Babies vs. Cats -- Part 2
Noted pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton really stepped in it when he wrote a column recently that urged a pregnant woman to get rid of her three cats. In his most controversial comment, Brazelton seemed to warn the woman that cats smother babies.
It's no surprise that the fur flew.
The pediatrician later backtracked, but some critics argued that the damage was already done. Because of Brazelton, they said, cats around the world were likely headed for slaughter.
There's no doubt that Brazelton is a heavyweight in the field of pediatrics. But let's hope pregnant cat owners don't allow one man's opinion to influence their decisions about their pets, especially when the major medical and veterinary associations disagree with the expert in question.
I know a little something about being at the center of a debate about cats and babies. I contemplated finding a good home for my two cats after the birth of my baby last year. I got creamed for even entertaining the thought.
As it turns out, my two cats were initially afraid of my daughter. One of the cats still exhibits extreme jealousy at times; we're working through it. We didn't take chances then, and we don't do it now. We NEVER leave our daughter alone with the cats or strange people for that matter.
Now that our girl is a toddler, she chases the cats around the house. I won't lie. There have been some tense moments that could have been disastrous if the cats had front claws. But in every case, my daughter has been the aggressor, and the cats felt threatened by her rambunctious play. Mommy and Daddy are always on guard. We're looking out for the safety of both our daughter and the cats. We see it as the price of being parents. Period.
I don't think pregnant women should fret over toxoplasmosis either. If they want to keep their furry children, leave the litter-box cleaning duties to the dad-to-be. That turned out to be one of the few perks of my pregnancy.
Mainly, whatever this mom decides is her choice. But she should make it with the real facts, not old wives' tales. Mostly, I think Brazelton came on a little strong. Is the kid guru losing his touch?
-- Sherri Day