A cat can bring endless amounts of joy into a home, especially one with young children in it. It is important to teach children how to interact with and take care of their furry friend in a way that is safe for both of them. Like humans, cats have their very one unique personality. Some love lots of attention, while others are independent and like to be left alone. It is important to recognise the personality of your cat and teach your child accordingly.
It is also important for children to help take care of a cat. This will not only bond them, but will also teach them a sense of responsibility. Here are a few tips on teaching young children how to interact and take care of a cat.
Interacting with Cats
Create a safe environment
Cats are great at picking up moods of the people around them, so it is important to create a safe environment for your cat before teaching young children how to interact with them. This includes having a safe place for your cat to hide if it decides it has had enough. The cat should feel safe and relaxed before any child touches it. Children can get excited and energetic, so it is important to teach them to be calm around a cat. They should also never chase a cat. If it runs away it wants to be left alone.
A cat will let you know if it wants to be touched or left alone. When a cat swishes its tail, its tail fluffs out or it is tucked underneath them, it means to leave it alone. It is important to teach children these signs to ensure that they don’t annoy or anger the cat and end up getting scratched. When it is safe to touch the cat, show them how to use an open hand and softly stroke the cat’s back, shoulders and tail. It is important to always supervise children when they touch a cat until the cat becomes comfortable with them.
Taking Care of a Cats
Giving young children cat chores is a great way for them to bond with the cat and teach them a bit of responsibility. Cat chores should be age appropriate, with more added to the list as they get older. Young children can do things like clean and refill the water bowl every day and assist in feeding. They can also give the cat treats when appropriate. As they get older, new tasks can be added, like grooming or being the one in charge of feeding it.
Children should not only learn how to read a cats mood, but also why they need to take care of the cat. Educate them on what will happen if the cat isn’t given fresh water or food. It is also a good idea to involve them in the health of the cat by taking them along on vet visits.