Cats are the ultimate dream pet for millions of kids. Together they can play, snuggle and provide each other constant companionship. For parents, choosing to get a cat or a kitten is a big decision that requires planning for veterinarian care, litter maintenance, diet, exercise and other essentials. When kids are involved, there should be extra care to ensure a cat will be cared for and respected.
The following resources help you find a feline friend for your kids and plan for his or her care.
Where to Find a Cat
Getting a Cat or a Kitten: Learn the pros and cons of getting a kitten or a grown cat for your child.
Adopting a Cat: This article covers how to choose a cat for adoption as well as how to welcome them into your home.
Fostering a Cat: You can try to test the waters by fostering a cat to make sure a feline companion is right for your home.
Getting a Cat from a Breeder: While there are thousands of cats in need at local shelters and rescues, some families prefer to go for a pure-breed. This guide helps you find the right breeder.
Learning a Cat’s Needs
Finding a Veterinarian: Your cat will need regular vet care, so it’s important to find a doctor now. Don’t forget to spay or neuter your cat. You’ll also want to know where the nearest pet urgent care is.
To Declaw or Not to Declaw?: Declawing a cat used to be standard procedure, but many pet owners are turning toward less invasive ways to deal with kitty claws.
How to Hold and Pet a Cat: This guide helps kids learn how to gently handle cats.
Grooming Your Cat: Learn when and how to groom your cat, including brushing, nail clipping, and bathing.
Wet or Dry Cat Food: Choose wet or dry food (or mix the two) to suit your cat’s individual needs. This article shows the pros and cons.
Exercising Your Cat: Many people assume cats don’t need exercise like dogs do, but staying active is key to preventing health problems and avoiding obesity.
Finding Toys for Your Cat: A good cat toy plays on the feline prey drive, so interactive toys tend to do the best.
Making Toys for Your Cat: Luckily, you can save money on cat toys by re-purposing household items like boxes, string and cardboard tubes.
Teaching Your Cat
Litter Training a Cat: While cats are naturally inclined to use a litter box, they can often have trouble learning how. This FAQ helps you make sure your kitty uses the litter box properly.
Clicker Training a Cat: Clicker training is normally associated with dogs, so it may surprise you to learn that cats can be clicker trained, too.
Teaching Your Cat Not to Scratch Furniture: Instead of relying on declawing, these tips help you train your cat to scratch appropriate toys instead of your furniture.
Here Are Our Additional Tips On Getting Cats For Kids
Cats are known for their laid-back nature that doesn’t require quite as much hands-on care as some other pets. However, they are still a serious commitment, and considering their lifespan ranges up to 20 years, it’s important to look at cats as a long-term responsibility that will be around even after the kids are grown.
As tempting as it may be, avoid choosing a cat or kitten based on ‘cute factor.’ Spend time with the cat to make sure the personality suits the child’s. Known kid-friendly breeds include Birmans, Ragdolls, and Maine Coons. You can find these breeds or mixes of them in nearly any shelter.
Kittens may be extra playful and cute, but many families find adopting an older cat is better for children. They are calmer and already have a set personality whereas you have to gamble on a kitten growing into a playful, child-friendly adult. Adult cats are also less likely to injure or be injured by a child.
Involve the kids in planning a monthly and annual budget for the cat’s care. Include adoption fees, vaccinations, yearly check-ups, food, toys and litter. If you are often away from home, you’ll need to include pricing information on a cat sitter or boarding facility. You’ll also want to help the kids plan an emergency fund.
Consider getting pet insurance for your cat to help cover any unexpected vet bills. They don’t usually cover routine services, like vaccinations, but they can help cover the bigger expenses like surgery and injuries. You’ll also want to make sure your cat is spayed or neutered and microchipped in case they ever get lost. Collars are easy to slip out of once they get caught on something outside, so don’t rely on a name tag.
Many people assume cats need no grooming since they often clean themselves with their tongues. However, many breeds require daily brushing to avoid matting and hairballs, and clawed cats may need nail filing or nail caps applied. This is a great activity for the kids to become involved if they are gentle.