If you've ever sat through a viewing of Stephen King's "Cat's Eye," you know that cats don't actually climb into the beds of child actresses and suck their breath out -- you're thinking of tiny wall trolls.
Still, a great deal of concern persists among cat owners whenever there's a new baby in the household. Will the cat and the baby become fast friends, or will one try to eat the other? How's a person to be both a responsible parent and a decent pet owner?
According to an article from the Associated Press this week, the key is understanding how a cat reacts to the arrival of a newborn. Just think about the noises associated with a new baby. Think about all the curious new smells -- the utter chaos that a baby brings into a household.
This sort of ruckus will likely be keeping you up nights, so how do you think a cat will respond? You know, the creature that likes to sleep 20-plus hours a day and hides under the futon when it thunders? Cats tend to appreciate order and uniformity in life -- pretty much the opposite of a newborn.
To cope with all this, experts recommend gradually altering the cat's feeding schedule and human bonding times to mesh with the schedule imposed by the infant.
Then there's the whole crib issue. Cats sometimes gravitate toward these elevated, soft refuges because, well, they're elevated and soft. Plus, as PetFinder.com points out, the baby's pretty warm and soft itself, meaning your cat may just decide the baby would make an excellent snuggle buddy. As this could potentially hamper an infant's breathing, you want to avoid this as well.
To prevent all this (as well as possible scratches and tail-pulling) you can simply keep the nursery door closed or invest in any number of tentlike covers to keep pets out of the crib.