If you get pregnant, it is not necessary to get rid of your cat. A few common-sense measures will ensure that you, your baby and your cat come through your pregnancy with no problems.
There cannot be a pregnant mum anywhere who has not been warned about the dangers of toxoplasmosis by some well-meaning family member or friend. This virus can cause some quite severe congenital disabilities in children, and it is a common misconception that you can only get it from a cat’s litter tray.
The toxoplasmosis virus lives in contaminated soil and is transferred from the ground to an animal host. So, while it is entirely possible to get it from the litter tray, it is more likely that you will contract it from raw meat or by digging in the garden.
During pregnancy, take special care when cleaning the litter tray. Wear disposable gloves and wash your hands immediately after cleaning the tray. Raw meat is the most common way that humans contract toxoplasmosis, so when handling raw meat, ensure that all utensils and the chopping board are well washed after use. Do not use the same board for preparing meat and cutting up vegetables.
Also, when digging in the garden, make sure you wear gloves and again wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
Most humans have a natural immunity to toxoplasmosis, and according to the Centers for Disease Control, over 60 million people in the United States carry the toxoplasma parasite but are not ill due to their immune system preventing the parasite from causing illness.
Think about how your cat views the arrival of a baby: It is a noisy, attention-grabbing nuisance, so spend a little time preparing everyone in the family for the new arrival and avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Take some time to acclimatize the cat to the new smells that will be around the house. Rub a little of the lotions and powder that you will be using and allow the cat to sniff you. This will ensure that the animal is used to the new smells, and if you give them a small treat when wearing the lotion, it will enforce the feeling that these smells mean something good.
If you have a friend with a baby, invite them over for tea so that the cat gets used to hearing the noises that a baby makes. Crying or gurgling sounds will be new, and again, a small treat will ensure that the sounds are not seen as dangerous.
Don’t shut the cat out of the nursery. Allow it to examine every corner of this new room so that its natural curiosity is satisfied. Pay particular attention to the crib and make it as uninviting to a cat as possible. Put empty soda cans in the crib to discourage the animal from thinking it is an excellent place to sleep. If this doesn’t work, buy a crib net to keep the cat out.
Keep treating your cat as a valued family member. Soon enough, the entire family will settle into a predictable routine for all.