The Interaction Of Children And Cats

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Sometimes, when a child keeps nagging at us, we find ourselves standing in front of a big decision. Sometimes, the decision of our life. Because we have small children the decision is hard. We think how will they behave to each other, would they not hurt each other (as I'm sure by now you already read all the horror stories where cats hurt a child or a child hurt a cat). On the other hand, we also read all the benefits and numerous happy stories about co-living of children and cats. Everything has its positives and negatives.

Ok. We decided it is a good idea to get a cat. However, now we have to make yet another decision. Are we going to get an older cat from a shelter (as shelters overflow with cats looking for new homes) or are we going to get a little kitten? If you have a baby or a toddler, you have to consider the growth rate of your kitten. A crawling baby or a toddler can become a very interesting toy for your teenage kitten and vice versa. In that case, you have to carefully watch both of them. Your baby and the cat.

Also, it is important to remember to consider any possible health risks, such as allergies. Sometimes, even after quite a long time, parents have to put their cat away, because of the allergy. And sometimes, the poor cat just becomes a burden to the family, they are unable to provide all the care and they don’t want to look after their cat any more. Sadly, a cat then travels to a shelter. Needless to say, the cat already became attached to their new home and family and another change can be very stressful.

If you already have an older cat and expecting a baby, many thoughts cross your mind. How would they get on? How would the cat take it? She lives with us for a while would it bother her? Yes, these questions mean we care. We want both sides to be happy. So firstly, we should teach our cat straight from the beginning. Put up a cot and don’t let the cat lay there (I can guarantee she will) but with consistency to get her out every single time with a simple strict NO she’ll soon learn that it is important to you for her not to go there. The cat will feel the changes and could be restless. When a baby is born, introduce the baby to your cat and carefully watch for any reactions. There shouldn’t be a problem, but sometimes a cat can become jealous. In that case, it is important to stay patient, give the cat a short time with the baby and slowly increase the intervals. The jealousy will disappear with time and cat will adjust to your new family routine. Some cats even take the baby as their own or belonging to the family straight away and our mission is accomplished. When I was in this situation, our Pixie was never bothered. She was a cat with a lovely, calm and loving personality. She wasn’t bothered when a child no 2, a new puppy, a parrot or child no 3 arrived. The only time she was bothered was when a new kitten arrived, but even then she soon learned to accept it.

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As children grow it is important to pay attention and raise your watchfulness over your child. Children become more interested in their surroundings which could pose a threat to your cat and themselves. They will be intrigued by animals as they will see the cat as the centre of their attention. However, cats growing along with our children can adapt to it as it happens and mostly disappear in time before unwanted scratches. It can be worse if you get a new cat at this time as the new cat doesn’t know the situation. She will still be the centre of your toddlers of preschoolers attention, however, your child will not be able to follow your instructions nor would he be able to judge the cat’s reactions, because their need to explore will overweigh it. Although, nothing is lost. Again, with a bit of patience and education your child can soon learn not to put their face near a cat (as even the nicest cat can suddenly get scared or hurt and will unintentionally scratch your child).

But because many cats live in households because of childrens wishes the decision to get a cat has to be considered. All members of household have to agree, but also be prepared for all the joy and concerns. However, a growing up with a pet is always beneficial for your child’s social development. If you teach your child straight from the beginning that a cat is a live creature so she needs to be respected and behaved to accordingly. A cat is a playful kitten only for a short period of time, soon she becomes an adult cat which needs a different approach.

Because a cat is a live creature, even the smallest children need to respect the cat’s needs especially their sleep. All cats need a lot of sleep to be happy. If a cat will get constant disruption from her sleep, she could become aggressive or extremely shy. NEVER tolerate any cruelness toward your cat, it will benefit your child in their future life. If you remember all the rules your cat will develop a strong bond between herself and your child often lasting all cats lifetime.

Remember a cat is a big personality, she will behave the same way to you, you behave to her. You can not break her will as she’s still has a bit of a wild cat in her. You can never force a cat to love you or your child, you have to deserve it.

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The Interaction Of Children And Cats. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from
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