or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Kids under 13 y/o and cats
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Kids under 13 y/o and cats

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
I decided to start another thread as to not hi-jack the thread this came from. Here is the quote I wanted comment on:

Originally Posted by Cheap Sushi View Post
Parents with children under 13 shouldnt have cats IMO. The kids treat the cats like dogs. This really affects the cats in a VERY negative way. Cats need to be left alone. They are NOT dogs. This may tick a few folks off that I said this. But I strongly feel that young kids should not be around cats for an extended period. I said my piece.
I have 3 boys under the age of 7 yrs old (7, 5, 3 yrs old). My kids do not and have never treated Ping like a dog. They have all been taught from a young age how to treat all animals. See my and my husband are huge animal lovers. We have always taught our kids from a young age how to treat animal correctly. Also my father is a big animal lover and had many different animals in his house from the furry kind to the feathered kind to the scaly kind. My kids know how to treat animals correctly.

You need to "get on" the parents who have not raised their kids to correctly be around animals. Not run off at the parents who raised their kids correctly about animals.

P.S. I have plenty of pictures to show how my kids treat Ping from how they play to him sleeping with them at night and when they are sick. He is a cat and they know that and know the difference.
post #2 of 42
I've had cats since I was born, and it was never a problem

My Mum just made sure I was supervised at all times when I was very small, and that I knew how to correctly hold and pet the cats.

I never had a problem once - I always knew my boundaries and that the cats came to me when they wanted me, not the other way round!
post #3 of 42
With children supervision is the most important thing, and how hard they handle pets!
I feel 'Cheap Sushi' raises a good point
post #4 of 42
I've known some kids who are absolutely wonderful with cats! Their parents take their responsibility seriously & show the kids from a young age how to treat cats(& other animals).

I do not feel it is right to deny those kids the joy of cats because there are some out there who do not handle cats well. Parents like you, Ping, shouldn't have to punish their kids by not having cats. Or punish themselves.

On the same topic, I've known cats who are wonderful for first time kids. Who will tolerate anything. Being a shelter volunteer, I help families choose the right cat. I steer rough & tumble kids or first time kitty owner kids towards the "tougher" cats. And that is a great way for them to learn!
post #5 of 42
Thread Starter 
A point yes. But I do feel its unfair to say not cats should live in the home with kids under 13. I feel thats terribly unfair to the cats and the great homes they could have with kids around. Now I admit there are some homes who should not have cats with young kids. But by the same token there are plenty of great homes with parents and greats kids that a cat would love to be in.

Does this look like a kid who treats his kitty like a dog:
when Ping first came to us...climbed up there to sleep..

Or this one around my then 2yr old:

Or this when my other son was then 4:

I have raised my kids to be respectful and loving to all animals.
post #6 of 42
It depends so much on the child and even more so on the parents. I don't have kids myself but I know lots of people with small children and cats whre the relationship between the 2 is lovely. As long as children are taught how to behave around them and are supervised when very young there shouldn't be a problem. Of course it does depend on the cat a bit too - some are more child friendly than others. An elderly cat unused to children and who just wants to sleep wouldn't be happy being surrounded by small children all day long.
post #7 of 42
I have had cats since I was born - we have had cats in our house since my boys were born - my kids have always dealt with the looking after and caring for our mogs and love them dearly - it is all about respect and understanding - it is wrong to say that no kids under 13 should have cats - there are plenty of grown adults out there who shouldn't have cats (or any other animals, come to think of it!!)
post #8 of 42
There can be a potential problem with young children (under the age of 5 or 6) handling animals unsupervised, because their 'grasp reflex' is not under their control until that age, and they may inadvertantly and unwittingly hold an animal too tight.

However to say that children under the age of 13 should not have a cat is patently ridiculous.

I have had budgies all my life, you know, little fragile easily scared yet intelligent birds, much more easy to hurt or terrify than a cat, and as a child I was always allowed to handle them (my uncle bred show budgies and we always had them as pets), and you know what - I never broke any budige, I never scared one, I never did anything that wasn't responsible with them, and neither did my younger brother.

