You may have already read our recent blog post about safety with dogs and children, and how to teach children to be respectful of dogs. In this post, we will outline safety tips for cats and kids—our feline friends deserve no less!
Tips for Kids
Encourage your cat to play with toys rather than fingers or toes! A feather wand or laser pointer can provide hours of fun for most cats. Remember that playtime mimics a cat’s natural hunting behaviours . . . it is best to allow your cat to hunt, swat and bite at a toy rather than your toes!
Pet cats gently around the chin, the sides of the face, and along the back. Avoid touching a kitty’s belly as most cats do not enjoy it!
If the cat does enjoy being held, always support their chest and hind legs when lifting. If the kitty does not want to be held, let the cat come sit on your lap if they choose to do so.
Allow kitty to have breaks. Some cats prefer shorter periods of time for affection, and some prefer to simply be in the same room as you.
Tips for Parents
Read your cat’s body language. Flattened ears and a swishing tail usually indicate that kitty needs a break!
Choose a cat that suits your family. If you are purchasing a cat from a breeder, choose a breed known for being laid back and relaxed in a busy environment. Don’t discount shelter cats! Adoption teams often have a good sense of what a cat likes and dislikes, and how they will tolerate children. You can choose a kitten to grow up with your family, or an adult that already likes kids!
Practice handling your cats positively (with treats, praise and/or petting) so that you are aware of their likes and dislikes and they become accustomed to handling
Teach children to respect cats as individuals, not as toys!
Allow your cat to have a safe space where they can create distance away from children if needed
Try to maintain your cat’s regular schedule and environment if you are bringing a new baby into the home. Avoid sudden changes to things such as feeding schedule and litterbox placement as much as possible.