Baby Talk

Get the lowdown on how to help kids and cats mesh into one happy household.

By Sandy Robins

Page 4 of 4

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Monica Venzlaff of Irvine, Calif., endorses Wrights theory. However, she believes the success of a toddler-cat relationship depends a lot on the cats demeanor. Her son Luke was 2 years old when the family adopted Clark, a full-grown cat.


Clark has a wonderful, friendly nature and reacts that way to everyone around him, including Luke, she said. We had another cat before Clark, and from the beginning we taught Luke to be gentle and loving. He sees how we treat the cat and does the same. Consequently, they have a wonderful relationship, and Clark will let Luke lie all over him. When he's had enough, hell let Luke know. Clark has smacked him a couple of times. That's when I step in and tell him the game is over and to now leave him alone. It works.

According to Wendy Christiansen, author of The Humane Society of the United States Complete Guide to Cat Care, when teaching young children to interact with cats, spell out the following:

  • A cat is not a toy.
  • How to read cat body language indicating annoyance, anger or fear.
  • How to recognize when the cat wants to be left alone.
  • Never hold a cat against its will or corner it.
  • Never bother a cat when its sleeping, eating or using the litterbox.

Invest time in developing the bond between your child and your pet. Its worth it. By carefully monitoring a childs accessibility to the family cat from the very beginning, you could be introducing your baby to its very first friend.

Brought to you by Cats for Kids and Pets for Kids

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Reader Comments

Julie    Oklahoma City, OK

9/21/2013 1:10:03 PM

I appreciate the article as well, but to suggest that cats are not jealous? My cat is jealous of my HUSBAND. He never slept with me when I was single and now sleeps every night at my feet, between me and my husband. Often he attacks my husband.

It also bothered me to suggest that cats cannot harm babies, because while I would NEVER give up my cats, I am also very aware that clear boundaries need to be there when a baby is present, and people who do not consider that are foolish. Parenthood is life-altering for people; cats and even dogs need to be re-acclimated to new behaviors around an infant as well.

Kim    Mechanicville, NY

10/8/2007 8:18:43 PM

I like this article but nobody ever mentions that a cat may attack the newborn baby. On 2 occassions my cat tried to attack my baby while she was crying loadly as I changed her diaper. Nobody else I know has ever experienced this. My cat is normally not aggressive.

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