View Full Version : Cats and new baby...

10-30-2002, 05:07 PM
We want to prepare our nursery ahead of time, but our concern right now is our two cats. We want to keep the cats out of the baby's room and are wondering how others deal with this issue.

I've read some posts about people taking down the normal door and installing a wooden screen door in place of it. I've seen some pictures online and they can actually look pretty nice (like a french door only with screen instead of glass). I was also thinking that for an added feature, we could install a curtain or matchstick blind at the top of the door, that could drop down and cover the entire screen if it was ever necessary to provide a bit more protection between the baby's room and the hall (e.g. may muffle noise or prevent too much light streaming in).

Does anyone who's done the screen door have feedback? Anyone else have other ideas? We've decided the tent won't work for us because the crib we bought is a sleigh and won't work with the tent, and also we're wanting the cats to stay out of the nursery almost completely anyway, and not just the crib.

Thanks for the ideas/feedback :)

10-30-2002, 05:47 PM

We installed a Kidco Safeway Gate on the door frame in front of the regular door. We chose this model because there is no bar on the bottom for people to trip over. It was pretty easy to install, it comes with all the necessary parts as well as a template to make sure you put the holes in the right place.

I had concerns that it might not look great, but it actually looks pretty nice. I think it looks better that a screen door would.

I was also concerned that our cats might jump over it, but since there is no place on top for them to land they have never even attempted (and our cats can jump on some pretty high counters!). It is also too narrow for them to walk through.

When it is no longer needed, we can move it to anywhere else in the house and easily spackle the door frame (much easier to repair than a wall).


10-30-2002, 07:16 PM
I recommend a spray bottle of water, some cardboard and a roll of packing tape.

If you spray the cats a few times with the water bottle as they enter the room, they'll quickly get the message that they're not welcome. Leave the spray bottle near the doorway to reinforce the message.

Secondly, take a piece of tape and make a loop with the sticky side out. Stick one side of the loop to the cardboard, and put the cardboard in the doorway, tape side up. All it will take is one or two experiences with dragging around a piece of cardboard to make your cat realize that s/he wants nothing to do with that part of the house. This method is also very effective to keep cats out of the crib, and off of counters, tables, and other horizontal surfaces.

Personally, I really enjoyed the company of the cats when I was nursing in the middle of the night. They sat on the leg rest and the chair arms, and their purring was very soothing. But I am quite liberal about baby/cat interaction, so a baby with cat hair on him just seems normal to me... :)

twins r fun
10-30-2002, 07:27 PM
Another great cat deterrent is a screaming baby! We have 3 cats, 2 of which are very friendly. One of the cats sleeps with us and I'm always waking up with her on my face or throat. We were really worried about the cats getting in the crib, but it was all for naught. As soon as the babies let out their first howl, the cats decided they really had no reason to interact with them. We also have a baby gate on our nursery door. It wasn't intended to keep the cats out, but it does keep 2 of them out-the other one can jump it.


10-30-2002, 07:33 PM
The issue with cats and a newborn is not the cat hair. It is actually beneficial for the baby to be exposed to cat hair because it will lessen the chance of future cat allergies.

The issue is with the cat sleeping on the baby and suffocating him/her because the child is too small to push the cat off. I know that our cats love to lie on my chest when I am laying on the couch, etc.

While I think that your solutions are great for training your cat to stay off counters, etc., I would not want to risk my baby's life on it working 100% of the time. A physical barrier that is used consistently is the only true assurance.

10-30-2002, 08:04 PM
I guess I realize that with two cats in the house (one very long-haired cat) that our baby will be exposed to LOTS of cat hair. My concern was I just didn't want the cats sleeping in the crib or on the changing table.

The other big concern I have is that one of our cats is a one year old siamese who beats up our older cat (no matter WHAT we do, it's VERY frustrating!) He's a really sweet cat in general, but he gets super jealous and picks on the older cat non-stop. I worry about him getting jealous and going after the baby because he's jealous.

Mom-to-be Mar 8, 2003!

10-30-2002, 08:56 PM
We have two cats. I have always kept the door to the nursery closed because I don't want the crib to get "furry". My cats love to jump in and sleep in it (when DD's not in it). If DD is in the crib sleeping, I have the monitor with me. It's never been an issue. Is there a reason you want the door to the nursery open?


10-30-2002, 09:06 PM
I was just more thinking that there would be better air-flow and we'd be able to see in if the door wasn't solid. Part of it's probably first time jitters, and wanting to make sure nothing bad happens. Maybe just closing the door is the better solution?

Mom-to-be Mar 8, 2003!

