Infants, Toddlers and Kittens
Important Information for Parents
A PET IS NOT A TEMPORARY PLAYMATE FOR CHILDREN,
BUT A LIFELONG FAMILY MEMBER
a pet just to teach a child responsibility is not a good idea. Pet
experts recommend that young kittens are not appropriate for children
under age five and suggest a child should be at least six years old
before having a pet.
Young kittens are not always the best choice for homes with an
infant or toddler as young children usually don't have the patience or
maturity to handle kittens responsibly.
The best way to teach your children how to be responsible pet
caregivers is to be one yourself. This should start before you even get
a pet by selecting the right animal for your family at the right time.
Please take the time to consider whether a young kitten is the best
choice for you and your family.
TIME AND ENERGY Caring for a
kitten is a lot like caring for a baby. They require significantly more
time to supervise and care for than an older cat. The first six months
are vital to the development of a kitten. Many households are not able
to provide what is needed during this time of learning and growing.
Kittens that aren’t properly taught and cared for may not grow up to be
well-adjusted adults. If you have a young child that already requires a
lot of care and time, you should ask yourself if you will have enough
time to properly care for a kitten as well.
KITTENS ARE FRAGILE A kitten in
not a toy!! Young kittens are fragile creatures that may be too
delicate for an exuberant toddler. Small children are often too rough
on kittens because they have not yet learned how to treat creatures
smaller than themselves.
A young child may inadvertently cause serious harm to a kitten. A
kitten’s tiny body can be easily broken or crushed. A common injury in
kittens is broken bones from rough play and death from being squeezed
There is no way to predict how a kitten will react to a child that
wants to constantly pick him up, hug him, pull on his tail, ears, feet,
or whiskers. If frightened, held too tightly or forcibly restrained, a
kitten may view this as a threatening gesture and react with scratching
or biting the child.
It's important to help your child see the world through your pet's
eyes. How would you child feel if someone poked at his eyes or pulled
his ears. Even the most docile pet has limits, and all animals must be
treated with caution and respect. To protect both your child and your
pet, it's critical that an adult supervise all pet-child interactions
to insure the experience is a positive one -- for both kids and kitten.
ROUGH PLAY Kittens have
extremely sharp teeth and claws. Biting and other rough play is natural
play for a kitten. A rambunctious, teething kitten may not be suitable
for an infant or toddler. If a child plays too rough with a kitten they
could get scratched or bitten. Kittens also tend to climb on small
children and accidentally scratch. Punishing your kitten for
inappropriate behavior will not help. If he learns that being around
children results in “bad things” happening to him, he may become
defensive in their presence.
WHAT IS A “GREAT KIDS CAT”? A
cat about one year old with an established personality is the perfect
pet for families with young children. A one year old cat is barely out
of kittenhood with plenty of spunk and energy. A one year old cat is
better able to cope with children and their fast, unexpected movements
and loud noises. It will be more patient with young kids, and best of
all, knows when to walk away from interactions that are too much for
either of them.