How to keep kids and cats safe together?
Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay
Pets can be great companions and keeping them around kids can be very rewarding for both parties. But when talking about kids and cats together, most people would agree that it’s a less than ideal combo. However, if you approach this possibility the right way, your child and pet can get along well and even create a lasting bond. Considering the immense benefits of keeping a cat entails, it’s worth making the effort, so here are a few tips to help you out.
If you have a small child, you should never leave them alone with your cat. Small kids don’t yet have their motor skills developed and they have a tendency to grab things less than gently. Your cat is certainly not going to appreciate having their tail yanked. If you have a kitten, handling them roughly can also be harmful to their physical and mental health. So, make sure you supervise all interactions and step in when necessary.
Pay attention to body language
Cats have boundaries, and if someone oversteps them, it can make them feel threatened. In these cases, they might lash out, which can harm your child. So, you should make it a priority to study your cat’s body language. If your cat is puffing up their fur, growling, or hissing, needless to say, it is time to stop the petting. However, there are also subtler signs, such as your cat swishing their tail or moving back their ears.
Provide the cat with a safe space
When your cat feels anxious or annoyed, they will likely want to get away. It would be a good idea to provide them with a safe space where your child can’t reach them. Consider getting a cat tree where they will be able to go every time they are stressed out. Add a few scratching posts so they can relieve stress in the right way. It’s also a good idea to put all of this in a separate room, in a quiet corner of the house, especially if your kids are a noisy bunch. You should make sure you put the litter box here, too, so that your child doesn’t have access to it.
Draw the boundaries
Until your child grows older and learns how to handle your cat, you should have certain boundaries concerning their interactions. For instance, you may tell your child that they are only allowed to pet the kitty when the animal is in your lap. You can also make it a rule to only play calmly, as cats can get carried away while playing and may accidentally scratch their playmate. Just like you provide your cat with a safe space, you should also define cat-free zones. If you have a baby or young child, the children’s room should be off-boundaries for your cat.
Teach your child
Ultimately, the most important thing is going to be teaching your child along the way. Teach them about the cat’s body language, show them how to pet the cat and how to pick them up properly. Always explain to them why the kitty doesn’t like certain things. You also need to teach your child what they shouldn’t do to keep the kitty safe. For instance, if you keep your cat indoors, your child leaving the front door open can result in your cat getting lost. Besides explaining to your child that they shouldn’t do that, it’s also essential that you get cat ID tags for your furball’s collar just to be safe.
Get them involved
As mentioned in the beginning, keeping cats can teach your children important things. Besides learning about consent, respect, empathy, and companionship, they could also learn valuable lessons about responsibility if they are old enough. Taking care of a pet comes with chores, and involving your child in some of these can be a good idea. Not only will it teach them about responsibility, but it will also further bond them with the animal.
At first glance, keeping a cat when you have children might look like it’s asking for trouble. However, if you take the time to teach your children, it will be a rewarding experience for both your little ones and your cat.
Maggie Holmes is a passionate blogger keen on writing about beauty, health, lifestyle, pets, and relationships. Her exclusive hobby is surfing the net to find amazing articles that can inspire her with some fresh ideas for article writing. She loathes being a common person who wastes her time. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MaggieH04666334