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The Top 5 Cat Breeds For Kids

cat kitten tabby kids children family friendly

Cats and children can get along famously with the right guidance

When picking out a new furry friend, it is important to make the right choice for your household. For some, the most important thing is choosing a cat that gets along with dogs; for others, a cat that is low maintenance is of utmost importance. However, if you’ve got a household with children in it, you’ll want to bring home a kitty that will do well with your children. Cats can be great companions for children of any age.

Besides their breed, there are certainly other factors that go into a cat’s willingness to tolerate and get along with children. Some of the most important factors of a cat’s behavior include:

Age: A cat’s temperament and behavior changes over time along with their age. A kitten may have no idea how to peacefully interact with adults and children alike. Many kittens can’t distinguish between play and real fighting and can end up biting or scratching harder than they intended to. On the other end, elderly cats often become senile and may behave in a similarly inappropriate manner.
Background history: For any animal, early exposure to humans is key when it comes to socialization. If you are adopting an adult cat, you may be able to get information on their background and be able to select a cat that is notable for getting along with children. Most cats can learn trust and tolerance over time, but the earlier and more exposure that any given cat has had with children, the more likely they’ll be able to get along. If you’re getting a kitten, it is important to socialize them early on and teach them desirable behaviors.
Health: One of the most common symptoms of a cat with a health problem is a change in their behavior; usually negative. If a cat has a health problem that is causing them pain, they will likely have a shorter temper and therefore be less tolerant of children and playtime.

As you can see, many factors go into a cat’s willingness to get along with children, and you can’t bank on one breed being guaranteed to get along with children. However, certain breeds have been known over time to be extra calm, outgoing, and tolerant of children. The following breeds are our suggestions for cat-friendly felines:

Maine Coon: The Maine Coon is the largest housecat in the world. These gentle giants are known to be calm, patient, and easygoing. They’ll still play and entertain your household, but would rather take a nap and hang out than explore most days. Maine Coons have long, fluffy fur and require brushing so that their hair doesn’t become matted, adding a bit more responsibility than a short-haired cat. However, this responsibility could be a great lesson for a child.

American Shorthair: American Shorthairs are the most common kind of cat found in the U.S. These cats’ personalities can vary greatly, but a well-adapted and socialized American Shorthair would be a great cat for a family. They come in every color that a cat can be, giving you lots of options for aesthetics. American Shorthairs are known to be energetic and outgoing,

Ragdoll: Ragdolls are not only adorable, but kind and silly. They get their name from the breed’s peculiar habit of flopping in a ragdoll-like manner when picked up. This is a great trait for a cat to carry, especially in a family with children who will most likely want to pick the cat up. Their ragdoll nature makes them less fussy and less likely to use their claws or teeth to get out of a situation.

Persian: Persian cats like to be the life of the party and the center of attention, which could work out well for a family with playful children. Their squishy faces and fluffy tails are endlessly entertaining to look at, and they only require a medium amount of maintenance depending on the length of their hair. Persians are usually very tolerant in nature, and would be great with kids.

Abyssinian: One reason an Abyssinian would be a great cat for a household with children is their brave nature and outgoing personality. Abyssinians are known to thrive in family situations, as they enjoy the constant energy and stimulation. They may not be lap cats, but they’re great for endless entertainment and lots of playtime.

cat kids children orange tabby

This kitty appears to be very child-friendly!

Regardless of what breed you decide to go with, kids need to know how to interact with a cat if they’re going to try to befriend one. No matter how well-socialized your cat is, or how much they’ve enjoyed kids in the past, it is important to teach your kids how to behave appropriately with a furry friend. Even the nicest cat can snap when being tickled too hard or having their tail pulled. The following are some tips to teach your children in order to keep the peace between them and your cats:

