Skip to content

Pets and babies



Newton, I hate to break it to you but this stroller is not for cat walks!

Newton, I hate to break it to you but this stroller is not for cat walks!

Anyone who has been pregnant or stood within three feet of a pregnant person know that people are full of “expert” advice. I happily listen to this advice, even when they are saying I’m dumb for planning natural childbirth or to cloth diaper, and always thank them saying “I’ll definitely take that into consideration.” Before I’m two steps away their “advice” has been deleted from my file of “helpful parenting tips.”

I just don’t have space in my brain for people’s skepticism about my choices on birth and parenting. Sure, I might be 12 hours into labor and change my mind – GET A FUCKING LINE OF DRUGS INTO MY SPINE NOWWWWWW. There is a chance I might get tired of having infant fecal matter in my washing machine and decide to screw my crunchy lifestyle and bring on the disposables. I would not be at all surprised if two weeks into parenting I realize that things I had been labeling as ridiculous gimmicks, like wipes warmers and plastic electronic toys, become an absolute necessity.

I’m ok with being “wrong” and admitting others were “right.” I can handle all these “tips” and “pointers” from people, really I can. I truly appreciate a lot of them, too, as many are genuinely helpful. There is one comment, however, that makes my blood boil.

“So,what are you going to do with your cats? You can’t have cats and babies.”

OMG. You guys. I’m not getting rid of my cats. Thirty-two years ago I came home from the hospital to a house with a bird, an old dog and a spunky young cat. And you know what happened to me having grown up with pets? Um, nothing.

Well, that might be a slight lie. I did grow up to have a respect for all living creatures. I did spend several years fighting like mad for community low-cost for spay/neuter programs. I did grow up to be the person who will stop traffic and save a turtle that is crossing the road. I did grow up to be the person who will sit near a terribly wounded endangered hawk for THREE hours to keep stupid college students from poking it while we wait for a wildlife rescue team.

Growing up with animals in our daily life had a profound impact on both my brother and I.

My child will grow up in a house with pets.

Will there be challenges such as keeping the cats from nesting in the  kids’ stroller? Probably. This just means we’ll need to buy jumbo packs of lint rollers so we can remove cat fur before putting a tiny baby in it. We do that anyways before adults sit on our couches. Will we need to keep the cats out of the nursery? Goodness, yes! We already keep all four out of the Professor’s Math Lair Office. Will we have the occasional teary toddler because he or she tried testing the limits with a kitty? Yep. And will our toddler live to tell about it? Yep.

True Story: Many years ago my brother came running to my mom sobbing over a scratch on his forehead. “Mommy! Boo Cat scratched my head!!!!” My mom smiled and asked how on earth did Boo Cat get all the way up to scratch his head? Hermano sniffled and snotted and responded that he was trying to wear the cat as a hat. Lesson learned: Cats are not fashion accessories. To my knowledge, Hermano has never tried to wear a cat as a hat again. 

I know some people get rid of their pets when a child enters their world. I’ll refrain from giving them my opinion on this, and in return I would appreciate if they refrained from giving their opinion on my cats – who have been purring by my side through thick and thin, infertility treatments and loss, sad days and happy days, and will continue to do so until their time has come.


Other notes include: I had a crazy busy weekend complete with an emergency eye doctor visit (just a scratched cornea from my contact lens – not a cat related injury!), a luxurious pedicure, a mediocre hair cut, two yummy dinners out, grocery shopping, freelancing, moping up the cat vomit on the floor (evidently it was barf-o-rama weekend for the felines), making pancakes and devouring a pile of super yummy bubble and squeak. The weekend was so busy that I forgot to: take a belly photo, edit maternity fashion photos, sew a cover for the $4 Boppy. The Professor will be out-of-town at the end of this week so hopefully I’ll have time to return to my blogging promises.

We also scored the Bumbleride photographed above for half off of retail via Craigslist. I was a little panicky to buy such a big-ticket item, but realized that a high-end stroller in such great condition might not pop back up. Every time I walk by the guest room and see it my pulse quickens. Did you know I’m making a baby? Not like a food baby, but a real baby? Holy Crap!

