Having a cat enables kids to learn strong social skills whilst cats can benefit from an enthusiastic and energetic playmate to keep them active.
To ensure a safe and positive relationship, it is important to teach your child how to treat cats.
Here are some guidelines for helping your child interact properly with cats!
Supervision between cats and kids is a priority to keep them safe. A toddler can easily frighten cats and cause a defensive reaction by stepping on their tail, pulling their ears or grabbing them too tightly. Do not leave your young child alone with a cat and be ready to intervene to avoid or prevent situations that may result in cat bites and scratches.
Cats need their own space to eat and use the litter box, out of kids' reach. Teach your child not to disturb cats when they are in their safe place, or whilst sleeping, eating or using the litter box.
When you see your cats acting afraid, angry, or happy, verbalise that for your child. Kids soon learn the signs of an unhappy cat - the wagging tail, hissing or growling with ears folded back - and will avoid doing things that upset cats.
Do not allow your child to use hands or fingers to wrestle with cats that are being too aggressive with their teeth during playtime.
Kids will learn to love and care for cats by watching their parents, so be a good role model. If you treat your cats with love and respect, it's more likely your child will grow up to do the same.
Demonstrate for your child how to be careful and respectful towards cats through your words, tone, and approach. Also, be sure to teach your child that most cats do not love being touched on the belly, paws, rump, or tail.
The sooner you teach your child about how to love and care for cats compassionately, the more likely they will develop a beautiful lifelong bond.
Last but not least, kids should be involved with naming their cats, shopping for toys for playtime, and going on vet visits to learn about feline health care, so get them to help with the feeding, grooming and playing routines.