Never pull a cat’s tail, paws, ears, or other extremities: This one may seem obvious, but for a child who isn’t familiar with felines, this is rule number one.
Always let a cat sniff you when first greeting: Whether you’re greeting a cat that you’ve known for years, or meeting a new one, you should always let a cat sniff you upon first greeting. This way, you can get a sense of the cat’s mood and let them set the tone for affection.
If a cat seems agitated or annoyed, don’t push it: Sometimes it is hard to explain to kids why a cat wouldn’t want to play with them, but once they learn to be patient and let the cat come to them, the relationship can begin to form.
Be patient when meeting a new cat: Similar to leaving an agitated cat alone, it’s important to be calm when meeting a new kitty. Some cats are more outgoing than others, and a shy cat needs time to prepare to meet a stranger.
Pet the kitty shoulders to tail: For children (and adults) who aren’t familiar with cats, a simple first reaction would be to pet a cat’s soft underbelly. Unfortunately, this is the easiest way to have a bad interaction with a cat, since 90% of cats will bite or claw when their tummies are touched, even if they’re exposing them. Teaching a child to pet from the cat’s shoulders and along the back to the tail will help them get along better and quicker.
Be careful with picking a cat up: Picking a cat up requires a level of trust that takes time between a cat and a person. Help your child read the body language of your cat and let them know when your cat might let you pick them up, or if your cat is the type that never wants to be handled.

Teaching your child these rules and helping them understand kitty’s body language will result in a more peaceful home, and help protect your child against harmful bites and scratches. Cats are only barely domesticated and will always revert back to their feline ways if they’re pushed too far. When introducing a new cat into your home, you should monitor the cat and small children together at all times for the first few months. Cats can be unpredictable, and it is hard to tell if they’ll get along with children right off the bat.

As long as you keep the peace and monitor your children’s behavior with your cat and your cat’s behavior in general, you can have a happy and harmonious home. Make sure to check out our articles on how to introduce cats to each other, and how to introduce cats and dogs as well.

Do you have a cat and child that get along famously? Leave your story in the comments!

How To Help Feral Cats

Feral cats roam the streets their whole life

Feral cats roam the streets their whole life

Feral cats are a huge issue throughout the world. Most people know a few feral cats in their neighborhood, and some areas are infested with ferals. Feral cats are cats that grew up on the street and live their lives in the great outdoors. They provide problems for a variety of communities, including people, birds, and other cats. Luckily, there are many ways that people can help with the feral population in a humane and loving way. Here, we’re going to tell you everything there is to know about feral cats and how you can help.

Are feral cats different than strays?

In a short answer, yes. Feral cats are cats that have lived their whole lives outside or in the wild. Stray cats are cats that were living in a home at one time or another but were lost or abandoned. Stray cats and feral cats behave very differently due to their previous experiences of exposure with humans. A stray cat may come up to you and beg for food, while a feral cat would wait in the background until you left the area. Feral cats rarely make any noise, where a stray cat has learned to meow around humans. Stray cats openly depend on humans while feral cats barely acknowledge them.

How do feral cats live without humans?

The life of a feral cat is not an easy one. For starters, they have no medical care and are therefore extremely susceptible to disease, infection, and parasites. Feral cats also have to deal with inclement weather; from rain, to snowstorms, to overwhelming heat waves. They are at risk of animal abuse simply from being outside, and have to avoid animal poison and traps. Finding food is a constant task, and fighting over territory with other cats is always a threat. For all of these reasons, the average lifespan of a feral cat is less than two years. This isn’t including the fact that approximately half of feral kittens born die in the first week.

Did you know: October 15th is National Feral Cat Day

 

What are some ways to help with feral cats?

There two main ways that a person can help the feral cat population. Both are aimed at keeping the feral population down in a humane way, as well as relieving communities from the harmful effects of untouched feral colonies. Feral cats that haven’t been spayed/neutered are more likely to spray, fight, and of course, remain on the streets for the rest of their lives. The ways that you can help keep the feral cat population down, and increase the quality of life of the feral cats in your community:

Participate in trap-neuter-release: Trap-neuter-release, or TNR, is the single most effective way of humanely keeping down the population of feral cats. In TNR, participants will set out humane traps to catch the feral cats to later pick up and bring to the veterinarian. The veterinarian will then spay/neuter the cat and likely vaccinate them against rabies. Then, the cat will be released back in the area that they were trapped from. This way, the cat can no longer produce more feral kittens, or transmit rabies to another animal. This is the most cost-effective, humane, and efficient way to keep the feral cat population down. Many veterinarians and animal hospitals provide free spay/neuter services for feral cats, or at a discounted rate.

