Some cats do carry toxoplasmosis but the ones most at risk are those who are allowed outdoors and as a result, hunt and ingest birds and rodents. Cats on raw food diets are also more at risk.
The reason pregnant women are advised not to handle litter box duties is that the oocysts are shed in the feces of the cat. The oocysts take 1-3 days before becoming infective once they are shed so you will greatly reduce your risk if the litter box is scooped on a regular basis. Another family member can handle the duties. If you must be the one to clean the litter, scoop twice a day, wear disposable gloves and then thoroughly wash your hands EVERY TIME.
You are also at risk of getting toxoplasmosis if you do outdoor gardening. Wear gardening gloves and wash your hands immediately afterward.
If you have questions on toxomplasmosis, talk to your doctor about all the precautions you need to take but there’s no reason to get rid of your cat. Common sense and good hygiene are what needed here.
Playtime is Valuable
Your cat needs to have his normal playtime schedule. Engage in at least one (and hopefully two) interactive play sessions a day. Do play sessions while the cat is in the presence of the baby to help form a positive association. Solo playtime is also important so your cat can have something fun to do while you’re feeding or interacting with the baby. Make the solo playtime fun – don’t depend on the basket of toys sitting in the corner. Those are boring! Place a fuzzy mouse in an empty tissue box or put a toy in a paper bag. Incorporate the use of puzzle feeders. They’re a great way to entertain your cat while you’re busy with the baby.
Many new mothers are worried about whether the cat will jump in the crib. In reality, NOTHING should be in your child’s crib – not a blanket or stuffed toy. So if you’re concerned about the cat, invest in a crib tent. In most cases though, once your cat hears how loud a baby can cry when hungry or wet, he won’t want to be sleeping that close.
If you’ve set up the crib in advance of baby’s arrival and find the cat hanging out in there, got ahead and set up the crib tent now. You can also fill the crib with empty soda cans and bottles. That way, the cat won’t feel so comfortable in there and hopefully he’ll be trained to avoid the crib well in-advance of baby arriving home.
Be Calm When Cat Meets Baby
Your cat is very sensitive and easily picks up on your stress. If you’re tense, he’ll know it and won’t understand why. Be calm around your cat and use a soothing tone of voice.
You can find more information on cat behavior and training in the articles on our website as well as in Pam’s best-selling books. If you have a question regarding your cat’s behavior or health, please contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a replacement for your cat’s veterinary care. This article is for information purposes only and not offering medical advice or providing a medical diagnosis.