And finally, the Professor went ahead and was honest with the hiring committee in NYC. He explained that I had a 20 week ultrasound and fetal echo scheduled for the 12th, would they mind moving the interview a day or two so he could attend. They responded with a very warm congratulations and happily shifted the date to February 14. So the Professor now has an interview on the west coast this Thursday and then an interview on the east coast next Thursday. Lots of good vibes would be appreciated – this baby might eventually need some shoes 🙂



Post a comment
  1. February 4, 2013

    Good for you! My cats were here before my babies and getting rid of them was never a consideration. They never bothered the kids as babies and other than a few “fashion accessory” moments, cats and kids live in peaceful harmony. Great post!

  2. Romy #
    February 4, 2013

    Your comment about how your cats purred by our side through thick and thin had me in tears! Lol pregnancy hormones. I have two cats as well – and a dog – and grew up in a house full of pets. The thing that upsets me the most is when people say they had to get rid of their cats because of the litter box. I’m lucky that my husband cleans ours just for the small chance that I somehow have not had toxoplasmosis yet despite having spent 27 years cuddling with cats daily. But if he did not, I’d do it with gloves on and if I was really paranoid I would pay a student to do it – ANYTHING other than gettng rid of my cats!
    There are pictures of cats sleeping beside me in my playpen when I was a baby and I’m looking forward to those (supervised) photo opportunities with my baby 🙂 even though I’ll keep the nursery’s door closed, I really don’t believe that cats woukd suffocate a baby – yet people tell me they will all the time.

    • February 4, 2013

      News flash here – I’m a bad pregnant woman! My husband did a horrible job cleaning the boxes during my first pregnancy (would not even do it once a day = cats peeing on the carpet out of spite), that I just did it myself. Without gloves – and without a mask. I did a ton of research and if you clean the box twice a day, the poo never sits long enough to develop the “bug” that causes toxoplasmosis. AND – indoor-only cats have no exposure to it so it’s really not an issue. I spoke with my OB about it and he had no concerns, but said he had to tell me not to do it because that’s what they’re told to tell us. HA!

      I’m happily scooping twice a day now, during pregnancy #2, without gloves and mask. We have a very poo-free, happy-cat household = a happy person household!

      But yes – make your husband do it. Enjoy the time off from the cat poo!

      • Romy #
        February 4, 2013

        That’s really interesting! I didn’t know poo has to sit for a certain time. My GP did say that if you’ve lived with cats for a long time, there’s a good chance you’ve had toxoplasmosis at some point anyway and you’re now immune to it. Seems like one of those things that are blown out of proportions in the media, unnecessarily scaring people. But I think I’ll let my husband believe pregnant women really should not come near the litter box for a few more months 😉

      • February 4, 2013

        I cleaned the litter boxes just like you, Courtney. No problems here and now I’ve got a healthy 5 month old.

  3. February 4, 2013

    Oh Belle – I just love this post! My inlaws had all sorts of concerns about “the cats and the baby” and I just tuned them out. Guess what? No one was suffocated by our biggest cat, no one lost an eye to a bad scratch, and a very cute someone has the most gentle “pets” of any child his age. Having pets, as you know, makes our children nicer, more compassionate, more gentle.

    Hooray for pets, and babies, and pets and babies TOGETHER!

    Great steal on the stroller! YAY!

  4. jak #
    February 4, 2013

    it makes me angry when people assume children and pets are exclusive. i’m sure my shepherd is going to “adopt” our baby and our rotty mix is probably going to protect the hell out of it. i told my husband there will be times when the baby/toddler takes its nap under the dining room table with the dogs. if i’m being honest, i take naps there with them sometimes.

    i was very encouraged to hear a friend say this once in response to someone asking her what would she do about her dog once she had her baby… she said, “are you kidding me?! my dog is my first baby and my best friend and nothing about that is ever going to change!” 🙂

  5. Kathy #
    February 4, 2013

    Lots of people don’t understand the realities of pets and kids. They get along great ! I have two dogs, one likes kids and will interact with them the other guy hides out till they leave. It will all work out. Shame on anyone who gets rid of pets because a baby is coming !

  6. February 4, 2013

    I have a cat and twins. The girls know if they mess with the kitty they get scratched. As long as they leave her alone she won’t bother them. Problem solved!

