Cats and kids

Cats and kids can make the perfect relationship, if managed correctly.

Cats tend to be naturally cautious and wary of loud noises and fast movement, often considering them to be a threat.

Of course, both of these go hand in hand with young children, so any introduction of a cat to a family home and to children has to be managed well and sensitively with the cat front on mind.

One of the best tips is to set up escape routes for the cat.

When cats come to the National Cat Adoption Centre for rehoming, it can be because they have failed to settle well with children.

Often this is partly due to the absence of an escape room or route, somewhere safe for the cat to take itself away when a situation that gets too much for it.

A slow introduction to children in the home is the best way to achieve a happy and relaxed outcome, and should be supervised by an adult.

Children must be taught how to behave around a cat, to limit stress and any associated behaviour in the cat.

Cats will give off subtle signs that they are getting stressed and anxious in any interactions - from flicking or swishing their tail, their ears becoming flatter or their pupils getting larger.

It is wise to teach children these subtle signs, so they can stop any interaction that is causing stress to the cat. 

Our pictures show a good relationship being cultivated between a recently adopted cat and his new owners.

In supervised play, an interactive toy that allows distance between the cat and child is the best option.

Toys on the end of string or a rod are great, as these toys replicate the hunt and release endorphins in the cat. At the same time, a bond is formed between the child and cat.

Also, it can be good for cats to go outside at their free will, and providing a cat flap can be a good idea.