But you know what? When I read stories about animal abuse and neglect, the focus is usually on some ignorant uncaring adult. Not a child. A caring family home can be a great home for pets of any species. An uncaring adult only home can be a recipe for disaster.

Let's not concentrate on the ages of the people who are adopting or taking on pets, but whether they are prepared to have the animal's best interests at heart. I am sure we have had threads started on TCS by people aged 12 or 13 who are concerned that their parents aren't feeding their cat right, or are refusing to take it to the vet.

If there's one thing I've learnt in life, it's this: Don't tar everyone with the same brush.
post #9 of 42
I agree that kids can be taught from a young age to respect animals..

However I would not want Trout around kids who have not been taught that..I would NEVER let my sister watch Trout..(she has a 7 and 2 year old).

Its that grasp reflex that scares me..I don't need my sister blaming me when Trout bites her daughter because she grabbed her tail or something. And Trout WOULD bite or scratch someone who was too rough.
post #10 of 42
I'm not going to quote all that, but good post Epona

Growing up, from at least age 4+, I was the one that fed the pets, made sure they had clean water, bathed the cats if they got into something nasty (no fun for a little kid ), and joy of all joys.. changed litter boxes. I would even walk the dogs when I was old enough, again not an easy task, pitbulls are strong.

I'd find and bring home sick feral kittens and knew very well how to handle them to keep from getting torn to shreds, even at 4 years old.
It's the child's exposure to animals and ability to learn from adults that determines how they behave around them. Parents must make very sure that the child knows they can hurt the animal if they're not careful. And letting the kid take a few scratches in the process doesn't hurt, it teaches respect.
post #11 of 42
Originally Posted by Trouts mom View Post
However I would not want Trout around kids who have not been taught that..I would NEVER let my sister watch Trout..(she has a 7 and 2 year old).

....And Trout WOULD bite or scratch someone who was too rough.
I would let kids handly my Lily or Twitch. Damita gets overstimulated and bites, so no kids. Dory would be great with kids. Ophelia well....yeah. She'd kill a kid. And Molly wouldn't get near one.

I think it does really depend on the cat. Twitch....if they grasped her too hard. She'd growl & bop them on the head. No claws, no biting. She'd be a great first time cat for a kid.

Trout....yeah. She just comes across as way to "Tortie" for kids!
post #12 of 42
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
But you know what? When I read stories about animal abuse and neglect, the focus is usually on some ignorant uncaring adult. Not a child. A caring family home can be a great home for pets of any species. An uncaring adult only home can be a recipe for disaster.
Well, you've just said everything I could hope to say so intelligently and concisely that there's not much more I can add. I think of the above posted pictures, and other ones I've seen in Fur Pictures and elsewhere of children and pets having the most wonderful relationships. I don't doubt that there are plenty of children who aren't properly taught how to behave around animals, but there are plenty of children who are wonderful. If the parent truly cares about their pet, they will teach the child how to properly treat their animal, no matter what the age of the child. And the parent will appropriately supervise the pet/child according to their age.

(Totally off topic, but Epona: Your posts are always so well thought out and intelligently phrased, yet easy to understand. When I grow up (*cough* no comments please), I want to be like you . )
post #13 of 42
My son was born into a household with cats! He learned from the time he was crawling to not be pulling tails, poking eyes, pestering the cats! He's all grown now (over 18) but knows how to handle cats and dogs and how to treat them.

Its the training parents give - not the kids. Most parents don't watch or teach their kids proper animal ettiquet IMO. There are some "wild" kids I would not want to own any kind of pets.

My BIL has one son who surprised me at how gentle he is with cats and dogs - and he's only 5 yrs old - knew how to treat them by age 3.

You can't blanket all kids. I grew up with ALL kinds of animals - I learned how to treat them.

