Cats and children can be the best of friends if parents teach kids the right way to interact with their feline friend. Here are ten things that will ensure the relationship between your cats and children will remain cordial:
- Teach kids the correct way to pick up and hold the cat. It’s important to support the hind legs when lifting and holding a cat. Cats hate to be held with their hind legs left dangling.
- Show children to pet cats with an open hand. It’s important to give a cat a chance to sniff your hand, and pet the cat slowly and gently.
- Be sure your kids know the cat’s “time out” spots. Cats sometimes need a little time to themselves to relax and usually pick specific places in the house for down time. Teach your child to respect your cat’s privacy.
- Give your child age-specific tasks in caring for the cat and monitor to be sure the tasks are being done correctly.
- Be sure your child knows how to read your cat’s body language. Cats tell us a lot about their mood with their body language. Teaching your child the signs of an agitated cat can help prevent problems later.
- Teach your kid not to use their fingers as toys with your cat. Cats paw, scratch and pounce on toys when they’re playing, and using fingers as toys will teach your cat it’s ok to paw, pounce and scratch your hands.
- Be sure there’s an escape route for your cat. Cats sometimes need to make a quick getaway if they feel stressed or threatened in some way, so be sure they have a way to escape the craziness.
- The feeding station and litter box are off-limits to your children. Cats usually require privacy when using their litter box, and many like to be in a quiet, calm environment when they eat. Failure to provide this can lead to litter box avoidance and loss of appetite for your cat.
- Teach your child not to share food with your cat. There are many foods we eat that are deadly to cats, so be sure your child doesn’t get in the habit of sharing his meal.
- Be sure to monitor the relationship. It’s important to watch how your cats and children are getting along, nipping problems behavior problems in the bud can keep them from becoming worse.
Taking time to teach your kids the right way to interact with your cat will help keep the relationship between the cats and children happy and healthy.