January 2016 Moms

Family/Friends with too many pets?

Hi all. Just a little concerned here about too many pets.  We have cat lovers on both sides of our family with a dog and ferret mixed in the bunch. With my mother I just never take LO over very much because it's just not the cleanest. But recently, circumstances made us have my SiL watch baby girl for a few hours a few days each week to continue indefinitely. She has less cats than my mother; however, there's a lot more mess (fur, dander, uncleaned litterboxes) since there's less cleanup, and the smell is terrible. Like straight ammonia. Unless I take an antihistamine before hand, just 20 minutes in there gives me hours of allergy suffering. Aside from the cleanliness  (that is to be discussed), what are your opinions? Any one with similar relatives? And how do you handle the situation? I've heard differing things about animal allergens with babies. Do you think it's very harmful for her to be there? 

Re: Family/Friends with too many pets?

  • I think the cleanliness is the only issue. Animals are great and kids love them. My LO can't get enough of our cats or my sister's dogs. Unless your LO is showing actual signs of having allergies, I wouldn't worry about the presence of several animals.
  • I've always heard that kids exposed to animals have fewer allergies, but it does sound like the cleanliness is an issue
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  • I agree with pp. I have 2 dogs and my mom who watches LO 2-3 days a week has 2 dogs and a cat. Aside from the cleaning issue, I think it's great for kids to be around animals. She's so sweet to our dogs and it teaches her to do "nice".  
  • We have a family member that has 5 cats. It's the house we always gather at. And I've never had any issues beyond my personal, and outrageous, allergies. My kids have never had a problem either. As already mentioned, the cleanliness is a problem. If you're concerned about the cats themselves, is there any way they could be locked up for the couple hours your LO is there? Like in a basement or different room? 
  • My MIL has 6 cats and 2 dogs and she watches my older son for 3 hours a week. She is also a bit of a germaphobe and a neat freak, so unless you see them, you would hardly know the cats are there. All of her pets are fantastic with my sons, my oldests has straight up laid on top of one of the cats and all she did was meow. My SIL has one dog and that creature isn't allowed near my children for any reason. It really depends on the animals and the owner. 

    The biggest issue I can see with your situation is the cleanliness. Ammonia is not good for anyone to breathe, but babies, the elderly, and people with compromised breathing are particularly susceptible to serious breathing issues caused by the ammonia. I would not let my children stay in a house that smells that strongly, but I can be paranoid about my children's health. Discuss it with your doctor?
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  • My sister has 3 dogs and 3 cats. 
    I am nervous when I bring LO over there because since he's crawling all 3 dogs jump to the floor and get in his face. My sisters house is super clean though and the 3 cats are in a different part of the house when we go to that side I don't put him on the ground since I'm affairs LO will put the litter in his mouth. 

    But, if you aren't comfortable with the smells maybe you can't lightly drop the hint that her house smells strange. She might be nose-blind. 
  • @carlyhammond has a good point. I had a cat that was sick and used to pee in the basement and I got used to the smell, but other people noticed it instantly when they came over. It's possible she isn't even aware.
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