BTW my rex Spooky loved kids of all ages - he was totally cool with standing in the middle of a classroom of 6-7 yr old kids just to be admired and petted
post #14 of 42
As a breeder, I am always leary of placing a kitten in a home with young children. However, I agree that not all children can be painted with the same brush and I also believe that a child's parents have a LOT to do with how a pet will be handled.

I have told this story before, but I am going to tell it again here because it is pertinent to this thread ...

In my first litter, there was a lovely little Blue Point boy whose first three people fell through ... I was ready to keep him myself since no one else had stepped up for him. Then, one day, I got a call from a woman who was near tears telling me that she had contacted so many breeders who wouldn't place a kitten in her home due to the fact that she had a (then) 3 year-old daughter. I was born loving cats and indeed would never turn down a good potential home simply because it contained children. I believe that ALL children should be given the opportunity to know the unconditional love and companionship of a beloved pet. Anyway, I agreed to meet with this woman and her daughter to see how the little girl would behave around the kittens.

The day of the visit arrived and I was enchanted with the little girl from the moment I laid eyes on her, getting out of the car dressed in her tea-party finest, right down to 10-sizes-too-big red high heeled shoes, elbow length white gloves and a huge, red, floppy hat. At the exact moment she entered my home, the remaining Blue Point boy came around the corner and into the kitchen. They both stopped mid-step, the little girl squealed as though only a 3 year-old little girl can and she said, "Oh My! I haven't seen YOU for the LONGEST time!!". Her mother and I looked at each other in astonishment, both of us acknowledging the goosebumps that had come up on our arms. Needless to say, that kitten went home with this family and is a well-loved and much-respected member of their home.

I have taken the liberty of whiting out the little girl's face since I did not gain permission from her mother to post this photo. But I think you can plainly see the love and affection she has for this boy, who allows her to dress him up in her doll clothes and stroll him around in her dolly buggy. He sleeps with her, he cries for her when she is away from the house. They are constant companions, if you see one, the other is not far along behind. I didn't make a mistake placing this kitten in this family and I won't allow anyone to tell me I did. Some things are just meant to be and this was one of them.
post #15 of 42
I read a sign somewhere that said "Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar" I would say the same goes with any animal.

I was raised around animals my children are also. They all know the proper way to pick them up, pet them, and care for them. They value them as people not just pets.

From the youngest age they knew not to hurt them, from the time they coud walk. Mine wont even kill a fly in the house they let them go outside.

I think the younger they are around them the easier it is to show them how to take care of them.
post #16 of 42
Wow, when I think of how empty my childhood would have been without pets! Kids need to learn and parents are responsible for teaching them.

I have a ten year old nephew who was born to be with animals. From the youngest age he just knew how to be with them ... call it empathy, whatever. I tell him he should be a vet

One of his brothers is a terror. Not the kid's fault but he has not been taught and did not come with the same sense of empathy his brother did. He doesn't torture animals, just doesn't seem to acknowledge them the same.

I have a neice, age 13, who loves critters but is so tied up in her teen drama stuff, there is no way she can adequately care for her animals without mom's help.

Personally, I had all kinds of animals when small. I was as gentle as I knew to be and those animals were my best friends. They heard my secrets, slept with me, protected me from whatever monsters dwell in the dark and plotted in many revenge schemes when I was a teen Of course, I was also babysitting 4 siblings from the age of twelve while my mother worked, so being irresponsible wasn't an option.

Children need animals to teach them how to be in the world. Not all parents will teach them. Not all children/families are suitable. The point is rather moot because there is no way we can prevent people from adopting/buying animals. The best we can do is to educate people when we are faced with the opportunity.
post #17 of 42
The day my parents brought me home from the hospital there was a cat in the house and there has been one or more cats in whatever house I've lived in every single day of my life since then.

I have four kids, three of them are under the age of 13 and like me when they were brought home from the hospital there was at least one cat in the house and they were taught the same way I was.
That the cats are not toys, they are living, breathing creatures that have feelings and can be hurt.

