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Bringing a new kitten into your family is bound to be an exciting time, but should you be worried about introducing him to your kids? The answer is No; as long as you follow these essential tips for introducing a new kitten to kids, you’ll have a well-adjusted kitten and children who know how to respect animals.
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Take it Slowly
Your new kitten is likely to be overwhelmed by his new surroundings; add excitable children to this and it can be a bit too much. Your children are bound to be thrilled with their new playmate, but you should make sure that they understand that they have to take their time in getting to know him. This will obviously be more difficult the younger the children are, but instilling a respect for animals and an understanding of how to treat them when your kids are young is a great start in life.
Being handled at a young age will help ensure your nervous kitten turns into a confident, well-socialised cat, but it has to be gentle. Young kittens are delicate, despite what you might think after seeing him racing around the house at the speed of light.
Get Down to His Level
Encourage your children to lie down on the floor to meet your kitten; it’s less threatening for your kitten to have everyone on his level, and he’s more likely to feel comfortable approaching you and your children.
Set the Ground Rules
As we all know, children can get noisy when they’re over excited, and what could be more exciting than a cute little kitten? Make sure that they know to speak in soft voices, without squealing, screeching or screaming around him, because the last thing they’ll want to do is scare him! Other understandable ground rules should be no pulling of tails and no squeezing too hard (no matter how cute he is!).
Get the Kids Involved
Depending on their ages, give your children responsibility for different aspects of looking after your kitten, for example feeding time, changing litter and coming on visits to the vet. Apart from making them feel involved, it’ll also teach them about responsible pet parenting.
The Right Way to Play
Once kitten and kids have been properly introduced, and your kitten is more comfortable with the whole family, it’s important to teach your children the right way to play with cats. Playing rough is a bad idea, even though a little kitten’s claws won’t make much of an impact now – when he grows up and wants to carry on playing rough, it could end in tears!
Keep an Eye on Proceedings
Make sure that any time together is supervised until you’re absolutely certain that your children know exactly how to behave and handle the kitten.
Once your whole family is comfortable with the new kitten, you’re well on your way to having a well-socialised cat, respectful and knowledgeable children, and an all-round happy family!
How have you introduced a new kitten to children? What tips do you have ?