Children can be benefitted in several ways from having companion animals such as cats with them. According to studies, children raised with pets usually have better social development, heightened empathy, and better emotional health. Children with autism have been known to have improved social interaction, decreased separation anxiety, and increased empathy if they were raised with pets. Children having Down Syndrome also have been known to benefit similarly.
Children also have physical benefits from growing up with a pet along with social and emotional advantages. Pediatricians have stated that a child’s immune system can be boosted by having a pet at home. Respiratory infections in the first year of a child’s life can be decreased with the presence of a dog or cat at home. Similarly, it also reduces the development of asthma and allergies.
It is up to the parents to encourage the bonding between the kids and the cat from the beginning, as soon as you have found the new cat for the family. After bringing the cat home, leave them in their carrier in a quiet room for a day. Bring them out to roam in an enclosed space for the next day. The cat will develop a sense of security, after which you can start with the introductions.
Let your child offer their hand to the cat to sniff initially, following which they can start to lightly pet the cat. Let your kid sit on the floor and place the cat on their lap gently. Increase the frequency of these interactions at the pace of the cat’s comfort. Be sure to monitor and supervise all interactions as the bond between your child and pet develops.
There are various safe and fun activities that a parent can employ to encourage the kid and cat to form a bond. You can instill a sense of responsibility in your kid by teaching them age-appropriate tasks to take care of Cats. Here are a few ideas to help your kid bond with the cat.
After you have found the perfect cat for your family, let your child be involved in the process of naming it. This is a great way to emotionally invest your kid in the new pet.
While feeding your new cat, have your kid assist you in measuring the water and food for mealtime. But be sure never to leave your kid unsupervised around your cat’s food and water bowls. Once your kid is 10-13, they can be entrusted with the responsibility of regular watering and feeding the cat. You should, however, check periodically to see if the cat is being fed properly on a consistent level.
For your new cat to feel welcome, involve your kid in picking out toys they will use to make the cat feel more at home. Your kid can also pick the new bedding for the cat, this way they will feel more inclined to help to make the cat feel more welcome.
If you want to involve your kid in the waste disposal process of your cat, ensure that they are old enough to do it properly and wash their hands well afterward. For younger kids, it may not be an entirely appropriate chore to do alone, but you can encourage them to come along with you when you do it. This way they will learn it and get accustomed to the task soon.
Cats are super sensitive animals; not all enjoy being brushed regularly. That being said, you can teach your children how to groom the cat safely and properly. Encourage them to carefully brush the cat when they need to be groomed, making it an effective bonding process for your kid and the cat.
A great way to foster bonding between your kid and the cat is by designating a 15-minute playtime for them daily. This is also an effective way to socialize the cats and encourage them to exercise. You can arrange an after-school mini-break when your kids and can spend time grooming or feeding the cat. It is essential to teach your kid how to properly play with the cat. This is important to avoid any accidental bites and scratches.
You can get toys such as a cardboard box fort, a feather wand cat toy, or a smartphone app to engage your kid and cat in playtime. Don’t give them ribbons or strings to play with; if your cat ingests them, there will be a gastrointestinal linear foreign body risk to the cat.
Once your kid is old enough, teach them tricks that they can use to bond with your cat. Older children can teach cats tricks, making it a fantastic bonding experience with the new kitty. Just ensure that your kid knows the proper tricks and can teach them to the cat accurately.
You must take your cat to the vet for annual checkups, even when the cat gets sick. Take your kid along to teach them more about keeping a cat healthy and properly caring for them. This way, they will also be a better caretaker for your cat. Tell your kid to look out for any signs that your cat might be unwell. Then have them accompany you to the vet. Sometimes, kids can pick up on symptoms even before you will.
Your kid will benefit a lot if you practice the above-mentioned tips that will make it easy for them to bond with your pet cat. When you have a kid and a cat at home simultaneously, they must develop a bond to coexist. Your kid needs to develop a sense of responsibility toward the pet, and creating a bond is the best way to do it. The tips above will make it easier for you to oversee the bonding process between your kid and the cat.