Like someone else said, there are some kids who shouldn't be around cats and there are some cats who shouldn't be around kids.
But, the same can be said for adults.

It's not the little kids who just toss a cat outside because they don't want bothered with it.
It's not the little kids who have their cats declawed becasue they're to lazy to teach the cat how to use a scratching post.
It's not the little kids who don't have their cats spayed or neutered and then whine when the males spray all over the place and the females have litter after litter after litter of unwanted kittens who aren't spayed or neutered either and then just simply dumped somewhere to fend for themselves and become feral.
It's not the little kids who shoot stray cats, or poison them or run over then with cars on purpose.
All those things are done by people who are SUPPOSED to be adults and are SUPPOSED to know better.

My three year old knows more about how to treat a cat...or an animal..than some adults do.
post #18 of 42
I'm with the folks who feel that it depends on the kid and, of course, the parents (whether they supervise properly). My furkids don't have access to kids very often; Jake's the only one who might SEE one or two, and that's during walks, and its even more rare for one of those kids to come over and ask to pet him. The cats NEVER see kids. But I have a niece, she'll be 2 in August, and she's coming along nicely. When she's too rough, we'll step in and tell her, "No, be gentle." But sometimes the cat itself can get the message across faster than we can, like if Willow is getting bothered by my niece stalking her around, then she won't hesitate and slap my niece when her hand is getting too close for comfort (Willow never extracts her paws, it's literally a slap, with a hiss). My niece understands it, she pops her mouth open and gawks at the nearest person, saying, "Uh oh!" Molly isn't as slap-happy as Willow, she's more the type to squirm away and run, but if she does slap, its without the nails, like Willow. These confrontations are rare since both cats tend to just disappear when my niece comes over. Buffy, on the other hand, is more child-friendly, and is always hanging around when my niece is here. I can't tell you how shocked I was the first time my niece grabbed Buffy's tail and just hung on. I expected Buffy to squeal and smack her, but instead she just mrowwled and simply tried to walk out of my niece's grasp. When we were aware of the problem, we came to her rescue and my niece let go. Another time my niece was petting Buffy (and Buffy was loving it) and my niece decided to basically put her hand on Buffy's back and shove down, forcing Buffy into a lie-down. Buffy squealed and we came to her rescue, but Buffy still didn't hit or hiss. In fact, when my niece removed her hand, Buffy just stayed in the lie-down position and just looked around, relaxed as can be. Each time my niece does something we deem uncomfortable to the cats (or Jake, my dog), we always enforce the "be gentle" rule. Most of the time she is quite gentle and she very clearly loves the animals, but once in a while, being a child, she doesn't understand what she's doing can be uncomfortable for the cat. Sometimes it helps for the cat to turn and slap her (without claws), but every instance requires one of us to remind her to be gentle. And never ever is she alone with any of the animals; but then again, we only get to see her every other weekend, so we don't leave her alone, period, lol. Of course, I'm sure the situation differs from family to family, since I'm betting other cats out there wouldn't be as lenient, but this is just how it is in my family. We're animal lovers, though (well, most of us, lol), so we simply just hate to see her "abuse" any of the pets. Plus her mom isn't exactly a fan of us (think estranged, with court visits), so we have to be careful for none of the cats to scratch her (the first time Buffy met her, she scratched her cheek, and my niece's mom basically banned all the pets from being around the baby for a few months), and, of course, we're afraid of the big old 60lb dog biting her, lol. But we never really thought about it; it was just common sense to correct her whenever she pinched or slapped or poked one of the animals.
post #19 of 42
I think there is more potential for animal abuse by older kids or adults if they have not been brought up with animals and learned to know them as personalities, capable of feeling love, pain and anger too. But I have known parents who are supposed animal lovers whose kids have no idea how to react to a pet. I had friends with two small girls who were terrible around my cats, no thought as to what to do, until they got a cat of their own, and very quickly they learned to respect him and care for him. And although the younger one still sometimes picks him up wrong, he loves her and folllows her everywhere.
post #20 of 42
I got my cat when she was abandoned her mother at just a few weeks old when I was 9 years old. I acted like any responsible child would when it comes to a new pet and researched how to take care of her properly by reading one of the MANY MANY books they make for children on cats.

