just a matter of taking precautions.
A pet may bite or scratch from fright or fear. This is basic common sense. We love our cats and even though we may feel positive that the cat would never do a family member harm, it is not worth the risk.
Always supervise and if you can’t don’t let your cat sleep with a sleeping baby or young children. Cribs are attractive napping spots for cats as they are often high off the ground and a soft place to sleep. The same applies to other baby sleeping locations. Just close the door to the nursery.
Why Cats Should Not Sleep With Young Children
Cats May Urinate On The Child’s Bedding
A senior cat may urinate on the child’s bedding. Have other comfy easy to access, sleeping places for a senior cat, not on a child’s bed. A cat may also urinate in the crib if the cat was extremely stressed
Allergy And Asthma Triggers
Cats can trigger allergy symptoms Not just cats but also dogs and other pets.
The symptoms of a cat allergy may include itchy, watery eyes. In an attempt to get relief, the child may rub at their eyes however this makes makes the problem worse and it is then a vicious cycle. Other symptoms of allergies, include sneezing, a runny nose and sometimes an itchy soft palate.
The saliva of the cat is the culprit here or pet dander. What is pet dander? Pet dander is the dead flakes of skin from a pet. Owning a pet means that those flakes of skin are everywhere in the home. It is those flakes of skin that cause the allergic reactions. It sounds terrible and pet dander is not visible. Cat hair is visible and frequent cleaning is one of the best solutions.
If your child has a sensitivity, it is definitely wise to keep the cat not only off the bed but also out of the bedroom. Cat scratches can also cause a reaction called cat scratch fever.
Some people suffer so badly from sensitivities to cat dander that it is almost impossible to own a cat.
Suggestions to help with the pet dander problem in the home are to remove carpet and have hardwood or tiled flooring. Use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter. Even taking these precautions, your child may still suffer from sensitivities to cat dander.
Eliminate allergy problems while the child is sleeping by keeping the bedroom door closed.
A Risk Of Fleas And Other Parasites From The Cat
If the cat has fleas and then sleeps on the child’s bed it is highly likely that fleas will now be in the child’s bedding and possibly also biting the child.
Cat fleas do not live on humans but they certainly do bite humans and leave red, itchy spots on the skin.
In a similar manner, the Cheyletiella mite which can cause dermatitis and is characterized by small, very itchy red bumps as described in Med Vet can jump from cats and cause itching. If affected it will mean a trip to the doctor and veterinarian.
Cats Can Scratch Sleeping Children
The cat could potentially scratch the child while the child is sleeping. If the child moves and the cat is not too happy about the ousting from a warm spot, the cat may lash out.
Cats have habits and they often do not adapt quickly to changing circumstances. Depending on your situation, your cat could react to losing their territory with destructive behavior like scratches or sprayed furniture.
Some cats may be aggressive towards children, or vice versa
Some cats are just unpredictable. Having had one of these cats it is sometimes impossible to know if a sweet kitty is going to turn into a scratchy kitty. If your child is older and the cat’s temperament is known, this is not so much an issue. Young kids will not understand the change in behavior.
Can Cats Inadvertently Smother Children?
The old wives’ stories about cats sucking the lives out of sleeping children aren’t true, however, cats shouldn’t be in the room where babies sleep. A cat could certainly be sleeping too close to a baby’s face. Keep the two separated.
Cats tend to avoid sticky surfaces. Using double sided tape to protect furniture and to discourage the cat from certain areas, can be a preventative measure, towards keeping the cat away from places that will now be the domain of the new baby.
You would need to begin using this for some time before the new arrival. Place in areas that you would like your cat to avoid, eg the crib, the change table and so on. This is actually training the cat to stay away from these areas.
Some cat breeds have a friendly nature. If you are thinking abut getting a cat or another cat and have a young family, considering a family friendly cat breed makes good sense.
Cats can sleep at least 15 hours every night but they do have different sleep habits. A cat who sleeps the next day can prepare for a Kitty Olympics competition at 1 am, charging around the house and leaping out from furniture.
The activities of a cat can affect the sleep rhythm, causing disturbed sleep. Aside from being athletic, cats can also gnaw, scratch and just try to get your attention when you sleep.
Cats do roam around the house and may jump on and off the bed. This can be enough to disturb the sleep of young children and other family members.
Exposure To litter Box Debris
Litter from the cat litter box does catch in cats claws and some of that litter debris could end up on the bed. This could pose health risks. Keep the litter box clean with fresh litter and frequent scooping.
Cats and babies, toddlers and older children can all coexist absolutely perfectly in a household. Take extra precautions when your children are babies remove cats from the nursery at nap time.
The health risks are small and the positives of pet ownership are far greater. The love a young child has for a pet is special.