Getting a new cat is extremely exciting and it's really important that cats and children are introduced to one another nicely and slowly. Children can become very excited when they see a new animal, and this excitable behaviour can be overwhelming for your cat. If your cat's first interaction with children is unfortunately a frightening one, this can make them nervous in the long term.
Start by having the children sit down calmly in a room and then allow the cat to enter the room and approach the children in their own time. During this first meeting, make sure everyone keeps calm whilst letting the cat explore the room for a little while, before stroking or approaching them. It’s really important not to force any interactions by picking them up, this process needs to be calm and stress free and most importantly, on the cats terms.
Teach the children how to stroke gently
Once the cat approaches the children, show them how to calmly and gently stroke the cat. If the cat wants to leave then allow them this space try again another time. When the cat approaches the children, get the children to hold their hands out and let them sniff and rub up against their hand.
Play time and exercise
As we all know, exercise is extremely important for cats to keep them nice and healthy, and playing with your cats can also be a fantastic bonding experience for both your children and cat. Teach them how to play with each toy so everyone stays safe and remember to allow your cat a break if they get tired.
Not too many treats
We all love a bit of chocolate, and treats are a great way for you and your children to interact with your cat, but just like us, too many treats can be unhealthy for them and lead to them becoming overweight. Use treats sparingly ensuring they only get a responsible number of treats each day.
Allow chill time
Everyone needs a bit of down time now and then, including our cats. Make sure they are allowed time alone away from all this new excitement. If they don’t want to be stroked or play when you or the kids want them too, let them relax on their own and in time they will come back to you for some love and attention.
It’s also important to make sure that you introduce your cat slowly to other members of the family and the rest of the home, so take a look at our guide.