There is an awful lot to be said for getting children used to pets of all types while they are still young, as this can help to foster a lifelong love of animals, respect for the diversity of life, and a sense of responsibility in the world’s future pet owners. Keeping a pet or several pets as part of your family can also ensure that your kids are not afraid of animals, learn how to handle and care for them properly and safely, and grow up to be lifelong animal lovers.
When it comes to larger pets rather than the types that are kept in tanks or cages, it is often considered to be dogs that are the best pick for families with children, as dogs are more robust, outgoing and likely to be happy to play at all times. They are also, in many ways, easier to read and interpret, and will generally take children’s mishaps and sometimes overenthusiastic play in their stride. However, it would be wrong to rule out the noble cat as a good pet for families with children, or to think that they are not really an appropriate choice. Young children should be carefully supervised with cats to ensure that they respect your cat’s personal space and neither inadvertently harm the cat or get hurt themselves, but this is also the case with dogs and all other pets as well.
If you are wondering about adding a feline friend to your growing human family, read on to learn about eight of the best cat breeds for families with children.
The Maine Coon is a large, robust cat that is often a keen hunter, and enjoys lots of time spent outside, taking part in activity and play. While they like to roam freely and not be tied down, they do tend to be very loyal with their families, and often very affectionate with kind children. They are also more than likely to try to encourage your child into a game once they have established that the little people are keen to interact with them!
The Ragdoll is probably the most kindly natured cat in the world, and one that is vanishingly unlikely to scratch or bite. If anything, it is important to make sure that your children learn to respect your cat and know when to call an end to play, as the Ragdoll is not like most other cats and will not generally react in a negative manner to overzealous children when they have had enough.
The Siamese cat is cold, moody and aloof, right? Wrong! The Siamese cat is an incredibly loyal and loving pet for all ages, and they form strong bonds with their families. While Siamese cats can sometimes become jealous if they are not the centre of attention, if your Siamese cat bonds with your child, they are likely to become firm friends for life! The Siamese is also very intelligent, and will be happy to get involved in games and play with your child. Your child may even be able to teach the cat to fetch!
The British Shorthair is a laidback, friendly cat that doesn’t generally mind living in the centre of a busy, noisy household. They tend to take most things in their stride, are tolerant of children, and affectionate with cat lovers of all ages.
The squishy-faced, long haired Persian cat is one of the most popular cat breeds in the world, not only due to their beautiful appearance but also for their quiet, calm temperaments. The Persian is not one of the most active cats as a general rule, and will be quite happy to be stroked and receive attention on a regular basis from a thoughtful child. As your child gets older, you can also enlist them to help with brushing and grooming your Persian cat to keep them in tiptop condition!
The Abyssinian is an active, outdoors-loving cat with an independent streak! They don’t like to be confined to the house, and out of choice will generally spend a good deal of time out of doors come rain or shine! They love to climb, exercise and explore things, and can be a good way of enticing your children outside to join in with their play and adventures.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a large, solidly built breed of cat that again, likes to keep active and spend a lot of time out of doors. They are excellent hunters, climbers and explorers, but also very affectionate and loyal to their families. They are a good pick for families with thoughtful children, as their large, sturdy build makes them less delicate than many other cat breeds and more robust.
The Cornish Rex is a petite, curly haired cat with an inquisitive nature and friendly manner. They tend to never lose their kittenish temperaments, and enjoy play, games and exploration throughout the course of their lives. They are curious about everything around them, usually keen to engage in play, and like to have their people around them most of the time. The perfect partner for your child’s own explorations of the world!
Remember that cats are not toys; they are small, delicate animals that need to be treated with respect and consideration. Always keep an eye on younger children when they are playing with your cat, and teach them about reading your cat’s signals and knowing when your cat has had enough from an early age. Never let your children bully, intimidate or play too roughly with your cat, and make sure that your cat has a personal space that is “out of bounds” to your children at all times, to allow your cat to retreat at any time if they want to.