If you have a newborn baby and a cat, or in my case one cat and four baby kittens, you’re going to need to figure this out eventually. I wish I would have done this before my son came home, but instead, I found myself frantically searching for how to keep a cat out of the crib, as my kittens were scaling the wall of his playpen while he slept peacefully. I came across quite a few interesting tactics that might work for you, and a few that definitely worked for me. It took a combination of techniques to keep them away from the baby, and from stealing his binkies.
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Block Off The Nursery
This one did not help me as the playpen is in the living room, but it is an obvious solution. Simply close the door to the nursery as much as possible. Make sure that you have a baby monitor to hear the baby cry. A video baby monitor will guarantee that you can still keep an eye on your little one with the door closed. If your nursery does not have a door, consider the installation of a temporary screen door or a tall baby gate with vertical bars so the cat cannot climb it.
A crib tent is a structured piece of fabric that is designed to fit snugly over the crib. This will prevent the cat from getting into the crib. These come in a variety of colors and have proven to be effective. They can also be used when the baby is not in the crib so that the cat cannot get in the crib.
These are small devices that let out a sound that cannot be heard by humans, or babies, but can be heard by your cat. They emit this unpleasant sound, therefore keeping the cat away. Some of these are designed with a motion sensor so that they only let off a sound if they detect movement.
This seems like a great idea, but you’ll need to make sure that the motion sensor is placed in a convenient spot to detect movement. For example, if you place it in the middle of the room, and it doesn’t reach the walls of the room, you can expect your cat to narrowly walk along the wall to try and get to the baby crib. Cats are curious, clever and they are determined.
Cat Training Techniques
There are several ways to train a cat that does not involve devices, crib tents, etc. However, they do require a significant amount of time and patience. This was effective for keeping the kittens out of the playpen because it is in the living room, where I am with my laptop most days. They might not be practical for you if you’re trying to keep a cat out of the nursery and are in the other room or not home a lot.
They can be used in combination with other techniques, though. You could use these when you are near the nursery and see the cat staring at the crib, and use other measures when you are gone.
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Squirt Them With Water
Every time you see the cat doing something you do not want them to do, simply squirt them with a little squirt of water. You can pick up a water bottle that sprays relatively cheap, or just buy a squirt gun. This one worked, and I like it because it doesn’t hurt them.
I discovered this was effective by accident. My six year old saw two of the kittens scaling the side of the playpen and took it upon herself to put them in time out. It made sense to her that a kitten would not sit in time out so she put them both in the bathroom. So, I let them out, having no idea how long they were in the bathroom. (It couldn’t have been too long. There are four of us and one bathroom, so it sees quite a bit of traffic.) However, they did not go near the playpen for the rest of the day.
Increase Play Time
Cats and kittens are full of energy and curiosity. Like small children, they need an outlet for all that energy. Pick up some toys that a cat can play with by themselves if you are short on time. A cat tree is great if your feline friend likes to climb. A laser is a fun way to help your cat release some curiosity as they will wonder where the light went and look for it. When your cat can release its energy in a healthy way, it won’t be as much trouble. (This is how I keep the kittens from destroying every piece of clothing I have hanging in my closet.) If you’re new to playing with your cat or kitten, check out this article for more tips.
Aluminum foil is great to keep cats off anything, from tables to countertops. If your little one isn’t here yet, you can start training your cat by putting aluminum foil across the mattress. As time goes on, they will no longer be interested in climbing into the crib. Before the baby comes home, take off the aluminum foil for a trial run. If they are particularly determined, they might still jump in the crib. You need to know if that’s going to happen before bringing the baby home, so it’s important to do this well before the due date. If they do still jump in the crib, opt for another measure to keep them out.
Use Something Sticky
Cats hate anything sticky with a passion. Cover the mattress in it before the baby comes home to deter them from going into the crib. This will work with upside-down contact paper or double-sided tape. You could also use regular tape you have around the house but leave the sticky side up. Once they jump into the crib and they will not do it again. Clear tape is a great idea because cats won’t know when you take it off.
When you’re trying to figure out how to keep cats out of a crib or nursery, it’s important to consider your situation. For example, if you’re not physically present, a squirt bottle might not work. After choosing the best method for your family, implement it as soon as possible so that the cat will not want to go in the crib after the baby comes home.