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Cats and kids sound like a recipe for disaster, but if you can teach your children the proper way to interact with the family cat, everyone can live in harmony.
My niece and nephew are young at ages five and two, and they share their home with three big dogs and an old, grumpy long-haired cat. The pets were there long before the kids, and the socialization process made my brother and sister-in-law uneasy. While all three dogs did just fine, the cat was not impressed by babies. However, over the years, the cat learned to live in harmony with the kids because socialization works both ways and my family did their best to teach animal respect early.
They must be taught to respect animals if children are to live in harmony with pets. Respect starts the day the child, and the pet is first introduced, whether the cat came first or was adopted later. Socialization of a baby and a cat involves respecting your cat’s boundaries and not forcing the child upon the cat, but also, it’s about making the child available for a curious mind to inspect. You must allow and encourage common space for the baby and the cat where your cat can hear the sounds and become familiar with the smells of your child.
As your child grows and can interact more with the cat, be sure always to supervise the time they spend together. Never allow your children to poke at your cat or pull her tail. Chasing kitty is fun for a toddler but try to prevent it as much as you can, unless your cat loves the game. As your child grows or if you adopt a cat with older children at home, teach your kids about the cat’s boundaries and why it’s so important to show your cat the proper, respectful kind of love she needs. Cruelty should never be tolerated.
The best way to socialize smaller children and cats is to have you child sit quietly and stroke the cat’s back. Avoid her head and neck because she might feel skeptic of your child and bite or scratch in alarm. Eventually, you may be able to move the cat on to your child’s lap so they can be with each other and develop a strong bond too. Your cat will give you clues and cues on how she feels about the kids as well, so never push her patience far when it comes to children. You want your children to develop a love for your cat just as much as you want the cat to love the kids.
Cats and Kids Go Great Together – Tips
Here is a funny compilation of cats and kids.