TEN SUGGESTIONS OF KEEPING CATS WITH CHILDREN
1. Keep your cat’s litter box sacred.
Keep your cat’s litter box in a well-enclosed area that is strictly off-limits to children but easily accessible to your cat.
2. Allow your cat to dine in peace.
If your cat is allowed to dine in peace and emerge when it is full and happy, it will be better prepared to face young family members.
3. DO not allow your cat to be treated as a toy.
Do not allow your child to grab the cat’s tail, ears, whiskers, fur or whatever else the child can get in its small fist. For the cat, it is at best irritating and at worst, frightening and painful.
4. Keep your cat’s nails trimmed.
A claw swiped across the face can be extremely dangerous for a young child. Even with careful supervision, accidents can occasionally happen.
5. Keep your cat’s toys and medications away from your baby.
The bright colors, feathers, bells, buttons, balls and strings which frequently adorn cat toys can be irresistible to a young child, but they can also be deadly, posing a choking hazard. Also, keep your cat’s medicine locked away or well out of reach.
6. Practice non-toxic pest control.
Many flea collars and sprays contain pesticides that can be harmful to children, and many pest-control methods are available that will not harm children. Discuss the options with your veterinarian.
7. Protect your kitten.
Kittens are delicate, and to grow up into a well-adjusted and trusting cat, a kitten must feel safe and secure. Children too young to understand how to be gentle with a cat might seriously injure a small kitten. Consider waiting until the child is older before you allow him or her to play with the kitten unsupervised.
8. Don’t be under the false impression that your cat will suffocate your baby.
Even if your cat is a little jealous, it is not malevolent. If the cat doesn’t like the baby, it will avoid the baby. Do not believe the old wives’ tales that your cat will “steal the baby’s breath.” Many cats begin sleeping with children when the children are quite young and enjoy serving as a source of comfort to the child for years.
9. Do not neglect your cat.
Make an effort to warmly greet your cat and carefully introduce it to the new baby. Be sure to give kitty attention when it seems to need it. Cats don’t often demand attention even when they crave it. Don’t forget that your cat is a member of your family, too, and should be treated accordingly.
10. Teach your children to treat the cat–and all animals–with respect.
Teach your children to handle all pets gently and to leave wild animals alone. Help your children learn all about animals, and they will become fascinated with the creatures who share our homes and Earth.