Children love animals. Love and respect for animals is a wonderful thing that can grow over the years. A bond between child and pet can be profoundly strong. This is one reason why many kids have dreams of living on a farm at one point in time. Having cats, dogs, chickens, horses, and all of the other wonderful animals that grace our planet can be a wonderful experience. But most of the time kids will settle for a cuddly kitten.
This year, millions of parents will look into the eyes of a fuzzy, cute, innocent kitten that their child so desperately needs. What will the decision be? Will this kitten have a new home, or be on his way to the next set of unsuspecting parents? Will you be one of them? If you are, take a few moments to look past the kitten’s cuteness and your child’s smiling face. Too many cute kittens become stray cats with no home as a result of a hasty decision made by a parent wanting to make their child happy.
Before making this decision, discuss the personality of cats to your child. Kittens are playful and sweet, but they grow into independent cats that outgrow this playful stage. Your child must understand this before taking the next step in this decision. If a child wants a kitten that will play and never stop, this is an unrealistic expectation. Losing interest in a new member of the family is not good for the cat or your child.
The next thing that must be explained to your child is that cats are a lot of work. As independent as they are, they cannot feed themselves or clean their own litter box. If your child is very young, they will not be able to do this as there are specific health risks associated with cat feces. Pregnant women are especially at risk for developing toxoplasmosis. Young children and unborn babies can develop eye problems and brain damage from this parasite.
Cats need shots and should be spayed or neutered. An unspayed female cat can get pregnant easily and a male cat that does not get neutered will mark his territory indoors and outdoors, smelling up your home and yard. Not to mention hairballs and possible illnesses that may arise with any pet.
It is very important that your child understands that a cat’s claws and teeth are very sharp and can cause everything from small scratches to painful puncture wounds. Never leave a toddler alone with a cat as they can hurt each other. The last thing anyone wants is for harm to come to their child. You will want to teach your child the proper way to pick up and hold a kitten, as they are very fragile. Hold the kitten by the chest and support the back legs to pick him or her up safely and comfortably.
If you decide to adopt this kitten, remember that you have a responsibility to provide it with the best care. If your child loses interest in the cat once they are less playful and the honeymoon stage wears off, you will be caregiver to the cat. For your child, it is unfair to allow them to bring them to the local shelter when they are done playing with the cat. This teaches your child poor work ethic and poor social skills. You can use this opportunity to teach your child responsibility and life skills. You can watch your child bond with this beautiful animal. Watching your child care for another living being and experience the pride that comes with such duties. What a priceless and beautiful thing for a parent to see!
Using the information provided, your decision to adopt a kitten may be a little easier for you. Once you decide to welcome a new pet into your family, that decision should not be changed. For your sake, your child’s sake, and the sake of the animal, make an educated and logical decision that works for you and your family.