Are you planning a baby (or has one already arrived), and you wonder how to keep your cat out of the crib? It definitely is a matter to which to pay attention, because, as much as we do love cats, we agree: your baby’s crib is a no-go place for your cat.
It’s not that your cat can steal your baby’s breath (no superstitious cat myths here!) and it’s unlikely that your cat will deliberately attack a baby.
But your cat does not need to be mean to scratch, pinch, cause discomfort or simply to wake a baby up, one whom you finally managed to lull to sleep.
In this article, we are going to explain how to keep your cat out of the baby’s crib, how to ensure your baby’s safety, and, equally important, how to keep your cat less stressed because of these restrictions.
1. Do you keep your cat out of just the crib or the baby’s whole room?
So how do you want it? Do you want to keep your cat out of your baby’s room completely or should you be worried about only the crib?
It might depend on your cat’s personality and, of course, how fond you are of your cat. We suggest letting the cat inside the room but maintaining a healthy distance from the crib.
First, it’s easier, and second, it creates less stress for your cat. Third, in your cat’s view the baby will be a lesser inconvenience in his life, which is good for their relationship.
If you think your baby’s room must be completely forbidden to your cat, you should read our article on how to keep a cat out of the room. Otherwise, this article contains everything you need.
2. Add some cat furniture to the baby’s room
A huge part of why cats want to get inside the crib is their curiosity. They want to sniff, or at least to see what’s inside, and, as a rule of thumb, cats want to climb. It makes them feel safe, comfortable and helps to satisfy their curiosity.
A cat tree or a bed on a window sill would be great. Just place them more than a leap’s length away from the crib. This establishes a baseline for the scenario, in which a cat safely sleeps on a cat tree and does not show an interest in getting inside the crib.
If you are interested, see this article for tips on making your house appealing to your cat, because it really makes a difference. Your cat will be less interested in the crib, and these tips will also reduce other potential cat behavioral problems commonly associated with the arrival of a baby.
3. Place an ultrasonic cat deterrent next to the crib, to keep the cat out of it
Now you are ready to actively keep your cat away from the crib. The easiest and the most effective method is to use an ultrasonic sound-emitting pet deterrent, like this one.
It’s a motion-activated device, which emits an ultrasonic sound every time it detects movement. The thing is, this sound is disliked by most cats, but is not audible to you or your baby. As soon as your cat approaches it, the sound will go off, and your cat will stop in its tracks and go away.
Watch this video to see how it works:
We have tested several cat deterrents, and the most effective ones are those that release a burst of air upon detecting movement. Unfortunately, they are impractical when keeping cats away from a baby’s crib, simply because they are loud.
The next best choice for your circumstances is an ultrasonic sound emitter. It’s advantage is in its consistency. The sound is released every time the cat approaches, no exceptions, therefore a cat sees absolutely no point continuing to trying coming close to the crib. You can buy buy an ultrasonic cat deterrent here.
Other sources may suggest you spray water from abottle over your cat, however, we find several problems with this approach. First, it requires your presence; second, it requires consistency to be effective; third, your cat will make the connection that water is squirted on him only when you are in the room; and fourth, your baby won’t like being squirted either.
If you have some time before the baby arrives, you should start training your cat right away. Get a crib (if you haven’t already), put its assigned spot, and put the motion-activated pet deterrent right next to it. This way you will, first, have an opportunity to observe how the whole scheme goes in advance, and second, your cat’s new limitations will not be linked to the arrival of the baby, which will make their mutual relationship better.
In summary, motion-activated pet deterrents are a wise choice, as they provide consistency, they work independently of you, and your cat will learn the necessary behavior with less frustration than with other methods. He will just avoid the area, because every time he approaches, the sound goes off.
4. Use a crib tent to keep your cat out of the crib
An alternative, or better, an additional way to keep a cat out of a crib is to use a physical barrier. While cats do respond well to training, in this case it is much safer to rely on something sturdy.
This is where a crib tent becomes useful. They can usually be bought at baby stores, as well as online.
You place it over the crib, which allows your baby to sleep or play in safety, still providing air circulation, but will help to keep your cat out of the crib.
Of course, you still must not leave your baby unsupervised, but, as you hopefully know, that must not be done regardless of whether you have a cat, or not.
IMPORTANT: As your baby grows older and starts to move around, it’s safer to remove the net. But that is not a problem: by the time that happens, you won’t need it anymore.
5. Use a baby monitor when your baby is sleeping
Regardless of whether or not you have a cat, using a baby monitor instead of peeking through a keyhole is a sound decision. It provides peace of mind for you, your baby will be able to sleep undisturbed, and you will still be able to know that everything’s alright.
If possible, get a baby monitor with video. As the parents of two kids, we assert that having a complete picture gives us an invaluable advantage and peace of mind. Humans, as they say, are more trusting of what is seen, rather than what is just heard. Lower your stress levels and lose the need to double- and triple-check to make sure the device is actually working.
In the mean time, your cat may be either outside the closed door or napping on his own cat tree inside the room, but at a safe distance from the crib. The latter is cute and safe, as long as you have the monitor. And, while you think they’re both just sleeping, in cat terms, napping together is bonding.
6. Keep your cat active during the day
Okay, keep your attention here for just one minute more. We know, parents of babies are very short on time, and playing with a cat is way down the list of priorities.
In such circumstances, directing you to play with your cat more than you have been is like training a bird not to fly—a thing that is done only by college professors who are far away from real life.
But playing is fricking important to your cat’s sanity and good behavior. Click here to learn why.
What we want from you is that you be aware that you should, at least, try to find some time for your cat even in your very tight schedule. Treat it like any other task, like washing clothes or preparing food, for which you must find time no matter what.
Involve other family members as much as possible, use a carrier or a sling to carry your baby so you have your hands free to wash dishes (or better yet, get a dishwasher!) and learn to optimize your day without wasting time on unimportant tasks, such as checking Facebook.
In these ways, you might even find time to play with your cat for at least few minutes a day. You can find more tips about playing with your cat when short on time here. Solo play toys and electronic toys could be your best friends, too.
If you keep all that in mind, we’re sure you’ll be able not only to keep your cat out of your baby’s crib, but will ensure the quality of his life does not suffer as a result of the arrival of the baby. It’s important for everyone—you, your baby and your cat.