Nine-month-old Ukrainian girl dies after pet cat sleeps on her head

The pram where the child died.
The pram where the child died. Photo credit: TSN

A nine-month-old girl has died in Ukraine after the family's pet cat curled up on the child's head.

According to Ukrainian news outlet TSN, the infant had been put outside in a pram so her 22-year-old mother, identified as Snezhana, could complete some housework in their rural property in the Vinnytsia region.

When Snezhana went to check on her daughter, the family's pet cat jumped out of the pram. The mother noticed the nine-month-old wasn't breathing and alerted a rural paramedic. 

"We found the child in the stage of clinical death. An ambulance arrived, I arrived right away," paramedic Halyna Zakharchuk told TSN.

She said despite "30 to 40 minutes" of attempted resuscitation, the child died.

Head of the local Lipovets' police department, Pavel Darmograi, said it appears the cat suffocated the infant after curling up on the child's head to sleep.

Zakharchuk said the cat would have been attracted to the pram that smelled strongly of "milk" and climbed inside to warm up.

She also noted the infant was dressed appropriately for the cold conditions. Ukraine is currently averaging around 3 to 4 degrees.

Police are considering the death an accident and have listed the preliminary cause of death as mechanical asphyxiation. The infant's body has been sent for examination. 

Veterinarian Ivan Levinsky told the outlet: "The child's slight movements could simply not have any effect on the cat changing its position. 

"It depends on the size of the animal and how the baby was swaddled up."

Local vets have also suggested the child may have died from swelling caused by a severe allergy to the cat's fur. 

The village council said the family purchased a house last year after moving into the region. The nine-month-old was the only child of Snezhana and her husband Alexander.

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