Cats can benefit children in many ways. They can teach our young ones empathy and compassion, and provide unconditional love. Kitty’s soothing purrs can be a great source of comfort on bad days. Our feline friends can also make great playmates and napping buddies! When setting guidelines for how your children and your kitty will interact, there are some definite do’s and don’ts to remember. Below, a Thorold, ON vet discusses cats and children.
The arrival of a new baby can be a very exciting and special time. For Fluffy, however, it can be a bit confusing. First, she runs out of lap space, and then suddenly there’s a new kid in town – literally! When the baby arrives, let your feline friend sniff your infant’s clothes and blankets, then make introductions slowly and under supervision. While the old wives’ tale about cats stealing babies’ breath is not true, as with much folklore, there is a grain of truth behind the superstition. Kitties love to snuggle, and can accidentally smother babies by sleeping on top of them. Never leave cats and babies alone unattended, and install a cat-proof crib guard to keep your little one safe. Remember to pay attention to your furball, so she doesn’t feel neglected.
As we all know, toddlers can be very curious and energetic. Your little one will need careful guidance to learn how to play nice with Fluffy, so be sure to supervise all interactions. Make sure your kitty has plenty of safe hiding spots, like cat towers and tents. Teach your youngster to pet Fluffy gently, and to never yell at or chase her if she gets scared and runs. Needless to say, you don’t want your child to find out the hard way that Kitty’s fluffy tail isn’t a toy! Stay up to date with your cat’s parasite control, and clean her litterbox daily.
As your child grows, continue to encourage gentle play and interaction. You can begin to teach little ones about animal care by letting them help with feeding Fluffy. Take time to show your children that animals are our friends, and must always be treated with kindness and compassion. It can be a beautiful thing to watch your child first experience the special gift of an animal’s love.
Please contact us, your Thorold, ON animal clinic, for all your cat’s veterinary care needs.