Become a colony caretaker: Colony caretakers will take it upon themselves to TNR a particular colony in the neighborhood, as well as a few other responsibilities. If a cat needs surgery, the colony caretaker will trap and drive the cat to the appointment, and then offer their home for aftercare. They may also step in and foster feral kittens so that they can be housecats and help to adopt them out. If you are interested in becoming a colony caretaker, Alley Cat Allies has a great guide for the whole process.

Feral cat colonies like this one can pop up anywhere

Feral cat colonies like this one can pop up anywhere

Is relocation an option?

It may sound simple: “Why don’t we just move the feral cats somewhere else?” Well, unfortunately, cats are very territorial creatures and will simply make it their goal to return to the same area that they’ve been hanging out in all along; Not to mention the fact that it would be difficult to transport and then find an area for the entire colony of cats to live in.

Can I bring a feral cat to the shelter for adoption?

Unfortunately, feral cats are often past the point of being adoptable. If a cat is truly feral, their behavior around humans is not desirable for almost any cat owner. They don’t know how to interact with humans and won’t learn any time soon. However, if the cat living in your back yard seems friendly and eager to come inside, they are likely a stray cat, not a feral cat, and might be a great candidate for adoption.

Can I adopt a feral cat?

Again, feral cats are not the same as housecats. A feral cat and a housecat are great examples of the nature vs. nurture argument. Although both cats are cut from the same cloth, their upbringing severely changes the way that they interact with humans. Even if you had two kittens from the same litter, one left to the wild and one brought into the home, they would grow up to act completely different. Early socialization is the best way for a cat to learn to behave with humans. Bringing a feral cat into your home is a danger for your entire household, since feral cats may have any number of diseases, infections, and parasites, and may behave violently towards humans.

Can I adopt feral kittens?

Feral kittens can become housecats if they're exposed to humans early enough

Feral kittens can become housecats if they’re exposed to humans early enough

Yes! As long as the kittens are at least four weeks old, the minimum age required for kittens to nurse from their mothers, they can be safely brought into the home. Make sure to take the kittens to the veterinarian for their shots and spay/neuter procedures, and socialize them as much as possible. Kittens generally shouldn’t be up for adoption until they are at least 8 weeks old; at that point, you can adopt them out yourself, submit them to a no-kill shelter, or decide to keep them yourself. If feral kittens are brought into a home early enough, they can end up just like any other happy human-friendly kitty.

What should I do if I find a cat on the street?

If you find a cat on the street and they come up to you, they are likely a stray cat, not a feral cat. You can proceed by contacting your neighbors, bringing the cat to a veterinary clinic to be scanned for a microchip, and contacting all local shelters to add the cat to their lost-and-found bulletin. You can also see what resources for lost cats are online for your area. Fostering the cat and helping by posting “found” ads yourself will probably end better than a shelter, since most shelters are kill shelters and will only hold onto strays for a few days before euthanizing them.

How do I trap a cat?

Trapping a feral cat for TNR may be saving its life

Trapping a feral cat for TNR may be saving its life

You’ll need to purchase a humane cat-sized trap, for starters. You can find these at most hardware stores or online for less than $50 each. Remember that you can use this trap more than once, so it is a worthy investment, especially if you live near a colony. Resist the urge to feed the cats for two days before trapping so that they’ll be extra hungry and will risk entering the trap for a treat. Place wet cat food in the trap behind the trip plate, and wait for the cat to be caught. Then, you can take the trapped cat to your veterinarian as soon as they’re securely in the cage. The veterinarian will do the procedure, and then likely ear-tip them. Ear tipping is a way to tick the cat’s ear so that humans will know that they are TNR’d.

