How to Teach Our Children to Respect Cats

by Jenny Holt, Freelance Writer
If you do not have pets, but you have children, then a time will come when the demand is made for you to get the former. Sometimes this is just an innate desire, sometimes it comes from seeing movies or TV shows or YouTube videos of cats falling in bins or being scared of cucumbers, or it comes from the social pressure of peers with pets. Whatever the reason, it’s natural for a parent to be wary as you do not know if your kids will respect the cat and how long they will look after it before it becomes one of your duties, not theirs. There are many ways to teach children to respect animals before you consider buying or rescuing one.

Before You Get Your Kids a Pet Cat

The best thing any parent can do when preparing their children to have a pet cat is to set a good example. This does not only mean being kind to cats you see or who come into your garden, but talking well about them too. Kids pick up on a lot of what adults do and say, and they use this to model their own behavior. Move this on to reading books about animals together, include TV shows and movies too, and let them express their interest in animals through art or imaginary pets.

Respecting Animals in General

It’s vital that what they learn is applied to all animals in general and not just cats. This ranges from creepy crawlies up to dogs and beyond. Starting with good examples it could mean humane traps for spiders then releasing them into the garden. It could mean taking children to see animals in their natural habitats, the wild, or observing them in the back yard. It’s up to you whether you consider zoos and farms as suitable places or not. Though one thing which is good is to not take them to see circuses or water parks where animals perform. Explain to them why it’s not good for the animals. Together you can also spend time picking up litter which might harm animals, so they understand the consequences of littering.

Introducing Your Cat to Your Kids

First, it’s important for children to interact with the cat they are going to adopt. A good way to do this is to take them to a shelter. This way they get to meet cats, see their different personalities and learn about them. It is also a good opportunity to teach them how to pet and stroke cats in the right way. Reinforce all good behavior with compliments and praise. They may fall in love with one particular cat or a pair, while knowing a little about them and their past. Hopefully by now your children will have a great respect for your new cat(s), but take it easy. Make sure they keep their responsibilities and allow the cat their freedom to be who they are.