It's pretty offensive to hear someone say that children under 13 shouldn't be allowed a cat when at 9 I was the sole care-giver of a cat that needed special attention and by 12 even had her litter box and food in my bedroom.

If someone is raising a compassionate, caring human being there should be no problem introducing them to animals. I think if a child doesn't exhibit these qualities, the parents need to take a good look at how they've brought them up. It doesn't take a genius to know that something smaller than you with needs for caring shouldn't be handled or treated in a rough manner. I feel very strongly it has nothing to do with "being brought up around cats". It's up to the parents to teach the children to be caring individuals who can adapt to any living creature or situation that requires human compassion.

My brother is 12 and got his cat at 5 and has been a caring angel with him since day 1.

This isn't meant to sound rude, it just hit a nerve I think. I saw neighborhood kids when I was small and how they would treat stray animals and it would horrify me. It doesn't depend on the kid, it depends on the parenting of the kid.
post #21 of 42
Take this example:

Family wants a cat. Two kids, mom, dad. Kids are...8 & 10? THey decide a kitten is the way to go. They want to be absolutely sure that the cat they get is good with kids. Which, is reasonable. They meet the kittens we have for adoption. Select one, decide maybe a pair is best. Spent 2 hours talking to me about what to get, where to set things up, where to keep the kitten(s) at first. I reccomend some books. Come back 2 days later decided they want 2 kittens. They have one on hold from a litter of 3. They want to hold the other two to see how they interact with the kids, that is how they decide. One kitten is much smaller than the other two & they decide to go with the bigger one because she is bigger & because the son handled her better(she was easier for him to hold).

The kids then show me the toys they made for their new kittens. Where did they learn how to make the toys? From the books on kittens they bought with their allowance. They get $5 a month....& have been saving for like 6 months each.

You should have been the parents beaming. They had a right to be proud of their kdis. The kids kept asking me if they were holding the kitten right & tons of good questions for how young they were! )
post #22 of 42
Originally Posted by 4BadCats View Post
it is all about respect and understanding - it is wrong to say that no kids under 13 should have cats - there are plenty of grown adults out there who shouldn't have cats (or any other animals, come to think of it!!)
I agree. Every situation is unique. I consider Children future animals advocates, it's important they understand how valuable they are and to have an opportunity to experience the unconditional love only a pet can provide.
post #23 of 42
This was my response in the original thread (to the inital poster, not the poster who made the actual comment):

Aww I wouldnt worry about the idea that cats and small kids are a bad mix. I have worked with animals most of my adult life, and had pets all of my life.

It's not about the age of the person with the pet. There are grown adults who shouldnt' have pets for pete's sake. There is nothing more wonderful (for me, at least) than having my 2 toddlers and sharing/teaching about animals and nature. In fact, I think kids grow more compassionate as a result.

The KEY is how we teach them I take that role very seriously and you know what? Toddlers arent' stupid. They watch US and OUR interactions with our pets and they model. My 2 toddlers know which cat we have that are 'shy' and not to bother with (they wait until they are approached!) They know not to approach a cat when eating or sleeping...and they know how to pet them and are so loving...my cats are more affectionate and tolerant with the 3yr and 2yr old now as a result of working with the dynamics--.it fills me with pride to see these relationships develop

It can take time because not all pets/kids are the same obviously, but nothing worth doing is easy!!! Your son may get more curious about your pets as he grows and every day is a teaching opportunity

As for your situation, again, I applaud you for still working with Samantha. I think only time will help now, consistant routines with her. You are trying to implement a new plan with her and when she gets in the groove it will probably be smoother for all. There may be some trial and error but you'll find something that works for everyone.
post #24 of 42
Well I was brought into a family with a senior cat of 11 , a younger cat and a large GSD dog ... I was TAUGHT ... NO the 11 yr old cat and I were never buddies but we loved each other
post #25 of 42
NO the 11 yr old cat and I were never buddies but we loved each other

Being best buds is a bonus if it happens. You cant' force that part so much. But you can *teach* mutual respect. Hmmm...edited to clarify that I believe a good portion of that respect is earned, from both the pet and the child, so it's both learned *And* earned.