  7. February 4, 2013

    I love this post, Belle, because I feel the same way about keeping pets in the home, even once children arrive. I was changed profoundly by growing up with a house full of animals, and only in the best and most beautiful way. So glad your kitties will be staying with you for a long time to come! And I’ll be thinking lots of good thoughts for the Professor and his interviews this month. Wishing you both luck!

  8. February 4, 2013

    During my pregnancy i got those comments too because I planned a natural birth, cloth diaper, breast feed you know all the crunchy stuff that some people get uncomfortable with. I just wanted to let you know if you ever have cloth diaper questions don’t hesitate to reach out. I did not cloth diaper until she was like 8 or 9 weeks and could fit into her one size diapers. I had a newborn stash but didn’t use it I was just trying to get a handle on life. It has also been really fun to see our cat react to our daughter. I’m so excited for your family!!

  9. February 4, 2013

    Awesome news about the interview!!

    Nobody told our cats you can’t have cats and babies. Bruce and Kitten have always loved Abby, and Amarillo has always hung out somewhere out of reach during waking hours. We’ve had two scratches in two years. And none of them ever got in her pack n play to ‘smother’ her.

  10. February 4, 2013

    A big yes to this!

    I always had animals around me growing up and I truly believe it helped make me a more compassionate, caring person towards both people and animals. Luckily J and I are on the same page about raising pets and children together; for both of us it’s an absolute must.

  11. Amy #
    February 4, 2013

    Good for you, and good for the Chicken! I actually didn’t have any pets growing up (dad has allergies, so there were brief episodes with tadpoles that never made it to frogs and my sister had hamsters, but no cats or dogs), so I was a little concerned about how Dexter (our basset/black lab mix) would react to Ike. I was also afraid he’d become possessive to the point that he’d snap at someone other than me or Mike holding the baby, but so far so good. He cared not at all at first, but is starting to become interested now that Ike can be down on the floor moving around a little and playing with toys. He actually brings his toys over and tries to give them to the baby (ew, but thanks!), and gives licks to the face or hands (and butt once when we were having diaper-free time, haha), so I think we’re off to a good start. Chicken will love his or her kitties, I’m sure! I can’t believe people still think that about cats and babies. Stuff like that makes me want to show them a calendar so they can check out what year it is. Or, this wonderful thing we now have called the internet, that helps dispel silly superstitions like the cat will steal your baby’s soul or whatever it is they used to think. Annoying, but also kind of hilarious.

  12. February 4, 2013

    At first my husband was totally scared of the cats being near the babies – he would even lint roller anything the cats lay on to prevent the babies from lying on cat hair. Oy. Eventually I talked him into letting the cats in the nursery, and then slowly but surely we have basically stopped cleaning every surface the cats touch. The cats now sleep on the activity mat and we just shoo them off and put the babies on. The cats have licked the babies’ heads.

    The first few days I did have to make sure the cats understood that these soft pink wiggly loud things were not toys and were not to be pounced on. But now they are totally cool with the babies. Every time the babies learn how to do a new thing, everyone is cautious for a little bit, and then it settles into routine. Even my cat that has in the past hated babies and children will come over and sniff a baby head (or even lick it once in a while!).

    I think people are afraid that cats will smother babies. I was at first. I knew the cats could get into the cribs and was scared they would do it at night and sit on the babies’ faces. The cats do get into the cribs sometimes but never when the babies are there (we had a camera in the baby room and know this for a fact). I grew up with big clumsy dogs and I’m sure I got stepped on and knocked over (my first phrase was “doggie go ‘way”) but I love dogs and was not traumatized by their slobbery love.

    I think pets are good for kids. And I kind of believe that they help prevent allergies, but what do I know, that is just my biased, completely unscientified hope!

  13. jak #
    February 4, 2013

    oh!! forgot to mention – there are likely benefits to the immune system of the chicken by being around animals. anyway, just thought i’d add that!!

