Benefits of Having a Cat for Children

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: April 6, 2017
Benefits of Having a Cat for Children

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If you are a parent or soon to be one, you have probably seen (on more than one occasion), other parents scolding their children when they try to approach an animal; be it a dog, cat or any other animal.

This approach, undoubtedly meant as a way to protect children from possible bites or diseases, usually responds to the belief that animals are dirty or dangerous. However, this behavior transmits the idea that animals are something to avoid and mistrust, or even to be afraid of.

At AnimalWised we know that this type of prevention is unnecessary, and could in fact be harmful to the child's development. In this article, we will talk about the benefits of having a cat for children. You will be surprised at how positive having a pet can be!

You may also be interested in: 10 Benefits of Having a Dog

Should you have a pet if you have children?

Before the arrival of a baby, many parents worry about how their pet will react to the new family member. When they have a cat, they wonder whether the pet could hurt the child by scratching or biting them, or if their mere presence is capable of causing allergies and infections.

The same is true when the kids are older and the parents are thinking of getting them a pet. The concern of whether an animal could be dangerous or harmful to children is always present and the risks must always be considered.

However, a cat is one of the best pets for a child.

You must be aware of the responsibilities that keeping a cat entails: check-ups with a vet, specific food, regular cleaning and grooming, time and affection, etc. If you can cover their needs, though, the cat will reward you and your family many times over. In fact, having a cat has many benefits for children!

Benefits of Having a Cat for Children - Should you have a pet if you have children?

Health benefits of having a cat

The Kuopio University Hospital in Finland is one of many that have conducted experiments with pets and babies, showing that their presence in the home greatly reduces some health risks. If you want your children to develop their defenses and strengthen their immune system, having a cat is the ideal way to achieve it.

As parents, we try to protect children from everything around them, from unpleasant situations to dust and dirt. We do not mean that you should abandon your children to their fate and neglect them, but that part of their development involves facing things they will find in the outside world; like some dust and cat hairs. If you want to prevent them from becoming allergic adults, a cat is an ideal choice.

In addition, there are many studies that point out that having a cat can prevent cardiovascular diseases. Cats calm our nerves, relieve stress and combat depression thanks to the grounding, calming pleasure of stroking them and hearing them purr. Both your children and you will benefit from this!

If you have a child with autism at home, having a cat as a pet could help them to communicate and relate to other people, since the effectiveness of animal therapy has been proven in many occasions.

If you have a cat, you will notice the amount of funny scenarios that they will get themselves in. Your home will be filled with laughter and fun anecdotes, and that is also a well-known source of health benefits!

Benefits of Having a Cat for Children - Health benefits of having a cat

Learning benefits of having a cat

The cases of abandonment and animal cruelty are not decreasing as the years go by; as a parent, it is your job to teach your children to be better people, to nurture their respect and love for animals and to foster their empathy and communication with all living beings.

With a cat at home, your child will learn the responsibility of caring for a living being that, like themselves, needs food, shelter and affection. Your child will feel important by knowing that the cat needs them; allowing them to participate actively in their pet's care will help them grow up and understand the importance of protecting those in need.

The child will also learn to respect the space of others, as cats sometimes do not want to be bothered. They will become more sensitive and attuned to other people's needs, including learning when it is best to leave others alone.

Your child will certainly love their cat, and they will become faithful companions. If their relationship is positive, the cat will become attached to the child as well, watching over them as they would with any member of their clowder.

Benefits of Having a Cat for Children - Learning benefits of having a cat

Tips to raise a child with a cat

Before deciding to adopt a cat, you must first teach your child that they should not disturb them or treat them like a toy: pulling their tail, for instance, must be forbidden to prevent accidents. Cats are living beings that deserve respect, and making sure your child understands that is key to happy cohabitation.

In establishing your children's limits you will also set your cat's, teaching them where they can go and where they can't. In order to maintain your cat's health, you will have to keep their spaces clean, wash their utensils regularly and take them for visits to the vet. Sharing these tasks with your child will help them learn what it means to care for someone and how to prevent infectious diseases.

Do not forget to set a good example: go to a shelter to adopt the future member of the family. Choosing a homeless cat over a pedigree cat says a lot about you, and it will help your child know and value what really matters.

Now that you know the benefits of having a cat for children, don't miss the following articles:

Benefits of Having a Cat for Children - Tips to raise a child with a cat

If you want to read similar articles to Benefits of Having a Cat for Children, we recommend you visit our What you need to know category.

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