You teach the children, who have the growing human ability to rationalize and understand cause/effect to respect an animal's nature. In turn, the animal will respond with appreciation, if not affection (but that usually does come, even if in spurts).

I want my children to understand, respect, and be comfortable around animals. They will get an occasional scratch--that's ok. Cats react to things and sometimes kids will have merited a 'warning' (experience is best teacher!) You cant' expect mutual harmony when a baby's/toddler's abrupt movements scare or irk cats. But babies are kinda cool because they *grow* and *learn*

pets and kids are pretty amazing in that they are more resiliant, tolerant, and adaptable than we often give them credit for. They usually work things out among themselves with firm and loving guidance from the adults (as one example, cats tend to stay out of a small toddler's way until the toddler is more controlled...or we provide plenty of safe havens for cats to they can 'get away from it all'...indulge in their love for vertical space with a few cat trees and kid-free spaces)

This all said....there are instances where animals and small kids aren't the best mix. It can depend on breed and child age. For example-- look at German Shephard dogs. I *heart* them. And they are great protectors, but usually loyal to a main person in a household. Bringing an older GS into a home with small children isn't USUALLY the best set up.

BUT adopting a GH puppy when you have kids ages 4+....that can be a recipe for a longtime friendship

Each dynamic is different. Common sense. Good parenting. You can't ever BLAME the kids or the pets; we are the link
post #26 of 42
I've some friends who have two young boys. They've a large male cat who tolerates accidental poking with good nature and enjoys playing with the kids. He's wonderful with the kids. He sleeps with the oldest boy and even goes to find their mom when the baby cries.

My cat Friday LOATHES AND DETESTS company. He hisses and growls and attacks and is downright nasty. (Due to diligent efforts for many years he has improved!) Anyway, my friend brought the one year over. He crawled up to Friday, Friday hissed and the baby smiled. Friday was so baffled he didn't know what to do. He let the baby pet him! I nearly fell down. It seems to me that kids might be good for cats!
post #27 of 42
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
I He crawled up to Friday, Friday hissed and the baby smiled. Friday was so baffled he didn't know what to do. He let the baby pet him! I nearly fell down. It seems to me that kids might be good for cats!

That moment had to be a mixture of and

But I am totally smiling....I tell ya--kids and cats (animals) work on a level we can't even reach
post #28 of 42
Originally Posted by Jpawz View Post
That moment had to be a mixture of and
To say the very least! I was holding my breath because I was afraid Friday would scratch at him and I wouldn't get there in time. The baby's mom was MUCH calmer than I was.
post #29 of 42
I posted on teh initial thread - I was brought up with animals until teh age of 16, then a 3 year break, then ever since really. My sis was brought up with them till the age of 9, yet she wouldn't make a good pet owner - but she is very immature for her age, and has different interests. I have homed where there have been young kids, but only after watching how they interact with them, and how the parents supervise them. I homed one earlier this year, and the little girl was telling all her friends at nursery, spent her pocket money on him, shared her tea, and then they curled up on the sofa together. It can be done, but does depend on the child, and the parent. I dont even agree with teh rescues that have blanket policies of no kids under the age of 6, never mind 13.
post #30 of 42
The original post doesn't make sense to me. Why does it presume that kids would default to dog-owning behavior? In my family everyone always had cats... we wouldn't have known what to do with a dog. We'd probably have treated a dog like a cat.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Kids under 13 y/o and cats