Your Cat Will Not Smother Your Baby

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 4, 2009 1:19 PM CST

(Newser) – A column suggesting that housecats murder babies out of jealousy has earned the Houston Chronicle a lot of, well, catcalls. It's not true, the paper now reports. “It’s funny that someone would still actually think that is true,” said a veterinarian and SPCA official. “That is a very old wives’ tale that has since been debunked.” Leaving infants unsupervised with any animal is unwise, but cats to not present a homicidal threat.

Doctors T. Berry Brazelton and Joshua Sparrow passed along the misinformation last week; in this Sunday's column, they'll backtrack. "It may be best to keep cats out of babies’ cribs for the same reasons that we keep extra bedclothes and stuffed animals out of cribs," they write. Says the vet: “I’ve never heard of a cat killing a baby. Cats will usually do a quick swipe and run off.”

A little girl has opened a basket to find four twelve week old Blue Persian kittens sitting inside.
A little girl has opened a basket to find four twelve week old Blue Persian kittens sitting inside.   (Getty Images)
An infant with a feline friend.
An infant with a feline friend.   (Shutter Stock)
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When I see someone who is relinquishing the family cat that has been in the house for seven years, I know that the chances for that cat being a carrier for toxoplasmosis are almost none.
- Dr. Teri Schweiss, SPCA

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