Tips to Introduce Your Kid to a Kitten

By October 21 | See Comments

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Cats are the most common household pets in the United States and it is no surprise. They are lithe, flexible, compact and self-reliant. There are many benefits to raising kids in a household with pets. Pets can:

  • Teach compassion and empathy
  • Provide loyalty, affection and love
  • Foster your child’s self-esteem
  • Teach responsibility
  • Encourage your kids to be more physically active

Children have a natural affinity for cats, but you need to lay down a few ground rules before you get them to socialize. If your toddler is overzealous, he could end up hurting the kitten. It goes without saying that cat bites and scratches can pose serious risks to the health of your child.

Babies and cats

Generally, cats tend to stay away from infants, whose smells and sounds seem alien to them. They’re much more likely to be upset by the changes in the house because of the baby. What are the precautions you need to take?

  • Don’t let your infant sleep with a cat. Make sure that you use a baby monitor and keep the nursery door closed. If you prefer leaving the door open, install a handy screen door.
  • Introduce baby bedding, furniture and equipment weeks before your baby arrives to the house. When your newborn is in the hospital, bring home an onesie or nursery blanket with your baby’s scent. This will acclimatize your cat to your baby’s smell when he comes home.
  • Even if you get busy with the baby, make sure you set aside a few minutes each day to play with your cat. This will reassure your cat.
  • Encourage your feline friend to investigate as you feed or hold the baby. Reassure him and encourage him to sniff around and investigate. This will help your cat form positive associations with the new family member.
Toddlers and cats

Toddlers regard cats as mobile stuff toys that are waiting to be prodded, squeezed and chased. Y0ou children are incapable of reading a cat’s body language and they are also not very good at reigning in their own aggressive or angry feelings.

  • Never leave a cat and a toddler together unsupervised.
  • Teach your kid to interact with the cat the right way. Show him how to gently stroke the cat’s neck and head and avoid the more sensitive areas like the belly, feet and tail. Explain to him that squeezing, poking or pulling at the tail, fur and ears is not acceptable.Instruct your child never to put his face near the pet. Bites and scratches of the neck and head are very common and quite dangerous.
  • Teach your kid never to touch the cat when he is sleeping or eating.
  • Watch their body language closely. If you see either the toddler or the cat getting worked up, it is time for you to separate them.

Conventional wisdom has it that having a cat can increase your child’s predisposition to allergies. However, new research has indicated that the opposite is true. One of the studies demonstrated that having a couple of cats and dogs during the first year reduced a child’s chance of having an allergy by the time they reach the age of seven.

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