Co-sleeping (with cats?) — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

Co-sleeping (with cats?)

I already have 2 fur babies that I apparently attachment parent already, because they sleep in the bed with us.
I love the idea of co-sleeping with a newborn, and I really don't want to kick the cats out (I realize some might not understand this, but it's important to me).
On the other hand, my baby comes first. I'd heard that cats smothering babies is more like old wive's tale than reality, but I still want to be on the safe side. Anyone have ideas/experience with this? I've looked into crib cat-nets which keep cats out, and I've thought of using a bedside crib. Could this work?

Re: Co-sleeping (with cats?)

  • Your cats may react to baby differently from mine (we have 2), but our very snugly loving cats who slept on our chests every night wanted nothing to do with our bed after DS arrived. They didn't want to be near him for the longest time, but just got attention from DH at his computer or from me while I was on the couch. But share a bed with DS? No way!

    Only recently (DS is nearly 2) has one of them warmed up to him enough to let him pet him. We've coslept since DS was born with no trouble at all.

    If you would like to cosleep, I'd see how the cats react to baby before buying any fancy contraptions. If they want to snuggle him like you do, you may need to make some changes. Chances are, though, that they'll find somewhere else to sleep (maybe even at daddy's feet, safely away from LO).
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  • Our cats have decided they are going to be ds2's guard cats.  I would find the orange tabby in the crib without ds and if I put him in there she would move to his feet or the furthest corner from him and when she got tired of him kicking her she'd move away or she'd jump out.  If I was rocking him, she'd lay across the back of the rocking chair by my shoulders.  If I put him in the high chair (even before he started solids) she'd lay across the tray.  The grey tabby would curl up under the high chair.  Now that I have his crib next to our bed instead of the bassinet, the grey tabby has taken over guard duty: he sits on my nightstand near the crib or at my feet. The only time I have seen him in the crib is when he saw something outside the window on the other side of the crib.  Before I moved the crib, whenever I would take ds2 into "his" room, the grey tabby would have to come in with us and give the room an inspection and then he would lay down in the doorway.

    Lately, at night we've been locking the cats in ds1's room with him for reasons not related to how well they get along with ds2.

    The cats have licked ds2's hair a few times, but they have never scratched or done anything else that could harm him.

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  • Our cats sleep with us and we co-slept (although did not bedshare) for the first 6 months. I kept the cats out of the room. They adjusted and, now that we've transitioned LO to her room, the cats are back in.

    I don't know, I adore our cats, but the bottom line to me was that I don't trust them 100%. Why? Because they're cats. I'm not in their head, I can't tell them what to do, and I know I couldn't live with myself if something bad happened. I hated keeping them out, but they adjusted and found other places to sleep - I did make our guest bed available to them and it has a very comfy down duvet that they ended up sleeping together on.

    They don't seem to hold it against us that they were kept out for 6 months. :-) I probably wouldn't be okay co-sleeping with cats in teh room until closer to a year old. But that's just me. I tend to be a worry-wort. :-)

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  • My dogs often slept snuggled up with me before I had kids.  After kids, they started sleeping at the foot of the bed.  Do I recommend it - no because it is "risky."  However, I personally feel comfortable with it knowing how I sleep and knowing my dogs. Of course cats are a whole 'nother beast ;)
  • neverblushedneverblushed
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    edited October 2013
    Emerald27 said:
    Your cats may react to baby differently from mine (we have 2), but our very snugly loving cats who slept on our chests every night wanted nothing to do with our bed after DS arrived. They didn't want to be near him for the longest time, but just got attention from DH at his computer or from me while I was on the couch. 
    My experience was similar to this.  I didn't co-sleep, but I did nurse in bed a lot, and I always had a twin bed in the baby's bedroom where I could lie down and nurse.  

    Our cats sleep not just WITH us but ON us every night.  The exception to this was when we brought our babies home from the hospital.  The cats were actually frightened of the babies and kept away from the bedrooms for several months.

