How to Know Child Is Ready to Become a Cat Owner
Not all parents and children understand the responsibility of owning a pet. However, this doesn’t change the fact that almost every child wants to have a furry friend. They start asking for it from an early age, and many parents are hesitant about this decision. Cats can be an amazing addition to your household, yet they require someone to take care of them but also provide them love and play. Is it a good time to get a cat for your little ones? Let’s find out ways you can decide if your child is ready to become a pet owner – and make a furry addition to your family.
Each Child It’s individual
Even though we’ll share some common signs parents will notice when their child is ready to have a pet, you should know that every child is different. It would help if you based this decision on the analysis of your own child, their behavior, and interest in pets. However, the following signals will surely help you decide if you’re on the right track. Getting a pet is a big responsibility, and that’s the reason parents should do some thinking before going for it.
The time to get a cat also comes with the factor of the age of your child. Even though there’s no right or wrong time for this, there are some things you should know. Kids aged 4 or under may still think of their pet as another toy in their playroom. They might squeeze or pet them too aggressively or try to feed them something dangerous. This can lead to hurting the animal. Also, cats are known to have lower levels of tolerance than some dogs, for example. They will probably defend themselves and even scratch or bite the young ones. On the other hand, getting a pet too late may deprive children of some precious moments and lessons they’ll experience together. The age 5 to 7 is probably the most common time for parents to get their young ones a pet, but as we mentioned – it’s all individual.
Your child understands animals are not toys
It’s very important for your kids to understand that cat is not just another furry toy. They should feel good when spending time with their pet, but also know the boundaries and show empathy towards animals. If your child understands that cats need their space, play, and sleep time and that cats have needs – you can be sure they are ready for a new furry friend.
Responsibilities are not an issue
Children of every age should have some responsibilities and do certain tasks according to their abilities. Simple housework tasks are a great introduction to independence and building some great habits for the future. Furthermore, if your child handles those tasks well, they are ready to become a pet owner. However, you should talk seriously about the cat-related responsibilities before the animal arrives. Talk about cleaning, playing, and feeding the cat, and make it clear these will be part of your children’s daily routines. Finally, parents should be reasonable with their expectations. Consider your child’s age before you assume they’ll do everything related to the cat, and assign tasks suitable for them.
Before getting a new pet, make sure you or your kids don’t have any cat allergies. The best way to do this is to spend some time with friends or family who already have a pet cat. Don’t forget that not every breed is the same, so even after you get a cat, make some restrictions before you’re absolutely sure it’s safe to spend all the time together. It’s good to restrict the cat from spending time in bedrooms and avoid kissing or similar contact. Finally, don’t forget to remind your child of the hygiene rules when cleaning after the cat and feeding and petting it.
Your child understands that the cat is there to stay
Another way to determine if your child is ready to become a pet owner is to check if they understand the factor of permanence. Explain that once you get a cat, it will stay with your family for good. Again, pets are not toys but actual family members we can’t just abandon once we’re bored. If you notice that your child gets that idea and is happy about it – start searching for a cat that will become their best friend.
There’s enough space in your home
Your child will be a great cat owner, yet the animal needs the space to live comfortably. In case you decide to relocate, maybe getting a new pet after the relocation is a better idea. Long-distance moves are stressful both for owners and pets, which is why guides for long-distance moving suggest it’s best to plan to get a cat after you move into a new home. Just be sure to start planning on time, cat-proof your new home, and make this move as smooth as possible. Getting a new pet after the relocation can motivate your children to feel good about the move, so parents can expect less drama about leaving the old home.
Test if your child is ready to become a pet owner
The best way to see if your little one is ready to have a pet is to let them spend some time with an animal and see how it goes. However, to do this test you would need more than just a couple of minutes with your neighbor’s cat. Offer to cat-sit for someone you know well. It could be your friend’s cat – ensure your child spends a couple of hours or even days together with that animal. You should be able to see a lot from this simple ‘test’ and decide if it’s a good time to get a cat
It can take a while for your child to learn how to take care of the new cat and get used to having animals in the house. If they forget to do a certain task, don’t think you’ve made a mistake. It takes time to adapt, and this applies to all family members, especially kids. If you’re sure your child is ready to become a pet owner, you can also be sure they’ll become a great pet owner – just give it some time.