When our kids were 3 and 5 the KEPT on going on about wanting a cat, or a kitten. It was pretty constant…
“Can we have a cat, mummy?”
Any parent knows that this kind of constant bombarding really does do your head in. Your imagination runs wild, and you KNOW that the pet will cause havoc. There are so many scenarios in your head involving poo, puke and cat hairs, it can’t possibly become a reality unless you get the best automatic litter tray ever created, that not only deals with the poo, but also feeds, looks after, and generally maintains everything to do with said moggy without you having to lift a finger…right?
We gave in. It was all too much, but actually, eight years later, we haven’t regretted it one bit – and do you know why? Well – we’ve got SEVEN excellent reasons why caving in to the kids about getting a cat has actually really worked for us as a family.
1. A Cat is more empathetic than you think
Our cats are amazing when the kids are having a tantrum; from when they were really, really tiny – they come and pay extra attention to a small person that is having a bit of a cry than they ever do when that small person is just minding their own business. It is a wonderful distraction, and it is amazing how many tantrums our cats have controlled with that well known distraction technique.
2. Cats aren’t as scary as dogs
My son had a massive fear of dog, he’d nearly run into the road before at the sight of a dog, and we really were at our wits end. A few months after getting the cats, he was so much better. Still a little reticent, but there was an understanding built up through having the cats, and pets weren’t as frightening as they used to be.
3. Having a Cat means you are never lonely
I know. Cats do their own thing, but OUR cats like to do their own thing in the room with you. My kids are a little older now, and sometimes they are on their own for short periods. They LOVE having the cats around to keep them company. So do I, in fact, who wouldn’t love a cat sitting on their onesie while they work? I know I do….
4. Getting a cat can reduce the chance of developing allergies or asthma
Believe it or not, there have actually been scientific studies done, including one from the National Institute of Health and another fromChildhood Research Centre that suggests having a cat before your kids can help them to be less likely to develop allergies or asthma. I’m a biologist, and to me, that makes total sense. Introduce the allergens at an early age, and the body gets used to them, rather than trying to “fight them off.” Both my kids are pretty healthy, and though we can’t be sure having the cats is the reason why, it can only have assisted. Sadly, I’m still horribly prone to cold, coughs and general maladies, but that’s probably just me. 🤣
5. Get a cat, have a laugh!
There is nothing more entertaining than a cat; 1million kitten and cat videos can’t be wrong, can they? Our kids LOVE playing with the cats, and even just watching them chase a leaf around the garden (why do they do that), is a lot of fun for them. Who needs Netflix, when you’ve got a cat to watch?!? Though of course, in our house, we’ve got the added distraction of our fabulous printable activities. However, when we are at a loss, we’ve got the cats as back-up these days!
6. Understanding animals’ moods too
One of the first things we taught our kids is to read cat body language. Erm, what the hell are you talking about – cat BODY language?!? Yes, you heard right. Just like us, cats SHOW how they are feeling all the time, and it’s important that we respect those feelings, as otherwise, we might get a scratch. Teaching the kids to read the signs that the cats aren’t in the mood for a stroke, or want to be left alone, or indeed, want a cuddle, is a really important skill for them. Seeing the cat swish its tail fast, so we know its cross, or flatten its ears, so we know, it is frightened; helps our children to understand and look our for the signs in other animals, as well as other people, as to how they feel and to empathise. Having empathy is an excellent trait, and animals help us to develop it.
7. Having a cat teaches responsibility for another living thing
Sometimes I wonder how I have managed to keep my kids alive over the last dozen years. It helps to learn the skills for taking responsibility for another living thing early in life in preparation for the chaos that parenthood brings. Having responsibility for the cats has taught our kids about caring for others well. Though it is possible that if we left it to the kids, there may be the odd meal missed for our moggies….they aren’t always the best at remembering to feed them. They always remember to give them a cuddle though 😉
We hope you like this advice – almost as much as we love our cats! If you do, do sign up to our newsletter, as we’d love to have you.
Thanks as always for coming to visit us, and we hope to see you again soon.
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Thursday 13th of December 2018
I agree entirely Helen, mu old cat was 18 when he passed away and we felt such a void so now have a 10 week old kitten and he is definately a distraction from whatever else you are feeling.