  14. WTW #
    February 4, 2013

    Ugh! I get so mad when people ask us whether we are getting rid of our sweet kitty, Paisley! Of course not! That whole “cat smothering baby” thing is such an old wive’s tale. Makes me mad when people talk about it. And if you are SUPER paranoid, there are actually crib nets you can buy to pull over the crib when the baby is sleeping in there. NO WAY am I getting rid of my cat…she’s one of the only reasons I made it through my IVF cycle/1st trimester from hell!
    Oh, and nice Bumbleride! I LOVE those strollers but find the double version too wide for me. Darn! And awesome that you got it for a good price!

  15. heatherwallen #
    February 4, 2013

    Belle, totally agree with you re the pets. We have a kerry blue terrier who is 6 years old, and we were reading that step one before having a baby is to “remove the dog from your bedroom” — um, that place where he has happily slept for 6 years? I can’t imagine throwing him out, shutting the bedroom door and having him sleep somewhere else. I mean, he’s not going to sleep in the twins co-sleeper either, but … they’re are pets for goodness sake! Our first kids! Love the stroller, BTW. We want to get a bumbleride indie twin and the odds of scoring such a thing on craigslist are non-existent, I’m jealous.

  16. February 4, 2013

    Ugh. This post makes me feel guilty about my dog. I recently wrote a bit about this. I’ve had Finn for 11 years, bought him myself when I was 17. Lived for that dog. Now…..I am so ashamed to say, I can’t stand him. I NEVER saw it coming. I have always had very strong opinions on people giving away their pets etc because of lifestyle changes and babies and so on. And while I could never get rid of him, lately I wonder if his life would be better with someone else. I have zero patience for him since having R, and he ticks me off on a daily basis just by doing what he has always done. It sucks. I hope this doesn’t happen with your cats, because it is really sad to feel so annoyed/angry with a pet who loves you so

    • jak #
      February 4, 2013

      have you read the mon.ks of ne.w ske.te’s book ‘how to be your dog’s best friend’? maybe learning about “in-seeing” would help you rekindle your relationship with your dog? i plan on getting all my parenting advice from this book too, hahaha!! best wishes.

  17. February 4, 2013

    As to the cats, totally agree. We had friends tell us how they kicked their cats out when they came home from the hospital and one of the cats jumped into the carseat on the baby and they were like YOU’LL SEE, YOU’LL KICK YOUR CATS OUT TOO!

    We have two, they hated the baby and stayed FAR FAR away from him for a long time, now that he’s 6 months both the cats and the baby are VERY into each other =) Baby LOVES when they walk by him, grabs their fur, their whiskers, their tails and squeals with delight while doing it…the cats tolerate it and for some reason continue to come sit by the baby to receive more abuse. I imagine cat scratches in the future, but whatevs! that’s life! Also, as Robin stated you’ll quit trying to get cat hair off everything at some point, babies put EVERYTHING in their mouth and when you have cats that means they’re going to ingest some cat hair. Hairballs come out in their poop, it’s both slightly horrifying and incredibly amusing to find black hairballs in your baby’s diaper!

  18. February 4, 2013

    Wait- people have actually told you to get rid of your cats? What assholes!!! That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life and it completely pisses me off. Pets are not to be bought only to give them away in a few years after you have offspring. And I completely agree with you in terms of how having pets HELPS a kid mature and learn how to love other living creatures. I grew up with dogs and can’t imagine my life without them (especially now). UGH.

    I’m glad that you are letting the awful advice just wash over you. I probably would have had some not-so-nice words for the person that gave me that advice…..

  19. February 4, 2013

    Why does this myth still exist? Seriously?!?!

    Look people: we’ve been cohabits ring with animals for hundreds of thousands of years. If infants were so delicate, the whole human race would be extinct by now. Yes, cats need to be watched when around a baby, but it angers me that someone would dump fluffy off at the local animal shelter out of fear. What a great example.

    I’m glad your ignoring people and keeping your kitties. Truthfully, I only see a benefit and I think it won’t be long after Chicken arrives that all of the fluffy ones are bonding with the newest member of the family

  20. February 4, 2013

    I never attempted to keep our cat out of the nursery. I know my cat well enough to know that a) any closed door in the apartment will be endlessly pawed at until somebody opens it; and b) my cat is not going into the crib because she’s old and doesn’t jump that high anymore. My cat was curious when the baby came home but kept her distance for the first few weeks. Now she usually hangs out on the nursery rug when I nurse and sometimes she tries to share my lap when I nurse. I don’t see a problem with it as long as there is room!

