Can a cat cause you to have difficulty breathing?

Can a cat make you lose your breath

Image Credit:Tony Sava

No, cats can’t make you gasp for air.

Although the urban tale of cats suffocating babies has persisted for decades, it is extremely improbable to actually happen, especially on purpose.

There are few accounts of this happening, and the data and scientific support are quite weak. 

A cat won’t take a baby’s breath away because of the milky aroma or out of jealousy, despite the fact that doing so could cause an unintentional asphyxia.

As your family grows, there are several easy ways you can make sure your baby and your cat are safe.

Most importantly, it’s better to avoid leaving your child and cat alone together unattended.

The Idea That Cats Steal Breath First

For more than 300 years, there has been a myth that a cat will steal a baby’s breath as it sleeps.

It’s thought that the cat is either drawn to the milky scent of the infant’s breath or is envious of the owner because they are spending more time together as the baby gets older.

infants’ breath in

This prompts the cat to attempt to steal the baby’s breath, which finally kills the child. 

Cats have been associated with negativity and bad luck, leading to a widespread urban legend of cats suffocating babies. Despite few documented cases, a 1791 coroner’s report of a cat’s breath-sucking causing strangling led to an infant’s death. The concept continues due to false information, such as the case of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

It’s crucial to remember that the initial definition of SIDS wasn’t developed until 1969, and the National Institutes of Health only published an official definition in 1989. 

Over time, knowledge of SIDS has increased. A pediatric publication attributed sleep-related mortality to cats in the early 1900s.

Because the baby was apparently healthy, there was a cat in the house, and SIDS wasn’t yet identified, it can be presumed that many of the apparent cat-caused deaths were actually SIDS-related.  

Can a cat make you lose your breath 2

Image Credit:Linda Peall

Over the years, a few news stories have claimed that a cat suffocated a newborn, but none of them were proven true, and the cause of death was unknown.

It was considered a “theoretical possibility” in these cases that the cat was to blame for the death. 

In one instance, the infant was napping in a pram covered by a blanket, and the cat was lying on the blanket, perhaps oblivious to the baby resting underneath.

In this case, it’s possible that the cat killed the person unintentionally. 

Why Do Cats Enjoy Babies’ Breath?

According to legend, cats are drawn to the milky scent of a baby’s breath.

Because of the warmth and height of a baby crib, cats may also be drawn to it.

However, many cats appear to prefer to avoid young children.

It’s more likely that new parents will encounter difficulties in getting their cat to calm down with a new human.

Facts about cats killing babies

Four suspected occurrences of cats smothering infants have been reported since 1980; in three of these cases, the only piece of proof was that the cat was in the same room as the infant.

It’s vital to keep in mind that babies can have SIDS and that cats have occasionally been offered as an unsupported explanation for SIDS.

A mother claimed her six-week-old son passed away in 2000 as a result of the household cat lying on their faces. Later, pathologists determined that SIDS was the cause of death.

Rarely, one of these claims may actually involve a terrible pet accident, but most of the time, this is not the case. 

Are kittens safe for infants?

However, a cat may choose to snuggle up next to a sleeping child for warmth and, in very rare circumstances, may unintentionally suffocate the infant.

An infant of 10 months pet a black and white cat.

Fortunately, this can be prevented by taking a few easy safety measures.

You, your kid, and your cat can all be kept safe by taking the following precautions: 

1. Hand wash Regularly 

By consuming infected meat, cats can contract toxoplasmosis, and this parasite can then be excreted in their feces.

If taken up by pregnant women, this parasite can result in birth abnormalities in the unborn child.

This is why it’s advised to avoid feeding your cat raw meat and to wash your hands frequently. It’s also advised to wear gloves when gardening or cleaning the litter box. 

2. Make adjustments gradually

Moving furnishings carefully and allowing your cat enough time to adjust to the changes before the baby arrives will help your cat get ready for the new arrival. 

3. Modify Routines In The Months Prior To The Baby’s Birth

Change whatever habits you have in the one to two months before the baby is born, such as where you eat, where the litter box is, and so on. 

4. Don’t Let The Cat In The Nursery

Make sure your cat cannot access the baby’s crib or other sleeping areas when you first bring the baby home.

Give your cat one of the baby’s old blankets to smell and explore in a quiet area.

Pick a calm moment when you can all meet and greet one another without interruption when you introduce your cat and infant. 

When your baby is resting, always shut the door to the nursery and avoid leaving your cat and baby alone together.

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Image Credit:Jeny’s flickr

5. Recall to Practice Safety, Patience, and Hygiene 

Maintain good hygiene by keeping up with your cat’s routine vaccines, preventative medication, and veterinarian visits. To prevent your cat from touching them, always properly dispose of your baby’s dirty belongings.

Patience – Keep in mind that your cat is going through a significant transition and it could take some time for them to adjust to the newborn. Be patient and don’t get concerned if your cat initially avoids the baby as they get used to the changes.

Safety: Never leave your baby and cat alone together, and always make sure your cat has a calm, secure place they can go to if they need to be away from the baby. Your cat might require some time away from a baby or toddler’s commotion and possibly harsh or heavy-handed care.