    ETA: Once our kids were older, the cats became very comfortable with them.  Our big cat is the same age as my DS, and he sort of regards DS as a littermate.  He often slept in DS's crib during the day (when DS wasn't in there.)  Nothing has changed as they've grown older, really.  As soon as DS gets on the bus, the cat curls up at the foot of his bed.  The only room in the house this cat has never peed in is DS's room!
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  • My dog sleeps in bed with me and LO. The rules are she can sleep on the side of me opposite the baby. If she tries to curl up on the same side she gets kicked off and has to sleep on the dog bed. Although she has never been a defensive sleeper I don't want to take the chance if he kicks her while she is sleeping. Overall I would say you can do it but know your cat and use caution.
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  • I have a Great Dane who used to sleep with us (!!!!!). So obviously she has been sent to her bed on the floor. She is content either way and sometimes if I take a nap without James, I'll let her up if I'm going to wash the sheets that day. Something about my son sleepy on doggy sheets creeps me out but I'm a tad OCD about bedsharing. I must wash my hands, face, and brush my teeth and get into clean pajamas before I'll get in bed with James. Is that weird ? :/
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  • We have a Great Dane, a pitbull and three cats. She we first got home, I kept baby in the "nest" of the pack n play. He was not comfortable there, and I moved him to the rock n play. By this time, I trusted my dogs around him. W cosleep, and two of the cats sleep next to him and our pit sleeps between my husband and me. The Dane much prefers the full size bed I our guest room! I was so, so worried about the animals and sleep, and hadn't even thought about cosleeping. The worst thing that's happened is our really sensitive cat likes to pee on new baby things and under the kitchen table :(. Know your animals, be cautious and then decide if you can trust them.
    Coconuthead
  • DD is almost 9 months, and I still watch our cat, Oscar, when he is around her when she is sleeping.  He is an awesome cat, but he can be very social and cuddly - and thus loves to curl himself around DD's head and use his claws to "knead" her.  We are bedsharing, so I'm aware when he is around and make sure he keeps a safe distance, but I think if DD had liked sleeping in the crib as a younger infant, I would have had to lock him out of the house or use some sort of net to keep him away from her - I really saw the potential for him to block her airways with fur!

    We have a pit/shepherd mix and a mini doxie.  They are wonderful dogs, and the big guy even volunteered with children.  That being said, I will never fully trust them around DD until she is older and can fend for herself.  The best dog in the world can sometimes react strangely or over-react to a child, and I just don't want to take that chance.  This doesn't mean they are locked out.  The dogs generally sleep in the room with (sometimes on the bed) and are an important part of the family.  But I will never, ever leave DD alone with them.
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    Coconuthead
  • DD is almost 9 months, and I still watch our cat, Oscar, when he is around her when she is sleeping.  He is an awesome cat, but he can be very social and cuddly - and thus loves to curl himself around DD's head and use his claws to "knead" her.  We are bedsharing, so I'm aware when he is around and make sure he keeps a safe distance, but I think if DD had liked sleeping in the crib as a younger infant, I would have had to lock him out of the house or use some sort of net to keep him away from her - I really saw the potential for him to block her airways with fur!

    We have a pit/shepherd mix and a mini doxie.  They are wonderful dogs, and the big guy even volunteered with children.  That being said, I will never fully trust them around DD until she is older and can fend for herself.  The best dog in the world can sometimes react strangely or over-react to a child, and I just don't want to take that chance.  This doesn't mean they are locked out.  The dogs generally sleep in the room with (sometimes on the bed) and are an important part of the family.  But I will never, ever leave DD alone with them.
    I 100% agree with this, especially the bolded part. Our vet even said to us that she had seen way too many incidents with dogs that were gentle, loving family dogs.
    CoconutheadURMySunshine77
  • I've been bed sharing lately since LO is going through 4mo sleep regression (usually he'd be in his pnp in our room). We've got a 6lb dog that sleeps in bed, and continues to. She's usually down in the crook of my knee, and she's not terribly interested in the baby anyway.



