Kittens and kids can make the most of friends. They can play, cuddle, and have endless conversations. But the cat is more than a best friend – she is a dependent member of the family, and even a young child can help.
“When children are involved in housework from an early age, they learn responsibility and become responsible pet owners,” says author and mother Stephanie Campisi. “It also helps them develop relationships with pets, which is more complex than passive play. It helps them understand that a pet is someone with needs. “
Some tasks can also help develop a child’s sense of independence and improve their motor skills. Stephanie shares three ways your child can help care for your cat.
Cats, especially those kept indoors, need exercise. You can do this through one of your child’s most popular pastimes: playing.
“It allows movement and engagement and allows them to bond with the cat,” says Stephanie.
You should monitor this to make sure the cat does not bite or scratch your child and that your child is gentle with the cat.
“Make sure your child knows not to be rough with the cat … and that they are playing with toys,” says Stephanie.
Certain toys are better than others. Toddlers often explore with their mouth. Stephanie advises herself to ask: will my child put this in their mouth? In this case, catnip toys are not recommended, but a large ball with a bell inside might work.
Related: 5 DIY Projects You and Your Children Can Make For Your Cats
“[The child] can practice their coordination, rolling and throwing skills, ”says Stephanie. “It’s also a toy that separates them from the cat so they don’t get too close to the cat’s mouth or claws.”
The child can also choose a toy for the cat in the store.
“It allows them to be independent and choose how to play with their pet,” says Stephanie.
As soon as the playtime is over, it is good for the child to put the cat toy away.
“It’s really easy and something that doesn’t require a lot of control,” says Stephanie.
It will make your life easier too.
Feed the cat
A cat’s drink of choice is water, but sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life you forget to check if the dish is full. You can hold your child responsible for this task.
“Really young kids can just bring the dish to you when they’re empty,” says Stephanie, adding that if they use an automatic feeder, they can also check that it works once or twice a day.
Older children can feed the cat and refill the water bowl.
Related: How To Feed Cats: Are We Doing It Wrong?
Cats, especially long-haired ones, can benefit from good brushing. Children can help with this, but you should supervise, especially if you and the child are still working on what it means to “pet nicely”.
Children don’t know any better yet, and their motor skills are not as well developed, so they may grab the cat’s fur or ears instead of petting them gently. You may also not be able to hold a brush.
“Grooming gloves can be good if they can’t hold a brush,” says Stephanie.
You can also put your hand on your child’s and brush the cat together.
Featured photo: FamVeld / Getty Images
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