10-30-2002, 09:07 PM
We have three cats and they have all slept with us for years. But we moved this spring from our loft/barn style home to one with actual doors and just started closing them. We really wanted to discourage them from coming into the room once the baby was here. And they would land in the crib, no doubt. (Baby is still in our room.) I pulled out a stroller last night and after about three minutes one of them was snuggled up in it. Anyway, since we've kept the door shut, they really don't bother anymore, even when the door is open. Sometimes they sneak in, but usually I catch them in our bed, not the crib. I've heard that they really dislike the sensation of tape against their paws, but have never tried it.

10-30-2002, 11:52 PM
Baby things are really "cat sized" and they love sleeping in them. My cats loved sleeping in the PacknPlay (still do) and, when I used it, the bouncey seat. But the about the funniest thing I have EVER seen in my life was when one of the cats tried to jump into the swing. OH MY GOD, to have had a video camera going at the time, I would have SURELY won the $10,000 on America's Funniest Home videos!!! :)

10-31-2002, 11:21 AM
I think a lot of it depends on the personality of your cats. We have two cats, and I was very nervous at first, too. They sleep with us every night. The night we brought DS home, he was in a bassinnet next to the bed. We lined it with tin foil. Buddy tried to jump in once when he saw the bassinnet move. I freaked out, we kicked the cats out of the room, and that was the beginning of the worse night of my life. We shut the door, and all night long, the two cats were crying to come back in. The crib tent wouldn't fit over the bassinnet, so the next night, we put laundry baskets over DS!!! After about a week of this, I realized that the cats didn't want much to do with him. When he cries, they leave the room. After time, Pumpkin does approach him and sniff him (if I'm around to protect her), but Buddy is too skittish.

They have since never tried to get in the crib, changing table, stroller, swing, or anything else. Now that DS is crawling and getting into their food bowls we have other things to deal with. The cats have been great though; they even let DS share their toys.

In sum, do what you think you have to do. But we've done pretty much nothing. Our cats are not declawed, and my mom thinks I'm nuts, but we're all doing just fine. :)

10-31-2002, 12:09 PM
Yeah, how do you deal with food dishes? DS is only 4 months, so we have a few more months (we hope...he's enough of a handful now!) before he's crawling. We don't really have a separate room where we can put their dishes and we just have food in them all day long; they aren't fed at certain times. I guess we could try that, but I think there will be a whole lotta noise coming out of them.

10-31-2002, 12:11 PM
We have four cats, and they all sleep on the bed. DS slept in a co-sleeper for his first four months, and I never found a cat in it, with or without the baby after the most curious of the males jumped in and experienced the dreaded tape-and-paper trap.

I was downstairs, heard a yowl and a thump, and looked up to see the cat tearing down the stairs with several sheet of paper stuck to him. He hit the wall on the landing, shook loose of all but one sheet of paper, and then tore down the rest of the stairs, ridding himself of the final piece of paper by shooting through the cat door. It took a month for him to even sleep on my/DS's side of the bed, and he never went near the CS again.

twins r fun
10-31-2002, 12:59 PM
Thanks for the laugh! I can just picture a frantic cat trying to get paper off him!


10-31-2002, 01:16 PM
It depends on your style, but we put the cats food and water dishes on the counter. If you have a spare bathroom, could you put the cats dishes on the counter in the bathroom.

The real problem is the dog. To be honest, she (the dog, not Sarah) goes without water while Sarah is up. I put the water dish down (the dog and cats share a water dish) when Sarah is asleep. And the dog has free access to water at night while she sleeps in our bedroom (the dog, not Sarah, very confusing!).

11-17-2002, 11:04 PM
I have two rescue kitties (never thought I'd have a cat and now I wouldn't take a billion dollars for either:))...I say this just becasue you would assume I am educated about cats, and I know nothing about them...I have so many questions to ask a "cat person" one day...

But we did put a small cat door up on a door that leads to a little crawl space off of our bonus room (a room above the garage), this couls also work in a small closet (that didn't house clothes or something that woud absorb odor). In there we have their litter box2, food x2 and water, they also have two "bankies" if they want a break from all of us. This is the best thing. Cost hardly anything, dogs nor baby will beable to get into food or litter, and smells are not an issue.

I have not worried about them in the nursery, they both wander in it when we are decorating and stuff...they love it, but I have not feared any of that, or feared it with my dogs either (3 retrievers)...

11-22-2002, 11:18 PM
Your screen door sounds like a good idea. I've also heard of people installing "Dutch" doors, where the top and bottom can be opened and closed separately. When the baby's sleeping, you could close the bottom, and just crack the top slightly so you can see and hear what's going on in the room. Maybe you could even do a sort of screened "Dutch" door, where the top is a screen and not solid. That would keep your cat out, unless it knows how to open doors!

