How to Select The Best Cat for a Child’s Pet

While a cat should never be considered to be owned by a child, many parents want to bring home a pet cat when they have children. This article is about selecting the right cat for a home with kids.

The best place to look for a new pet cat is your local animal shelter. They have far more selection than anywhere else, are generally more honest (because they want the cat to get a good home, not because they just want to get a sale), and have good guarantees and policies.

Cats at the local shelter sometimes come with information, so you might even be able to find out if the cat lived with children before and how it behaved towards them.

If you are concerned about finances adopting an adult cat who is already spayed or neutered, and vaccinated, is a more cost effective than getting a “free” kitten and having to take it to the vet yourself. Additionally there are concerns when bringing home free kittens in that they may have worms, fleas, or be sick. It is terrible to bring home a pet that has not been checked by a veterinarian prior only to discover it has a heart defect. As such any new cat you get should have been checked by a veterinarian prior, and been wormed, and had at least one set of vaccinations.

If you are able to visit the shelter to pick out your cat, or if you are visiting the home of the cat, be sure to hold the cat you are considering. You should hold any cats you are considering, and you should allow your child to hold the cat too assuming they are old enough and know how to hold cats correctly (by supporting them from underneath). Some cats like being held more than others. If the cat you are looking at doesn’t like to be held, then it is best not to get that particular one if you think your family wants a cuddly cat, select another.

Which is best with kids, a Kitten or Cat?

Adult cats are best to get when you have young children. Kittens are very claw aggressive, not only will a kitten scratch a child (read about cat scratch disease), but the child can hurt a young kitten if they hold it too tight, drop it, or are rough with it, where as an older cat will simply leave.  Generally adult cats are better with kids, but you need to visit the cat with your child to be sure the cat is good with kids and not afraid of them.

Which is more friendly, a Male or Female Cat?

Neither are more friendly than the other if they are spayed or neutered, although male cats who are not neutered can be more aggressive, and unspayed female cats can be moody.

What Color Cat is more friendly?

Color does not affect cat behavior, this is strictly a matter of personal taste.

Are Declawed Cats better with kids?

In some areas declawing is illegal. You should know that declawed cats often become nervous biters and are often more flighty around children.  Click here to read more about the other side effects of declawing a cat.

What Breed of cat is best with children?

In general breed does not matter so much as the individual cat.  The ragdoll cat is noted for often being easy to carry, but domestic (not purebred) cats make excellent pets too!

Should I get a Long Hair or Short Hair cat?

Again this is a matter of personal taste, but a long haired cat may require more brushing.  Long haired cats shed just as much as short haired cats but you notice the hairs more.

Does my child have Allergies to cats?

Some parents may be concerned that their child has allergies to cats. This is best determined before you bring the cat into your home. You can have an allergy test done by a doctor if you truly suspect allergies. One way of determining if a child has allergies to cats is by visiting cats one day and waiting to see if the child has any reactions by the following day. You can visit a friend’s cat, or cats in the animal shelter.

If you pick a cat you like while at the animal shelter have them hold it for you to adopt the following day while you wait to see if your child develops any symptoms, you can also use some of this time to get your home ready for the cat and to get cat supplies.

If you have any other tips for people who are looking to get a cat for their family, please share them in the comments area below.  You can also share your cat adoption success stories.

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  1. webseowriters

    On July 4, 2011 at 6:16 am

    An interesting share

  2. martie

    On July 4, 2011 at 11:16 am

    As always good, clear, positive infomation people can really use when choosing a pet.

  3. dino renaldo

    On July 5, 2011 at 5:08 am

    nice share Brenda……thanks

  4. BluSphere

    On July 5, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Great article! I’ll bookmark this and read it in some months whenever I move to my own place and get a little lovely cat.

    Best regards,
    BluSphere

  5. Games FTW

    On July 6, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Great stuff!
    I’ll definitely be reading more of your articles in the future!

  6. Minister Marlene

    On July 8, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Yes, I hope folks please go to the shelters to get their pet. There are just too many animals in shelters. Everyone seems to want a kitten but by your advice it is true kittens not too good for small kiddies.Speaking of unfriendly cats, the Siamese cats are very stand offish. it seems…

  7. PR Mace

    On July 10, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Good useful article.

  8. this is very nice site

  9. Joe

    On September 3, 2012 at 6:59 am

    I’ve always been worried about that parasite cats can pass on to people – toxoplasma I think its called. I had a cat as a kid but now I’m reluctant to get one for my own children since hearing scare stories about it.

  10. Brenda Nelson

    On September 5, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Joe – Toxoplasma is spread by cats only after they have been exposed to a mouse with the same thing, as such cats who are indoors only and not exposed to mice will not get it. You can also get it from raw meat.
    http://gomestic.com/pets/toxoplasmosis-a-misunderstanding-that-kills-cats/

  11. Heidi

    On September 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    That is a wealth of information. Thanks for posting.

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  12. Peter Kaczmarzyk

    On December 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Our cat has died a month ago and he was a saint, allowing the kids to play sometimes not cat-like games. Raising a child, whether it is a boy or a girl has its challenges, but they are in most cases, not much different from raising a child with Down syndrome. Emilia was born 4 years ago with Down syndrome and not only she has been a delight, but turned out less challenging to raise than her five other siblings.
    A child with Down syndrome can flourish and be an independent, happy and productive adult if given a chance.

  13. Tony

    On January 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Very informative. Thanks for sharing everyone!

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  14. Anne

    On January 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Awesome piece of news ! Thanks for a nice article. I am sure many parents like me follow your advice before getting cats at home

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