You’ve probably heard that women should avoid cats while expecting, which is not entirely true. But, why do cats attack pregnant women? Well, that’s something we’ll try to answer in this article.
All pets are interesting in their unique way and in my opinion, cats and dogs take joint first place. Okay, before you fight me on that, let me elaborate.
Firstly, I have to mention just how intelligent they both are, and how far they’ve come in understanding our body language and sensing how our mood changes. Another thing is that they are extremely loyal pets and would do basically anything for their owners.
But I’ll stop here because if I continue talking about them, it will be too long. So, let’s go back to our topic.
Why do cats attack pregnant women?
If you’re expecting a new bundle of joy, you’ve probably already had family and friends caution, “Are you sure you should keep Duchess? You DO know cats attack pregnant women, right!?”
But why on earth would your otherwise docile cat suddenly turn on you as a pregnant woman? Do you think she feels threatened?
What if she senses that things are about to change drastically and her life is going to be turned upside down from now on? Why is your furchild changing her behavior? Let’s find out!
1. She has behavioral issues
It’s no secret that animals can have behavioral issues and perhaps your feline is one of them too. Usually, the reasons for these sudden behavioral changes are not so easy to pinpoint, and aggression in cats is really difficult to understand. When it happens and who the target is, nobody knows.
However, when their owner gets pregnant, cats can sense changes, and they definitely don’t like when things are about to be different. Some of them, on the other hand, may become very protective over their expecting owners and won’t let anyone come near.
So, it’s purely on a feline-to-feline basis how they’ll react. She may get a bit (or more) aggressive and you have to find a way to stop this issue before it becomes a real problem.
2. She feels ignored
They may not be human beings, but our felines have feelings as well. So, you’re asking why cats attack pregnant women? Would you believe me if I told you it might be because they feel ignored and neglected?
When their owners get pregnant, it’s really hard for cats to accept the fact that they won’t be the only object of admiration in the home. Your attention will be divided now, maybe even completely directed toward that little human (especially if this isn’t the first family addition).
If your feline is not getting her regular amount of attention, she may want to get it back, at any cost. So she may resort to attacking you at night, or during your daytime nap. Your furbaby may scratch your feet and ankles and may even wake you up during the night.
3. She doesn’t like change
If it wasn’t clear by now, one of the reasons why cats attack pregnant women is that our fur buddies don’t take kindly to change. It may be that the woman is sending a different vibe now that her pregnancy hormones are going crazy, or the cat simply doesn’t like what she sees and senses.
Perhaps you used to spend your mornings drinking coffee and petting your furbaby. Now, all of a sudden, you’re in the bathroom getting rid of last night’s dinner because of morning sickness. That’s enough for your furbaby to notice that something’s not okay.
When your cat attacks you while you’re pregnant, it’s not that she’s angry with you because you’re expecting. She’s rather feeling annoyed by the fact that your body is changing, you’re changing, and her routine is changing. And no, this doesn’t necessarily mean that she’ll be mean towards your baby.
That said, pay attention to your cat’s behavior. If you see that she’s hiding from you, or hissing at you and trying to scratch you, something may be off.
She may also start urinating in the house and develop digestive problems. If you notice any of these signs, react immediately because she’s preparing for the attack.
4. She’s protecting what’s hers
Isn’t she the one to protect her territory all the time? Her favorite spot in your home is somewhere from where she can observe her whole environment and react if someone new walks in. She also rubs on something to make it clear it’s hers, right?
Well, it’s the same thing now. When cats attack pregnant women, they are in fact protecting their territory. There’s another human being that will soon interfere with her home. This way she wants to make sure everybody’s familiar with the boundaries.
Changes in her behavior may happen during those days when you start to prepare the baby’s room. Obviously, her territory is being occupied by things she doesn’t know. Since you’re also radiating different pheromones than those that she’s used to, she may express her anger.
5. She’s afraid and anxious
When things around her change, cats often become afraid and anxious, so that’s also a possible reason why they may attack a pregnant woman. In those moments when you don’t “smell” like your usual self, your feline may think that you’re spending too much time with another cat.
If she has abandonment issues, her anxiety will get the best of her and she may become aggressive. Also, if you went to work every morning and now you’re staying in, she may feel like your apartment is too small for both of you. In that case, she needs to escape the situation where she feels trapped.