    Different animals have different personalities and you can probably guess how each of your cats will react to the baby. Nobody knows them better than you.

  21. February 4, 2013

    That’s so silly. I’m a biased pet person, but I’ve never lived in a home without dogs (despite being allergic to them, they sleep in my bed ), and I think my hairy, muddy paw print upbringing has taught me valuable lessons about compassion, sacrifice, and caring for beings who can’t care for themselves.

    I often joke that you can’t trust people who aren’t pet people! 😉

  22. karaleen #
    February 4, 2013

    I totally love that we have pets and kids. I had cats and dogs growing up…and cats and dogs as an adult. I cannot imagine not having those big eyes and drooly jowels around. I think it is silly people think you cannot have animals and kids. And…this comes from someone who had to make a tough decision when one of our dogs bit our 20 month old son. We know it was provoked, but we also had to be honest that the dog was just never comfortable around him….and once our son was bigger and mobile…he terrorized that poor dog. We were heartbroken as our Sheldon was such a love…around adults…but completely skittish with kids. We made the heartbreaking decision to find him a new home and go so lucky that my sister and her husband wanted him…their daughter is grown and he knew them…so it worked out better for him…he is now soooo spoiled. But then we went for over a year without pets and my husband and I totally felt like we were incomplete…even though in that year we added a baby to our family. I’m happy to say…we have a new dog…our Nelli is the best mama dog ever…she mamas our kids and herds them around the house and takes all manner of abuse from them happily. Our family is finally complete!!!! So…I am totally with you on the irritation when people think you have to abandon your pets just to have kids.

    But…also…the cloth diaper thing…don’t listen to them…they have no idea what they are saying. Cloth is soooooo awesome. I LOVE IT!!! And the poop in the washer thing…seriously…it washes out. So…stick to your plans…it sounds like you are open to variations if needed…but don’t let anybody elses opinion change what you feel you want to do.

  23. February 4, 2013

    Ugh! The pet & baby thing get annoying quickly! My FIL sent an emails with thousands (ok I’m being dramatic) of links to articles about dogs mauling babies and how we need to get rid of our dogs. Or at the very least make them outside dogs. We don’t even have kids yet!!!! And they have been our babies for years now so, no, we are NOT getting rid of them. Like you said, there will be new boundaries and extra work, but everyone can coexist.

    Now that I’ve ranted on your blog, HOOORAY for the interviews!!!!! I’m sending lots of good-luck vibes to your hubby. Especially for the West Coast gig. ;););)

    On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 6:27 AM, Scrambled Eggs

  24. February 4, 2013

    Bah, of course you can keeep your cats. So annoying to hear anything different!
    Best of luck to the Professor going to the interviews.

  25. February 4, 2013

    My siblings and I too grew up with cats and dogs, no issues with us (at least not animal related. hahah). I also had people ask what I was going to do with the cats…uhm, nothing!? Sure, we’ll watch that they don’t try to sleep too close to the baby, which turned out to be a non-issue. The old boy wanted NOTHING to do with the baby, still doesn’t. And the girl is curious, but that’s about all. Only just now at 5 months does she wander we’ll need to watch the boy’s soon-to-be lightening quick hands that he doesn’t grab her fur, but other than that, I don’t think there will be much issues.

    As for all the other ass-vice, well, just take it with a grain of salt, weed out what you think might be helpful. I told people that “I’d like to try natural birth and cloth diapers, but I won’t be stressing about it and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work”. That little disclaimer seemed to save me from a lot of ass-vice. Or maybe people here in Finland just don’t give as much unwanted comments. No idea.

    As for cats being in in the stroller and other baby stuff…well, our little girl cat loved the car seat and stroller before the baby came. Not so much after, but part of that is because the stroller isn’t accessible anymore to her. The crib they have mostly stayed out of (without a cat net on it), and if I felt they were in it when I didn’t want, I have a sheet to cover the crib when not in baby-use. You know your cats best, just go with it.

  26. February 4, 2013

    Who says these things!? Our cats have been just fine with our newborn. They’re interested in him but have no real desire to actually touch him, or hear him cry. I’m with you 100% on listening to almost all the advice I get and adapting it as it’s helpful to us, but I never for a second thought about giving away out cats!

