A stray cat is meowing at your door for food. He doesn’t appear to belong to anyone. Should you feed him outside, call Animal Control, or simply take him into your home? What if you have children? Should you adopt a stray animal with kids in the house? The first pet we brought into our family home years ago was a stray kitten. Is this safe for the kids? There are many points to consider.
Is the stray really a stray? Sometimes animals escape their homes. Also, some pet owners allow their animals to live outdoors. This is not generally recommended, for health reasons. But many pet owners raise their cats to be outdoor animals. Be sure that the stray animal you adore does not already have a home. You can check this by putting up ‘found’ posters, calling people around the neighborhood, looking through pet lost and found ads, and checking with local shelters to see if any animals have been reported as lost. Once you know the pet has no owner, look at other factors before introducing a stray animal to your kids.
Get a vet evaluation. This is the very first thing you need to do before introducing a stray animal into your home. While living on the streets, animals can pick up many diseases and conditions. They also could be intolerant of children or just people, in general. Do not allow your kids near the animal before doing this. The vet will be able to tell you if the animal needs special care, has any contagious diseases, and more. Even if the stray animal is not dangerous, he may have a disease or condition that could spread to your kids or it may be something you cannot afford to care for. While at the vet, should you decide to adopt the stray animal, be sure to get vaccinations, a spay or neuter, and anything else recommended by the vet.
Evaluate personalities. A veterinarian can give you some insight into this and in stray situations, a vet or local shelter may assist you in experimenting. Some will help set up appointments with family members to be sure the animal is friendly with everyone. Before bringing a stray animal into a house with kids, in addition to the heath evaluation, make sure she passes the friendliness test. Your kids also need to pass the friendliness test when it comes to the animal’s well-being. This can help prevent future unfortunate events.
Practice animal safety. Local shelters often hold animal safety courses for people of all ages. Attend these classes with your kids before adopting the stray animal. Because strays may not always be as tame as others, it is even more vital in this instance. The classes should teach kids how to respect animals, warning signs to look for, as well as proper care, and other important tips. Education is one way to help prevent some accidents that may occur when kids and pets do not interact together properly.
Should you adopt a stray animal when there’s kids in the house? The safety of your children should always come first. Stray pets can be extremely dangerous. Then again, others can be the sweetest animals you’ve met. Adopting stray pets is very risky and the outcome can be on both ends of the spectrum. Our adoption of a stray cat was a positive experience, considering. However, it could just as easily have gone another way. Ultimately, an educated decision should be made with your family, as well as an animal specialist who is experienced in stray animal care. Only after careful consideration and evaluation should you adopt a stray pet into a home with kids.
More from Lyn:
Parents, Please Educate Your Kids Before Adopting a Pet
How to Tell Your Child ‘No’ to Having a Pet
Englewood Family Matters: How and Where to Adopt Pets