So, in this case, her aggression is triggered by fear. Pay attention to dilated pupils, hissing, spitting, and of course a bit of scratching here and there. Those are typical indicators that your feline has some problems and signs for you to help her.
6. She’s stressed
These furbabies are highly sensitive and will detect every change in their surroundings, as we’ve concluded by now. That’s why cats start behaving differently, even to the point where they may attack pregnant women with seemingly no warning.
Cats can’t deal well with stressful situations – they’ll either fight or flee. Yours, obviously, chose the first option since you’re reading this. When confronted with danger (or change in this case), some cats will become upset and aggressive toward the person causing stress – in this case, you.
Try to stay calm and don’t yell at her. You’ll only succeed in making her react even more aggressively. If you can’t handle the situation on your own, don’t hesitate to ask for professional help to cope with this behavior.
7. She was mistreated in the past
Last but not least, cats may attack pregnant women due to mistreatment in their past. She may find it justified to attack you because she was raised by a woman that was expecting and treated her poorly.
She feels threatened and this is actually her way of protecting herself. In case you found yourself in a situation like this, make sure you steer clear of your feline during your pregnancy. I know this may be difficult, especially if you’ve created a beautiful bond.
But what you also have to realize is that this doesn’t mean that you’re the only one chosen to be attacked. Whenever she feels threatened, she’ll attack because her instincts are telling her to protect herself. Pay attention to how your cat is behaving and contact a professional for assistance if you need it.
What’s up with petting aggression?
News about your cat attacking a pregnant woman isn’t something you needed to hear when your hormones are raging and you need your favorite furbaby to comfort you. If she could only sit on your lap and purr, while you gently stroke her…
Petting aggression shows up when your cat feels like you’ve hurt her in a way, and if you combine that with the hormones of a pregnant woman, an attack is almost inevitable. If you notice that she’s flicking her tail, or she lowers her ears, move your hand and save yourself.
If she attacked you, you’ve probably touched the no-zone and she rewarded you with a bite or scratch. Try to avoid those areas, especially while pregnant. You may cause overstimulation or agitation by constant petting, and since you’re a little more “needy” as a future mom (thanks, hormones!) this may easily happen.
Unfortunately, there is a thing like petting her too much and this may cause her to get aggressive. Avoid touching her belly (most cats don’t like that) and pet her head and neck instead. For some felines, the rest of the body is in the no-touchy zone as well.
How to prevent a cat from attacking a pregnant woman?
Okay, so now that we know why cats attack pregnant women, now let’s figure out how to prevent it!
First of all, try to keep your cat indoors while you’re pregnant or taking care of a newborn. This honestly won’t stop her from attacking you, but at least she won’t have any other negative stimulus from the outside world and you’ll prevent her from hurting others.
Try to train her and reward her for good behavior and fulfilled tasks. Try some healthy human food like celery, broccoli, or spinach, or just give her simple cookies and dry cat food. Don’t scold her for bad behavior, since she may feel even more threatened that way.
Make sure that she has enough space while taking a nap, eating, or using the litter box. This way you’ll avoid her territorial aggression. If your feline previously attacked a pregnant woman, try keeping her away from people until you see that she’s ready to be around them again.
Store her food in closed cupboards and out of her reach, so she needs to hunt and use her energy to catch her “prey.” And, in the end, if nothing works, use some odors that she doesn’t like.
This will keep her away from areas she shouldn’t come close to. If you want her to stay away from the sofa you spend the most time on, just use this trick as a way of training her and she’ll definitely start ignoring that specific piece of furniture.
Just make sure that these sprays don’t have some additives that could do her harm. Also, provide her with enough water and food and try to keep her away from the rooms you spend most of your time in.
So, there you have it. Hopefully, you now understand better why do cats attack pregnant women. Pay attention to her behavior if you suspect that something is off. The best way to actually prevent another attack is if you react on time and monitor her.
We’ve also talked about some tips on how you can actually stop your cat’s aggressive behavior. Basically, keep her busy, entertained, and full. Buy her some feather toys, balls, and delicious food to keep her in a good mood.
If you follow these tips, you won’t need to worry about your cat attacking a pregnant woman again, because that’s probably not going to happen. Anyway, good luck and don’t “over-love” your fur-fella!
Check this out: Do Cats Get Clingy When You’re Pregnant? Can They Sense It?