Categories: baby

Why do cats sleep with babies?

Why do cats sleep with babies? Well, cats don’t sleep with babies any more than they sleep with adult humans. In fact, they probably sleep less with babies than they do with adults because some parents are worried about it.

Cat Wants To Snuggle Up To Baby


The question, therefore, is why do cats sleep with their human companions and the answer is straightforward as we all know. They simply want the company, our smells, our warmth and contact with us all of which make their life more reassuring. There’s no fancy or clever reason behind this behaviour. Cats make friends with babies as they do with adult humans. That’s interesting because it means that cats don’t need our input to become friends but simply our presence.

Domestic cats like contact with their human companions and with cats with whom their friendly. You only have to see cats reaching out with their paw to touch the paw of another cat or your hand to realise this.

I don’t know whether babies smell more of human than adults do but we often see domestic cats sniffing at babies. I suspect that domestic cats love the smell of babies as humans do. For a domestic cat, the world revolves around their olfactory senses.

There are some old wives tales about cats sucking the breath from babies which have been conclusively debunked thankfully. And not long ago there was a lot of discussion about allergies acquired by babies because the family cat slept with them. Without direct reference to that research, I can recall that it was found that a baby benefits from sleeping with the family cat because it helps immunise the baby against possible allergens in the future. It makes the baby more robust, let’s put it that way.

Another reason why pictures of babies with cats are less often seen than with adults is because occasionally pregnant women relinquish the family cat to a shelter because they think the animal will endanger their baby, yet to be born. This is to do with that dreaded subject of toxoplasmosis and the possible transmission of the toxoplasma gondii protozoan to a baby because the mother has handled her cat’s faeces and picked up the oocysts on her hands and then ingested the oocysts. If this rare possibility happens it could hurt the baby in the womb.

The overall consensus by experts and by everybody who knows about domestic cats is that women should not get rid of their cat because they are pregnant. They should simply take precautions when dealing with the cat litter. It’s as simple as that.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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