My informant for this story is my friend’s mother.
She has always loved cats. When I would spend time at their house, I would see the cats and pet them and I developed an appreciation for them. This was fairly new to me, because my family had always preferred dogs so I had never had a great deal of experience with cats. One time, the cat swiped its claws at my hand and scratched it deep enough to draw blood.
My friend’s mother felt bad and she mentioned something about the fact that cats shouldn’t ever be around babies. I asked her why and what that meant and she explained the superstition that cats such the breath out of a baby and kill it. She also explained that the basis for this fear is the multitude of times in history when a cat would smell the milk or lactic acid on a baby’s breath and jump up on to the baby and put its own mouth near the baby’s mouth. Most times, as is imaginable, the parents thought this was very cute and left it. But, sometimes the cat would be too heavy and would constrict the baby’s lungs or airway, causing them to suffocate and die. It is understandable that with the proximity of the cat’s mouth to the baby’s mouth, an association would be made that resembled a cat sucking the life out of a baby.