Pets and Kids – What Can They Handle

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If you are considering getting a cat as a pet for
your children, the first thing you should think about is the day-to-day care that
will be required. Help show your child what it’s like to own an animal by
making a trip to the local library, or buying a book about how to look after cats.

 

Making your child a part of this new adventure will
help her to understand what your new addition to the family needs before you bring her home. Of course
pets aren’t all work and no play, and bringing a cat into your family can offer
a lot of benefits to children, including reducing stress and teaching
responsibility … not to mention the hours they’ll spend playing games together.

 

After you’ve explained the basics of what your new
cat will need, there are a few other important things to teach your child when
it comes to her pet:

 

  1. Cats need space.

Just like children sometimes need time outs, cats
can, on occasion, feel the same way. That’s why it’s important to teach your
children to read your cat’s body language and to respect when they may need
time alone. Some easy signs to watch out for are:

  1. When a
    cat wags its tail, that usually means something has irritated him, so this
    is a good time for your children to give the cat some space.
  2. If
    their hair stands up on end and they start hissing, this is a definite
    sign that your cat feels threatened. In this situation your kids must
    leave the cat alone and back away. Give them about 30 mins to cool down
    and then quietly come back into the room, making slow movements and sit
    down at their level and offer to pet and fuss them again.
  3. Most
    cats don’t want to be fussed with when they’re hungry or when it’s time to
    eat, so it’s a good idea to teach your kids to leave the cat alone while
    he’s doing these things.
  4. Sometimes
    biting is a way for cats to play – so teach your children to keep their
    hands away from the cats mouth and ideally wear long sleeve tops and
    trousers until they get used to playing nicely together.  

 

  1. Sometimes cats don’t want to
    play.

Cats can be solitary creatures, so however much your
children may want to play a game, your cat might not be in the mood. Here are some
useful tips to create happy play times:

  1. Never
    force your cat to play a game. If she seems like she’s not in the mood,
    it’s best to just leave her alone and try again at a different time.
  2. Try
    out different toys to keep your cat interested.
  3. Always
    use toys which are suitable and appropriate there are homemade toys like a
    ping-pong ball, a piece of string with newspaper strips tied to the end
    which can provide plenty of fun. Alternatively you can pop down to your
    local pet store and ask for some advice on suitable toys for your kitten
    or cat.
  4. Sleeping
    cats should always be left alone – no one enjoys being woken up from a
    wonderful nap!
  5. Try to
    schedule regular playtimes and supervise them with your children and cat
    until they can be trusted to play responsibly together.

 

  1. Cats need to be handled with
    care.

Whether you’ve brought a new kitten home or adopted
an older cat, your children must be taught how to handle their new friend with
care. Here are a few tips on the best ways to pick up a cat:

  1. Cats
    should never be picked up by the scruff of the neck. This can harm your
    cat and is something only mother cats should do with their kittens. Otherwise
    you may accidentally drop them as the cat wriggles from this uncomfortable
    position.
  2. When
    your child picks a cat up, it’s best if they scoop the cat in their arms
    and support one hand under their chest and the other under their hind legs.

 

Once you’ve got the basics in place you will find
that your cats and children can form a wonderful bond together. Having cats is
a great way for children to learn responsibility, how to care for something
else and will also provide hours of fun, love and entertainment as your cat
becomes a firm member of the family.

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