By participating in TNR, you are helping keep the feral cat population down, as well as helping the feral cats in your area have a greater quality of life. Feral cats didn’t choose the street life, the street life chose them, so you can think of them as your housecat’s weird cousin. Happy TNRing!

Do you have a feral cat colony in your area? Let us know in the comments!

Indoor vs. Outdoor: The Facts

cat tabby folded ears window

Outside or inside?

Many people believe that it is best to allow their cats to live like their ancestors; out in the wild, able to run around and roam freely. Well, many of these owners may think twice when they hear that outdoor cats live on average more than ten years less than their indoor counterparts. Although it may be debated whether cats are domesticated or not, the common housecat will certainly live a longer life if kept indoors. Here, we’re going to talk about all the factors that go into deciding if you want your cat to be indoors or outdoors, and how you can best equip either lifestyle choice.

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5 Fun Ways To Exercise Your Cat

Having a cat as a pet is a low-maintenance job, only requiring a few routine practices to keep your furbaby happy and healthy. Between feeding, grooming, taking care of the litter box, and other small tasks that are required of a cat owner, many cat owners forget one of the most important things that they need to do; exercise their kitty! Cats are very close to their wild ancestors, and are therefore built to run, leap, and stalk every day. Did you know that the biggest health problem for domestic cats is obesity? Here, we’re going to discuss some easy and hassle-free ways to introduce more exercise into your feline’s day.

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How To Make Cats Like You

Portrait Of Beautiful Young Woman 20 Years With A Fluffy Red CatWhen meeting a new feline friend, do they flock to you like you’re a can of tuna, or tend to avoid you like you’re the vet? Cats aren’t the type of animal to automatically like any human, and can take more time than other animals to get to know. In order to be like-able to cats, you must understand what they’re looking for in a new friend and how to best approach a cat. Here, we’re going to discuss how to make feline friends and keep them coming back!

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What To Do With Your Cat While You’re Out Of Town

Dark-grey cat is looking at the rain through the windowCats are a low-maintenance pet that requires only a minor amount of responsibilities. The furry creatures can make do on their own for long hours and won’t fault you for it once you finally come home. Many cat owners wonder how long a cat could be by himself, and how to handle going out of town. Depending on the length of your trip, you may need to enlist in some services to make sure that your kitty is well-fed and getting the attention that they crave while you’re away.

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5 Tips To Keep Your Cat Off The Counter

Counter CatCats are naturally curious, agile jumpers, and many love to be the center of attention. This leads to some less than ideal situations when it comes to the counter and other undesirable surfaces for a cat to walk on. Some cats are naturally timid and don’t explore areas that they shouldn’t be in, but for majority of cat owners, jumping up is a common problem. If you have some spots that you don’t want your cat exploring, we’ve got the definitive guide to keeping kitties away right here.

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Is Your Cat Overheated?

Red kitten cat sleeps on a bench in parkIt’s the summer season, and many cat owners don’t know what to look for in an overheated cat. It is important, especially if you don’t have central air, to help keep your cat cool. Even though cats are mammals and regulate their own body temperature, this doesn’t mean that no situation is too hot for your cat. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of an overheated cat so that you can prevent your cat from heat stroke, also known as hyperthermia. Here, we’re going to talk about some of the symptoms to keep an eye out for on hot days, and ways that you can remedy a hot cat.

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How To Have A Cat In College

Smart Cat Writing With Books On WhiteSo, you’re in college, and you desperately miss your cat from home. If you’re used to having pets, going from a fur-filled household to a college campus can be a huge change. It’s important to get that animal interaction that you’re so used to, and there are a variety of ways to make it happen. If you are in desperate need of feline affection, we’ve got some great ways to have a cat in college right here.

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Is Your Cat Fat?

Persian Harlequin Cat, 6 Months Old, Sitting In Front Of White BAh, fat cats; it seems as though Garfield started a trend. Many food-motivated cats are just fine, but other overweight cats may be at risk of some serious medical conditions. It is important to keep track of your pet’s eating habits along with any weight changes that you might notice. Here, we’re going to talk about some ways that you can help your cat get in the best shape possible and how to further prevent weight gain.

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