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Toddlers and Cats: How to Help Them Get Along

Having pets from an early age is a beautiful experience that creates great memories for any kid. There's a lot that toddlers can learn from these interactions. And if you adopt a pet from a shelter, you'd also be doing it a huge favor. However, although there's no doubt about this being a positive experience, you should still be aware that there are some downsides. Toddlers and cats might not be the perfect mix seeing how fundamentally different they are. Nonetheless, this doesn't have to be the case. Here are some things you can do to help them get along.

Get them acquainted as soon as possible.

Of course, it would be ideal for your child and the cat to be brought into your home at the same time. That way, they'd explore the same new territory and get used to each other much more quickly. However, this isn't realistic for most people. 

If you want your toddler and your cat to get along, you need to acquaint them as soon as you can. You can do this with the help of some DIY toys. Allow them some supervised play-time, and if you notice any resistance, take a break and relax. Nothing should feel forced. 

A toddler petting a cat. 

Getting your cats and toddlers acquainted as soon as possible is a smart move.

Don't rush into making any decisions.

If you haven't got a cat yet, maybe think about it before you get one. Something that could help you make this decision is taking your toddler to a local shelter. You can then see how they'll react to meeting kittens and if they'll have any problems getting along. Do this several times before taking the plunge.

Supervision is essential for toddlers and cats to get along.

For your toddler and cat to get along, you'll need to put in some time and energy into making them feel comfortable around each other. Of course, this period won't last forever. Try to set a good example for your toddler and show them how to treat pets. However, you'll also need to trust your kid and leave them alone with the cat for a bit. A good trick is taking out the old baby monitor with a camera and setting it up so that you can monitor the situation while you're not in the room. 

A baby monitor that could be used to supervise your toddler and cat.

You could use your old baby monitor to supervise your toddler and cat and make sure that everything is going well.

Set up boundaries

Rules are an integral part of getting toddlers and cats to get along. You have to determine some ground rules and be adamant about them. Only then will the situation be under control.

Be calm

For your cat and toddler to get along and feel comfortable, a calm atmosphere is essential. When it comes to keeping your cat serene, you can try petting it and giving it treats. Also, purchasing an anti-anxiety cat bed is a fantastic option. It'll make your feline friend feel soothed and relaxed. On the other hand, when it comes to your toddler, you need to make them realize that cats appreciate kind and gentle touch and not rough play. It's essential to model the desired behavior often.

Be realistic with your expectations.

No matter what you do to make your child and cat get along, there is no guarantee that things will run smoothly. This is something that you need to consider. Set realistic expectations. Otherwise, you'll be disappointed. 

Additional tips

Some seemingly insignificant things can make all the difference. Therefore, if you want toddlers and cats to coexist, take a look at these tips:

  • Be aware of your cat's body language.

  • Feline's body language can tell you a lot. If you understand it, you can predict certain dangers. There are plenty of online sources that you can use to look up information that'll help. 

  • Teach your child how to hold the cat

  • Approaching and holding cats requires special care. They can be sensitive and timid. The expression scaredy-cat exists for a good reason.

  • Teach your cat to play gently 

  • Your kitten should be calm, too. You need to train it to be as relaxed and gentle as possible. Do this with the help of treats. Also, never play with a cat using your hands. They are natural predators and like to chase, so scratching is inevitable. Indulge that play by using various toys.

  • Get your cat another buddy.

  • If nothing else helps, sometimes having another feline buddy might do the trick. However, don't commit fully right away. Borrow a cat from a friend and see how your pet reacts.

Two cats sleeping on a couch. 

Getting your cat another pet to hang out with might take the pressure off of sharing the space with your toddler.

Keep your child and your cat separated during stressful situations.

It's necessary to keep your toddlers and cats away from each other during stressful times. For example, storm season can be stressful for cats since they're quite sensitive to loud and sudden noise. Take the time to research and even experiment with situations that might make your cat tense. The first thing to do is to allow your cat to run to its hiding place. Teaching your toddler to leave the cat alone is crucial. Cats don't like feeling smothered, and they get bored quickly.

Buy or build a playground where your cat can take shelter. Cats usually attack when they feel they're in danger or provoked. But even in these situations, if they have a place where they can run and hide, they'll take that option instead of attacking.  

Don't neglect your cat's usual routine.

If your child or your cat feels neglected, it could hinder them from getting along. It's usually the cat that loses a portion of attention when a kid comes along. However, it's vital to try to find some time for him/her and maintain the usual routine as much as you can.

Why having a cat is great?

  • Valuable lessons

  • Most of the time, having a cat and a toddler in your home won't be very homogenous. It might not seem like such a great thing, but it actually is. Your kid will learn to deal with injustice and get a better grasp of how to fend for him or herself.

  • Dealing with loss

  • Coping with your pet dying is never easy. However, it teaches you a thing or two about life.

  • Learning about empathy and sharing

  • If you have an only child, this is an excellent opportunity to learn some lessons that they wouldn’t otherwise

Although it isn’t the easiest task, it’s imperative to help your toddlers and cats get along and teach them how to cohabitate. Your child can only benefit from growing up with a pet. And once that unbreakable bond is developed between them, and it most certainly will be with a little time, effort, and patience, you will enjoy watching them grow up together. 

Meta: Having pets and kids can be tricky, no matter how wonderful it is. Here's some advice on how to get your toddlers and cats to get along.

A toddler and a cat.


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