Many parents will hear this question and want to encourage a love of animals in their children. Not only does owning a pet mean love, cuddles and companionship, but it helps teach the responsibility of carrying for another living being.
It’s natural that some parents might be cautious about introducing a cat: they do have sharp claws and teeth, are prone to shedding hair and require time for training and care. But if introduced correctly, cats and children can have a fantastic relationship.
When considering this, it’s important to think about your lifestyle and the age of your children. Babies and toddlers are generally very boisterous and unable to understand directions about handling living creatures, so it might make more sense to wait to get a cat until your children are older.
There are certain breeds of cats more suited to being around children. Persian, Siamese and Bengal breeds tend to be more aloof and less happy around children, whereas a domestic shorthair is ideal as a pet: they’re lovable, easy to train and patient.
It’s also wise to consider adopting a cat from a rescue, rather than getting a kitten. A kitten will require a lot of work: they will need litter training, might be unable to understand instructions, and above all, they’ll be excitable and playful. They may not mean to scratch or bite, but they may become overexcited and accidently scatch a child with a claw or tooth.
With an older cat, the rescue center already knows information about the cat’s character and history. For example, a cat may need to be rehomed (due to divorce, for example) that has been brought up around children. It may be fully house trained and friendly, but may have been left at the rescue due to its family's changing circumstances.
Once you have made the decision to get a cat. it’s time to prepare to bring them home. Before they arrive, it’s a good idea to ensure that everyone in the house understands the rules of handling the cat.
Some considerations should include:
When the cat first comes home, it is important to realize this is a huge change for them as well as your family. It’s stressful enough for a cat to move into a new territory and establish itself within the home without having to face excited, exuberant children. The introduction process must be done correctly in order to build a healthy foundation for their future relationship.
Considerations should include:
If these steps are followed, it is likely that the cat will become a loved and valued member of your family. Reading our articles on cat care and introducing the cat slowly can help build a good lifelong relationship.
*Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
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