Dear Max,

After we moved you several times, tried to introduce a dog and successfully introduced a kitten, we decided to have a baby.

I remember when I was pregnant, someone asked when we were getting rid of our cats.

“Umm, never.”

Her first concern was the litter box. She worried about ‘that infection’ I could get from your litter box. There is a parasite that can cause an infection called Toxoplasmosis in cats and humans. A cat with an active infection will shed it in their stool. If a woman is infected for the first time when she is pregnant, the infection can cause birth defects in the baby.

I talked to my midwife and we did a blood test which indicated I had already been exposed to the Toxoplasmosis organism. Therefore, the risk of getting a new infection that could affect an unborn child was very low. My husband agreed to look after litter box duties every day, so the risk of injury to our unborn child from the litter box was close to zero.

After getting sound medical advice, there was no need to banish or rehome our two cats because of this. If you have questions about this, talk to your medical professional.

Next, she worried that ‘cats can steal a baby’s breath’.

This one was an ‘old wives’ tale’, pure and simple. Cats are curious. Cats like warm places. Cats could be attracted to the smell of milk. Unattended cats left to their own devices might sneak into a baby’s crib and snuggle up to the infant, but there is not any malice in their actions.

We lived in a one bedroom apartment, so we just closed the door and kept you out of the bedroom when the baby was sleeping. Fortunately for us, our new little bundle of joy was also very noisy and you did not show much interest in spending time with her unless she was on my lap. You liked to rest in the crib only when the crib was empty.

I don’t know if the concerned party was ever comfortable with our decision to keep you, but that didn’t matter to me. We made a commitment to you and Dennis. A growing family was no reason to break that commitment.

What did I learn from living with you and baby?

  • A cat will try to make room on a lap that is housing a ten pound infant.
  • Change tables make perfect cat beds.
  • Get the correct information about your health from your doctor, not well-meaning folks who offer unsolicited advice.