We have two Siamese cats, a brother and sister from the same litter. I was somewhat concerned about them jumping into the crib while DS slept, so we bought one of those tents and used it until he was a year old. We never had to worry, though. One look at the squalling little bundle we brought home from the hospital was enough to keep both of them away - for two and a half years and counting! They still stay at least a foot away from him, but do "hang out" in DS's room while he's playing. Once or twice our male jumped into the crib, more out of curiousity than anything else, but DS wasn't in it either time. Our sweet female became "babysitter" kitty, sitting next to the bassinet, the crib, and now the bed as DS sleeps - wonderfully maternal! The male, on the other hand, is still slightly jealous of DS. He finally extended diplomatic relations to DS only just a year ago or so!

Even though DH and I are slightly allergic to cats, we've seemed to develop immunity to ours. DS shows no signs yet. I didn't want to keep the cats out of the nursery just for that reason; I wanted DS to develop resistance. I suppose it would be an issue if the cats were sleeping on his bed or something, but that just hasn't happened. I guess the best thing to do is to just wait and see what happens. If we had had any problems, we were prepared to install the double door in DS's room, but it just hasn't been necessary. Good luck!

11-24-2002, 01:18 PM
I have a screen door on our baby's room. I got the idea from my brother who did the same thing. We had 3 now 2 cats. We put the screen on when my DS was born 2 years ago. I didn't want to have to close the solid door and A. have the room get too warm, or cold, and B. I wanted to be able to check on him w/out opening and closing the door all the time. I was more concerned about the cat laying on him as well as getting hair all over the place. DD is now 5 weeks old, we hardly ever close the screen now, since they couldn't care less about this baby. It looks fine, its just a regular screen and my husband took a wooden alphabet block and screwed it on for the handle, which matches the bedrooms alphabet walpaper and border. The door has a wooden frame all the way around and a bar in the middle. If I'd had the energy, I could have stained it to match the woodwork. But I'm just not that concerned about the aesthetics of the door as it's functionality. It does come in handy keeping the cats out when they keep getting into the diaper packages. My cats will eat anything! I honestly recommend that if you're concerned about your cats, and being the curious creatures that they are, you probably should be concerned. Cats don't intend to hurt babies, but anything soft and warm invites them to curl up on/next to. My 2 year old has pretty much cured our cats of going near the kids.

12-28-2002, 11:04 PM
I just wanted to mention for those people who have the option, the mesh tent has been great for us. We have two nosey but adorable cats, and when we were setting up Alex's nursery, we bought two mesh tents - one for the Pack n Play, and one for the crib. Alex slept next to us on our bedroom in the PnP bassinett for the first two and 1/2 months, and has been sleeping in his crib since then.

The mesh tents attach to the crib with velcro closures, and we got one with plastic "c" clips for the PnP. The tent has a zipper front that can be put down when you place the baby in the crib, and zipped up afterwards.

Our cats naturally had to test the tent out, and both of them jumped on it when we first installed it. The tent didn't flinch, and we have two enormous Norwegian Forest Cats, the largest of which weighs over 20 lbs.

We got our tents at BRU. The nicest thing about them is that when the baby's ready to deal wtih the cats mano-a-mano, the tent takes about two minutes to remove from the crib and you can use it as a play tent at the park or beach!

and Alex, 4/07/02

02-08-2003, 03:07 PM
We installed a $19 wooden screen door -- but left the regular door on the nursery as well. So we leave the regular door open a crack at night so we can see it, but the screen door keeps the cats out. Not that they really want in ... they have not ever tried to get into the crib or shown that much interest in baby yet! In fact she kind of startles them. :-) I painted the screen door white and then added some decorative designs so it matches the nursery decor. It's worked very well. I imagine it might be helpful once baby starts crawling/walking to keep her inside her room (as a safety gate), too.

Oh, we had bought a crib tent but then discovered that it ties down onto the crib, so what a pain that would be when you change sheets! So we never used it.

But we haven't solved the food dishes & litter box problem yet, as she isn't moving around yet.

Mom to Laura 09/14/02

07-03-2003, 05:37 PM
I don't know how the original poster feels about it, but putting cats' dishes on the counter wouldn't work for me...not after spending the last 2 years teaching the cats NOT to eat things on counters and tables. That would confuse the hell out of them. I'm still trying to figure out what I'll do when two-legged baby joins the 4-legged "babies."

"Literature is mostly about having sex and not about having babies. Real life is the other way around." -- David Lodge

07-13-2003, 10:49 AM
We installed a $19 wooden screen door in addition to the regular door -- based on the idea we got from this list. It's worked great (dd is 10 months, still works great). We painted the wooden door to look really cute. We leave the regular door slightly ajar at night and latch the wooden door, so we can peek in. But actually our cats have shown very little interest in the nursery -- never tried to jump into the crib even before DD was born. (And now that she's moving, they keep their distance! but have been surprisingly well-behaved and patient with her.)

As for other cat issues -- pet dishes and litter boxes -- we're still stumped, but as DD has just started crawling, we have to deal with that soon!