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Kittens and young children, advice?(24 Posts)
There are two kittens currently in foster care that I would love to give a home to. I have a young daughter (16 months) am a well seasoned cat owner, but haven’t had any pets with dd as of yet. Our house is quite kitten friendly with all hardwood floors downstairs, and the kitchen/dining area can easily be sealed off from the toddler. Am I completely mad in thinking this is a good idea?
No not at all, our daughter was 14 months when we had our kitten. It is lovely for children to grow up with pets, it teaches them so many skills. As long as like you say you make sure you are always with them when toddler and kittens are together and that they have the space that is always toddler free that they can take themselves off to then you are fine.
Forgot to add photos! Here they are at their foster parent’s home. I think it’s quite easy to see why I’m so smitten!
Gorgeous, have they met children at the foster home at all?
In my experience rescues/breeders specify no children because some cats don’t like the noise/enthusiasm not because they are a danger. I have 4 children and 2 cats, never had a problem, the cats even prefer the children to me (youngest 2)! As the kittens have been exposed to children from the word go it all sounds fine to me.
Depends totally on the cats. I wouldn't. My two terrible torties had my kids in tears when they were kittens. Scratching hooligans the pair of them.
Small children can be brutally and, in some cases, fatally, over- enthusiastic with kittens in my experience.
How would you supervise?
Weeds. My kids were school age when we got kittens so that didn't even occur to me. Children can fall on or drop tiny kittens and even kill them.
Good point, although I say that I’ve never had a problem, I got mine as adults (and a previous, now sadly deceased), so their suitability was established). Never had a kitten!
Um - is one of them a Bengal? You could be in for fun if it is
One of ours is part Bengal (we think) and he's batshit
See this is my worry. Dd is a gentle soul, but still very little. Obviously I would never leave them alone together and wouldn’t allow her to handle them more than stroking. They would be 16 weeks when they came to me so slightly older. Not sure if that would make a difference though!
Down I don’t know! They’re siblings and were abandoned so have no idea about their breed. Do look a bit Bengal, so it really could be a totally mad idea!
Need to make sure I don’t go ahead on cute factors only, and really think about if it’s a workable situation.
My dd was 1 and my ds 3 when we got our kitten. Not a bother on any of them.
As someone who has adopted 7 cats now, and fostered 3, I think it is really about the preparation for the cats, and the mindset involved that is the issue - there will probably always be a period of adjustment and change to the family routine, but usually it doesn't take too long for everyone to settle into the new way of things.
We had 3 indoor cats when DC was born, in a not so large 2 bed house. I separated off the kitchen with a stair gate early on so that DC1 didn't interfere with their litter trays or food, and introduced the rules about how to treat animals to DC1 from a very early age, so he knew exactly what was expected of him, and respected the cats. The cats always had hideaways that could not be got at by any human without difficulty, so the cats always knew there was somewhere they could go if they needed space as well. It is a strict rule in our house that if the cats are up in their cat trees or in their beds that they should not be disturbed. I wouldn't want to be poked and prodded in my bed, so I don't see that they would either. This has helped with the kids as it is an easy boundary to understand, as is 'no touching when cats are eating their dinner', and 'no shouting at cats', 'don't pick up that cats', etc.
We had 4 cats when DD was born a couple of years later, and again, setting boundaries early on for her and letting her know exactly what was expected of her has worked wonders and everyone gets along very well.
One of our cats was a semi-feral, who we adopted along with a more tame kitten when they were 8 weeks old as the semi-feral needed a catty friend to keep her company and give her confidence, and she wasn't getting attention from adopters, as well as being alienated from the other kittens in her pen. She has settled absolutely fine with both children, and has not been upset at all after the birth of DC2, (although like children, I know all cat's personalities are different). The cats and kids form a sort of pack altogether and are neutral or loving towards each other. They seek each other out for attention or time share just as a multi-cat household generally works.
As long as everyone has their own designated spaces where they can be alone, and there are a good firm set of ground rules I can only see that cats or kittens enhance a family dynamic really, but it is a commitment.
As with all things though it does take a bit of work in the beginning while the dynamic is established, so it is not something to be undertaken lightly.
OP - you sound like you have thought of a lot of this already, so I would absolutely say go for it if you would like to adopt those kittens!
I have an acquaintance who's toddler killed one of their kittens by sitting on it and a friend who brought their child to my house, encouraged the child to stroke my elderly cat. Said child pulled her fur and then slammed his hand down on her head and stuck his fingers in her eyes when I shouted at him to stop pulling her fur.
His mother just shrugged and said "he's a little bit clumsy".
He broke her jaw.
I'm paranoid about children and animals now as they can't be trusted.
Weeds that is horrendous. I cannot believe the mother of that child!
I think if there were to be accidents it would only be because I wasn’t watching/with dd. And unless absolutely dire emergency I wouldn’t have to.
Lots to think about! I do want Dd to grow up with pets as I think caring for an animal and learning how to be gentle and kind is very important, but not sure if I should wait until she’s a little older and more aware. I couldn’t live with myself if she accidentally hurt one. I’m taking her to see them tomorrow, so will see how she gets on.
That’s awful weeds what a little shitbag.
If you did it you couldn’t leave them unsupervised until the cats are fully grown. Kittens are very fragile which is why so many rescues won’t rehome them to homes with very young children.
That tabby does look Bengal.
Unfortunately that particular child is allowed to do whatever he wants, while the mother just makes excuses.
Other children of my acquaintance are told off when they misbehave and are far more pleasant to be around!
I'd still be cautious about kittens though, they're fragile. An older cat or cats would probably be a bit more durable and able to remove themselves from potential danger.
A Bengal would probably just maul the child
I have two half bengals And the more Bengal one is super affectionate . They are very dog like and make great pets !
My ex got a kitten when DS was 3 months old - in hindsight stupid decision. I took the cat when we left because the ex had bought him "for me" and also because he wasn't nice to it.
It was all fine until DS reached about 18 months/2ish and he thought the cat was a toy. I was seriously afraid he would hurt him badly because he would go to grab for his legs and the daft cat wouldn't scratch/bite back or go to the child free zones. DS didn't seem to listen/care to any discipline about it either, as he just found this interactive toy SO exciting that it overrode anything else. He was so quick that it wasn't always possible to keep them apart and I basically had to hover at all times or shut doors between them - the cat ended up quite unhappy and spent more time at my neighbour's house. I wouldn't get a pet again with really little children, we'd love animals but we're waiting until the youngest is somewhat reliable with instructions.
Do bear in mind that while you probably are with your DD at all times currently, over the next year or two it will become natural to spend longer periods nearby but in another room or similar not directly watching her, and so you won't always be as aware of what she's doing as you are now.
That’s true weeds all you heard at my house pre castration of cat was Dh saying “stop biting mommy” and me shrieking “get him off Me” at frequent intervals.
All very good points. Glad I asked instead of just thinking “VERY cute cats must immediately get them!”
Still completely unsure but heading more towards waiting now. Whilst I like to think dd would be absolutely fine I think the uncertainty of her not being is enough to make me wait a while longer. I couldn’t get them settled into a new home for it all to go tits up and then have the stress of rehoming them again. We’re still going to see them today to have a play but I’ll let the foster home know I don’t think we’re quite ready yet!
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