For many parents, the idea of getting a cat for their children is a very natural one. But others might have some misgivings, especially if this is their first time having a pet cat. Children and cats can make excellent companions for each other when a safe environment is provided for both the child and the animal. As with any family pet, getting a cat means using common sense, ensuring safety, and making sure that everybody is looked after. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are expecting a baby and have a cat at home, or are considering getting a cat for your children.
Create a Cat-Friendly Environment
Many cats are fine around children but just like any animal, they can get overwhelmed, and this is where the risk starts to rise. Creating a cat-friendly environment and making sure that your cat has access to spaces in the home where they can chill out in a child-free area is essential. If you have a small home, a good way to do this is to provide wall-mounted cat perches or tall cat trees that your cat can climb up when they need to be away from the action. Make sure that your cat has child-free areas to use the litter box, sleep, and eat.
Introduce Them Gradually
If you are bringing a new cat into your home, then it’s best to plan a gradual introduction to the rest of the family. You can do this by providing your cat with a room that they can call their own like a spare bedroom or a second bathroom that is a private space for them with everything that they need, where they can adjust to their new surroundings and settle into your home without having to meet everybody all at once or be thrown right into family life. Typically, this will take about a week, but it may be shorter or longer depending on the cat. You can also use this opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with the cat and figure out some important things about them, like the type of food that works best. Check out the best cat food for sensitive stomach which can be ideal if your cat is nervous.
If you have young children or babies at home, then it’s important to always provide adult supervision when they are interacting with your cat. Even the most placid and gentle of cats can be provoked by children who don’t have any sense of what might be annoying to the cat and only want to play, which can lead to accidents. Make sure that you are always there to supervise in any situation where your child might be coming into contact with the cat. This also gives you the opportunity to teach toddlers and younger children how to interact with the cat respectfully.
Cats can make perfect companions for kids, but like any animal, it’s important to make sure that you provide a safe and comfortable environment for both your children and your pet.