4 BIG Questions To Ask Before Choosing A Cat For A Pet For Your Child

Even though dogs are often given more credit as being one of those pets that children should grow up with, cats can be just as much of a companion for your child as any canine. Cats may not be the type of pet that will be protective or play fetch, but they could easily become one of your child's best friends. However, choosing the right cat for a child is a process that should take a fair amount of thought on your part as a parent. Here are four questions you should know the answers to before you head to the shelter to adopt a kitty for your kiddo.

1. Is your child old enough to properly handle a cat?

If you have an over-zealous toddler who would be more interested in picking a kitty up by its ear than holding it correctly, you should not be adopting a small kitten who has not yet fostered enough of a defense mechanism to know when to run. Look for a mature cat that is docile and gentle, but big enough to get away in a hurry if you have a little one lacking proper judgement about holding a cat.

2. Does your child have sensitivities to pet hair or dander?

Some children are outright allergic to cats, while other are just a little sensitive to their dander. If you have a little one who has allergies on any level, it is best to go with a short-haired kitty who probably will not shed as much when being handled. Likewise, some cat breeds are known to be hypoallergenic, or not cause allergic reactions in humans like most breeds, such as the Balinese or Russian Blue.

3. Will your child be expecting cuddles or playtime?

Each cat has their own personality. Some cats are more high-energy and love to dart around the house and play, while other cats are less into play and more into cuddles and attention. Try to find a cat that matches as closely as possible to your child's personality. A kid who barely sits still will likely be more impressed with a cat who boasts the same kind of personality.

4. Does your little one have other pets?

Considering the other pets your child already has should be a big part of the process if you are planning to get a cat. Not doing so could cause big problems. For example, if your child already has a pet parakeet, adopting a mature cat who has never been exposed to a pet bird could be an outright, feather-flying catastrophe. But, adopting a kitten who will grow up around the bird will probably be no big deal. If your child already has a pet, make sure you choose a cat type that will fare well with that pet in particular. For more information about pet care, contact a clinic like Pilot Knob Animal Hospital.