Kids love cats, but they don’t always know how to handle them. To make sure your cat and child will be the best of friends, you have to make the perfect introduction. This requires teaching both your child and cat how to engage with each other. These basic tips to introduce your cat to kids can help guarantee that your two-legged and four-legged families get to know each other, getting along for years to come!
Here are 5 tips to introduce your cat to kids
Talk to your kid beforehand
Before making the first introduction, it is always a great idea to have a little chat with your child. Preparing them for meeting your cat is very crucial. A child’s shock and surprised reaction to first seeing your cat might make it feel very uncomfortable. Remember, cats don’t love change. Their reaction could be timid or aggressive, like running away or hissing.
Chatting with your kid before the introduction is also a great way to explain any of these tips beforehand. That way, when your cat and kid first meet, your child will have a preliminary understanding of how to approach your new feline friend.
If you have a baby or toddler who isn’t old enough to have a conversation, it’s best to give your cat a little intro beforehand. Start to place some of your baby’s things around so that your cat becomes familiar with things associated with your child, like their scent, toys, and clothes.
When you are finally ready to introduce your cat and child, remember to host their little meeting in a place with lots of space. Don’t leave them alone – you should be there when they first meet.
Cats do not like to feel trapped. So, the first introduction must be in a space where a cat has an easy way out. Always make sure to leave a door open if you’re not in an open space like a kitchen. This will make your cat will feel calmer. If your cat does run, remind your child to let them go.
In terms of distance for your child, make sure to remind your child to greet your cat from a distance and allow your cat to come to them. This will ensure that your cat is 100 percent comfortable with the situation. Quickly moving towards your cat may make your cat very scared.
Teach kids how to hold a cat
It is important to explain to your child how to safely hold a cat and to notice the signs when a cat doesn’t want to be held.
Explain to your child that cats need to be handled gently. You shouldn’t grab them like a lion grabs her cub from the neck. You should hold a cat’s chest with one hand, and its hind side with another. This is how your cat will feel secure and safe.
The first time your child tries to hold your cat, be there to help them. It will be a great learning experience. Most likely, your cat will want to be let down. This is a significant learning experience, as you can show your child the cues that your cat is uncomfortable before your cat reacts aggressively.
Remind not to tease
Kids and cats love to play, but in their own ways. Oftentimes, what your kid thinks is just playing is actually teasing. This makes cats severely agitated.
From the moment your child meets your cat, prioritize making clear distinctions between playing and teasing. Remind your child that a cat is an animal with different reactions than people. They may not respond well to playing a game of, let’s say, tag. But, they might love to play with a string or even a game of fetch!
Remind your cat of the boundaries
The teaching doesn’t just go for your child, but your cat too! Your cat needs to be reminded of how to safely engage and play with children, especially if we’re talking about toddlers and babies.
A big rule of thumb is to clarify which rooms are off-limits to your cat. This goes especially for those introducing a cat to a newborn or baby. It will take more than one introduction for your cat to be acquainted with your child. So, don’t be surprised if they’re trying to in their room.
The first encounter between your cat and child can be a little nerve-wracking. However, these tips to introduce your cat to your kid will help make you feel more confident that your child and cat may be friends for life.