Don’t consider giving up your Calico companion, just because you’re eating for two! True, there’s a risk of contracting the virus toxoplasmosis from a parasite in cat litter, but taking some simple precautions will help you stay safe. If you want to be extra cautious, avoiding unpleasant litterbox duties for nine months shouldn’t be hard if you repeat this mantra as needed: “Honey, the litterbox needs cleaning. I’m pregnant.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Healthy Pets, Healthy People Website advises:
Make sure litter is cleaned daily. In addition, encourage whoever tackles that job to wash hands with soap and water afterward.
When preparing food for your pet(s), thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables and avoid handling undercooked meats.
Beyond the litterbox, the Humane Society of the United States urges pet guardians to:
Tackle any animal behavioral issues before your baby comes home.
Have your pet(s) spayed or neutered.
Invite friends with infants to visit in order to familiarize your pet(s) with the noises babies make.
Get your first “baby”/”babies” accustomed to less attention from you in the weeks preceding your child’s birth. For more tips, go to HumaneSociety.org.
Experts at BabyCenter.com suggest you:
Set up a private spot in a quiet, secluded area of your home where any four-legged siblings won’t be disturbed.
Desensitize your pet(s) to a little rough and awkward handling—don’t be afraid to touch the tail and paws . . . and often! Conversely, set an example and use positive reinforcement to teach your human children the concept of “gentle touch” as early as possible.
Children who live with pets enjoy multiple physical and emotional benefits!
75% The decreased likelihood that adults will develop allergies if they grow up with two or more pets as children.
19% The proportion of infants who developed allergies by age one when exposed to dogs from birth (compared to 33 percent of children from pet-free homes).
40% The proportion of children who said they sought out their pet(s) for comfort during times of emotional distress.
(The Big Book of Parenting Solutions by Michele Borba)
Having a pet in your home is like taking a daily dose of preventive medicine—without the ridiculous fees or confusing insurance forms.
Hormones associated with stress decrease after a person spends time with a cat, dog, or other cherished animal. (MedicineNet.com)
Patients living with Alzheimer’s tend to experience fewer anxious outbursts if they reside with a pet. (WebMD.com)
Looking for a better love life? Dogs are date magnets! Pets are natural conversation starters, which might explain that “happy-hour” feel at your local dog park. (WebMD.com)