  27. February 4, 2013

    Good luck professor! I have always read that people who live with pets are much healthier and happier than people who don’t. On a third note, I didn’t even end up using cloth diapers, but at the mere mention that I wanted to use them I was getting crap about it from my mom. Isn’t it weird how quickly people judge things that they really know nothing about?

  28. February 4, 2013

    We don’t have cats but toy poodles whose noses ads still out of joint but very much still a part of our family – in fact all three of my babies are a sleep on the bed together. I think it’s crazy to have animals that you ditch when you have a baby – not cool. We put Sasha in Molly’s pram, she wasn’t a fan but it was funny ha ha

  29. Arbrefleur #
    February 4, 2013

    As usual, a bajillion great responses and this one is only echoing everyone else, but I’ll echo anyway! 1) Awesome stroller – so excited for you seeing that parked in the house!!! 2) GOOD for you for going the natural childbirth route. Found out my mom did natural and now I’m more motivated than ever to try it myself! Womens been doin’ it for eva, right??!! 🙂 3) Get rid of your cats?!?!?? WHAT?!?!?! Who said this!? Actually, when I told my therapist (my therapist!!!!) about doing IVF she said “but I thought you had cats. You’ll have to get rid of them, now.” Um, no, you psycho who is NO longer my therapist!!!! … 4) I really hope this doesn’t count as unsolicited crap-tastic advice, but I read a blog from a gal who is outside of the ALI blog community, and she’s a bit of a rough-around-the-edges rebel-mom (maybe not to everyone’s taste but personally, I’m into it) who did a whole pre-birth and post-birth review of all the different cloth diapering options on the market. She seems to have done a VERY thorough analysis with lots of practical actual baby advice. I think she has a great story as well. It’s here: And finally, 5) mucho congrats to your hubby on the multiple interviews! (Sorry for the tome. Really!)

  30. February 4, 2013

    Our little girl loves our cats! 🙂 She chases them around and tries to poke their eyes out… they’re good cats though so they just put up with it for now haha Animals are good for babies because it motivates them to move more and to reach and touch!

  31. February 4, 2013

    I was just having this very conversation today. I’m glad you brought it up. Our two rescue dogs are our babies, and everyone around me says, when you have kids, they won’t be anymore. But I will tell you this: there is o way on this earth we would “get rid” of the dogs. It can’t happen. Ever.

  32. February 4, 2013

    Yay for the interviews! Sending good vibes your way for sure. 🙂

  33. February 5, 2013

    I think there’s no problem with having pets and babies at the same time. What’s wrong with that? My 2 little boys also grew up with pets (dogs though, not cats) and they are perfectly fine! They even play together and my boys love to hug them (I think my dog loves it too because he closes his eyes every time he gets a hug). Anyway, thanks for your post Belle. Enjoyed reading it. 🙂

  34. February 5, 2013

    I think there’s no problem with having pets and babies at the same time. What’s wrong with that? My 2 little boys also grew up with pets (dogs though, not cats) and they are perfectly fine! They even play together and my boys love to hug them (I think my dog loves it too because he closes his eyes every time he gets a hug). Anyway, thanks for your post Belle. Enjoyed reading it.

  35. Shinara #
    February 5, 2013

    Good vibes, good vibes are everywhere these days!!!! yay! Guess what? We picked up a Blue Bumbleride on Sunday from a very nice lady on Craigslist, too! Good deal! By the way, I think kitty is checking to make sure the stroller is comfy. I’d say it’s comfy!

  36. Melanie #
    February 6, 2013

    I love animal people…my mom is allergic and never let an animal in our house, I was an only child and missed out deeply on that friendship. When I moved out, I got a dog and then a cat, never since had a petless home. My husband got used to it, and misses the dog when I leave for a couple of days. My baby was born and will probably stay an only child, but will not have petless childhood. Our puppy is her best friend, and I love it. I am really happy none of us have any allergies, but guess what, my mom now owns a dog…one little puddle with hair to help with her allergies…she will never live without an animal anymore.. People have reactions but they also change over the years…I never though in a million years my mom would and she backflipped to be an animal lover.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: