Many parents know that best way for children to learn compassion and importance of keeping commitments is by helping to care for a pet. Children learn from watching adults in their lives. If a child can learn to treat an animal with respect they can take that lesson into later life. A cat can be a marvellous, loving companion for a child, but it is up to adults in family to ensure cat and kids live together happily ever after.
When you first bring a cat home, explain to your child that they will need to be patient, quiet and gentle to help cat feel safe. Sit on floor with your child and help him practice patience as cat gets up courage to come close. Let your child feed cat a piece of food from his hand. If cat is reluctant to come close, have your child gently toss a piece of food close to cat. Once cat realizes what your child is offering, ice will melt.
Very young children can easily overwhelm a cat or kitten with their exuberance. Children under age of five years should always be supervised when playing with or handling a cat. Children over 12 years can usually be trusted to be gentle, but be sure to occasionally check up on kids under 12 years when they spend concentrated time with family cat.
You should remind children that they should not disturb a sleeping cat, or a cat that is using its litter tray.
Kittens appear to be amazingly flexible, and children often think nothing of draping a weeks-old cat over crook of arm and carrying it around like a toy, or picking up a kitten by scruffof its neck. In this position, it is easy for kitten to be dropped and seriously injured. Also, being carried like this leaves cat feeling unsupported with it's hind legs swinging in space.