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  • kakhmamakakhmama
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    edited October 2013
    We have two cats whom I love alot. One has slept with me every night for 5 years, the other occasionally sleeps at the foot of our bed.

    my faithful sleeper relented and took to the foot of the bed. I thought everything was fine. I laid my sleeping newborn on the bed towards the foot and went to the kitchen for a drink. I was startled by his blood curdling screams. Kitty had clawed his face twice while he was sound asleep.

    I have been working with her sharing spaces with my baby while petting her and reassuring her. I didn't realize I put baby in harms way by placing him near her "spot". Just be careful.

    eta...just wanted to add, since the incident she sleeps at the foot of the bed with DH, myself and baby. She will venture up to baby's feet for petting now and again, but we've had no incidents like that again.
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  • Until our two elder cats passed away they co slept and bedshared with us and the LO just fine. I did my research before hand and decided I play it by ear. It turned out fine.

    Our cats were 13 and 21 years old and died within a month of each other before DD turned 6 months old so my experience is limited besides being anecdotal.
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  • Great advice from all the previous posts.   If you are in the bed as well I would imagine it might be okay (depending on how your cat reacts to new baby) as you would notice wake if the cat was getting in your and babies space.

    We didn't bed share until my son turned 1 and it's just after he wakes up in the motn if he does.  Most of the time our cat is also at the foot of our large bed.  However, we close our son's door at night and naps to be on the safe side and we don't leave the two of them alone.  Our cat is great, but our son is still learning how to treat him.  (LO been "batted" a couple of time when he tried to ride the cat.)

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  • My mom told me that when I was a newborn I almost died because my grandma's cat was sleeping on my face/chest and almost suffocated me. My husband and I have been wanting to adopt a cat, but I'm afraid to for that reason. I know most people have had positive experiences with their cats, but I can't justify risking it based on my experiences. Then again, we also bed share and kicked our dogs out of the bedroom too once lo came along.
  • amaseya said:

    My mom told me that when I was a newborn I almost died because my grandma's cat was sleeping on my face/chest and almost suffocated me. My husband and I have been wanting to adopt a cat, but I'm afraid to for that reason. I know most people have had positive experiences with their cats, but I can't justify risking it based on my experiences. Then again, we also bed share and kicked our dogs out of the bedroom too once lo came along.

    IMHO, if you bedshare or keep LO within arms reach, your baby will likely be pretty safe with a cat around, because you'll always be close enough to intervene. If you plan to have LO take naps alone, etc., just close the door with the cat outside the room. I don't think I would not adopt a cat because of that fear, but that is just me (super cat lover) and my experience with my cats wanting to be far from baby.

    I have heard that female cats are more likely to want to snuggle with baby than male cats, and my cats are both boys, but I think that is probably hocum. :P
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  • My cats had zero interest in being anywhere near my baby. He's almost 5 months now, and one cat sometimes lays by him when he's playing in the floor, but the other still ignores him. Biggest problem I've had is one cat trying to step on/over him to get to me. I think you will just have to see how your cats react.


  • Thanks for the replies, ladies! I guess I will have to see how my cats react. They're both super cuddly, but I'm reassured that sometimes cats want nothing to do with their "parents' " bed after baby arrives. Hoping that's the case! (Sorry, cats).
  • It probably depends on the cat, but I personally wouldn't risk them being in the room. Our dogs use to sleep in bed with us but we banished them from the room once our LO came. I would do the same if we had cats. I love animals and don't think my fur babies would ever harm my LO, but they are animals and can do things that are unpredictable or that they may think is okay but may actually harm a baby. I don't feel comfortable with my baby and dogs lying together if I can't monitor them.
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  • Thanks for all the helpful replies. We've decided to be on the safe side, co-sleeper with rails and a cat proof net. Although maybe will take the net off once baby is a bit older and can move it's head freely/grab cat fur. :)
    kristinyoung111
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