Having a pet typically offers multiple benefits for kids. Teach your children how to properly care for their cats to ensure a long-lasting and loving relationship.
Teaching your kids how to take care of their cats is an amazing way of showing them what it means to care for another human being.
However, before you let your children take responsibility for the family pet, it is a good idea to set certain rules that can help in ensuring the well-being and safety of both your furry friend and your child.
Having a pet offers a multitude of benefits for children. Teach your kids on how to care for their cats properly using the following tips:
1. Establish that pets are a lot like humans
Young kids may find it difficult to understand that a cat has feelings too. However, with the proper approach, you can teach your son or your daughter to respect their cat and be compassionate towards animals.
You can do this by linking your kid’s daily needs with that of your cat. Thus, for instance, you may show your kid that your cat needs some good food, a comfortable place to rest, and some toys to play with, just like any other human.
You could also go ahead in establishing the fact that your pet can feel a range of different emotions, including, loneliness, fear, contentment, and annoyance, and that your kid’s action could contribute largely to the pet’s positive or negative feelings.
2. Take time to become familiar
Cats tend to feel more relaxed and comfortable whenever we greet them on their levels. Encourage your kids to lie on the floor and gently offer the pet their hand so she could smell them. Cats may positively respond by slowing rubbing her hands or face on their hands or pressing her palms against their hands, thus encouraging them to pet her.
This is actually a good sign! In case she acts nervously, be patient. Forcing affection on a cat who doesn’t want it would only push the connection process in the wrong direction.
3. Mildly pet cat’s back, shoulder to tail
In case the cat is responsive to the kid’s touch, it’s typically safe to pamper her gently from the tail to the shoulder.
This isn't the time to try and scrub the cat's belly. Some pets enjoy tummy rubs, however, many do not, and it is definitely not the proper way to make the first-time contact with a cat.
In case you later find out that the cat enjoys pets to its belly, then go for it. Also, honor the pet’s individual preferences and personality.
4. Be careful when picking the cat up
In case the pet shows signs of warming up to the kid, and you know cats like being held, you may choose to take pet-handling to the next level. Also, recall that, along with honoring the cat’s personality, always make choices with regards to the child’s age, demeanor and personality.
You know what to expect from your kid, and in case you believe that the pet won’t be safe in the kid’s arms, then do not place him there.
Older kids or ones who have shown they can responsibly hold a pet may learn how to pick up the kitty. Cats love feeling secure and stable, so it is important to pick them up properly. Ensure the cat is relaxed, picking up an angry cat could mean tears and scratches.
Always utilize both hands: Carefully press one hand flat against the cat’s chest and use the other hand to support the hindquarters. Hold the pet securely, but not too firm against your chest so it can feel comfortable and safe.
Ensure you don’t cradle the pet like a human body. Though few cats enjoy being carried that way, however, most don’t. Do not try this position until the kid and cat feel totally comfortable together and you are completely certain the cat enjoys this position.
5. Sit or stand
Particularly at first, kids should stand or sit while holding a pet. A motion may spook a pet who is just getting accustomed to this personal and up-close relationship with a human child.
Younger kids also may have the likeliness to take off running, which would certainly make the cat feel unsafe and scared.
6. Set rules concerning behavior and attitude
It is essential to always supervise kids while they are interacting with pets. Children could commit the mistake of handling a pet too roughly, pulling on its ears, fur, tail, or whiskers, as a few examples, and that can lead to injuries to the cat, as well as scratches and bites on your child.
It is advisable to teach your kid how to approach the cat whenever both of them are relaxed. A kid who is frustrated, loud, or stressed could end up frightening or stressing his/her cat, specifically if your kid is chasing the cat.
And these attitudes and behaviors can also lead to injuries, bites, and scratches.
Below are a few pointers that could assist you in teaching your kids on how to gently handle their cats:
- It is never a good idea to force a cat to be pampered – Your kids should instead try to extend their hands toward their cat to see if it would respond to being touched. A toy or treat can also be utilized to mildly coax a cat to come closer so that your kid could then mildly stroke its fur.
- Petting the kitty from the top of its head, or from the shoulders, to its tail, in the direction of its fur, is an advisable place to start – Remember that, not all cats like belly rubs. Teaching kids that they should not put their fingers near the cat’s eyes, nose, mouth, or ears is also an amazing idea.
- Only after a while, during which your kids and their cats are starting to get along and you know for sure that your child knows how to pamper and hold the cat, should you move on to teaching your kids on how to pick up their cats – that is, in case your cat is the kind of cat that enjoys being handpicked in the first place.
- When prepared, teach your kids that one hand should be utilized to support the kitty’s chest, while the other hand should be utilized to support the cat’s back legs. With your cat secure and calm, your child may be able to hold it safely and comfortably.
- Provide your cat with an escape plan at all times, such as providing it with a tall cat tree, in case it starts feeling threatened or overwhelmed by your kid. It is essential to always teach kids that animals have limits that need to be respected.
By tutoring your kid on how to care for their cats, including all their cat-like friends, they can bond properly with their animals more, while at the same time developing a sense of responsibility towards the life of others.
These are morals and lessons which they can carry with them into their teen age as well as their adult life, thus, it is never too early or prompt to start teaching your kids on the benefits associated with watching over their four-legged companions.