Taking care of a kitten is a massive responsibility for a child. It entails tasks like feeding, bathing, playing, and grooming, which could be overwhelming and difficult for them. But with proper guidance and assistance, they will be able to rise to the responsibility and grow to care for another living being.
And as parents, you must guide your children when they take on the responsibility of caring for a kitten. You must also ensure your kids are safe while they look after the cat. That way, neither gets hurt in this learning process.
But how do you teach kids this big of a responsibility?
Prepare Your Children
When taking care of a new kitten, first impressions matter. Kittens and children can easily get along in the right circumstances. They can be best friends when their first meeting goes very well, easily becoming comfortable with each other. So, for this to happen, you must not force them to immediately socialize with each other, as this will only be counterproductive to your goal.
Making a very good impression takes time and a lot of preparation, even for your children and their new pet. As a parent, you must ensure that your child knows what kitten care is and what it entails. Involving them in the preparation will excite them about their new responsibility.
Usually, parents make a shopping list of what the kitten needs, talk to the child about the kitten, and make promises about its care.
Create Shopping List
It is essential that before the kitten arrives, you’ve already stocked up appropriate food for kittens, toys to play with, and other things it needs. Sitting down with your child and thinking about what should be on the shopping list helps ensure that nothing will be forgotten.
Let your child help in choosing what toys the kittens would have. You can also ask your child’s opinion on the color and the design of the food and water bowl, cat bed, and litter. They’re the ones who will primarily take care of the kitten, so they need to be familiar with these things.
When scouring out for the best kitty food, ensure they contain premium ingredients and balanced nutrition. Check if meat is included in the kitten food, as it’s a valuable source of protein. The food should have little to no carbohydrates since kittens are obligate carnivores. It can also lead to the development of certain kitten allergies.
It is also vital that their food contains vitamins and minerals that contribute to the kitten’s growth and development.
Make Cat Promises
Instead of just plainly writing down rules that your child needs to follow, do it creatively. Together, make cat promises so that your child will know their responsibilities when the kitten arrives.
You can make a poster for each promise so your kid won’t forget about them. Among the cat promises you can make is:
- make sure that the kitten has food and water;
- don’t disturb them when sleeping;
- slowly and gently pet them;
- kitten poop needs to be cleaned.
Teach Them PETiquette
As a parent, you also need to talk to your child about what you cannot do when caring for the new kitten. This is very important as this involves the safety of your child and the cat. It prevents them from hurting the kitten and getting hurt themselves.
By knowing how to socialize with the kitten, children will have a better experience with it and learn how to be empathetic with animals. Still, you must look after and supervise your child and their kitten when hanging out.
No Yelling Nor Incorporating Physical Punishment
Teach your children not to hit their kittens with their hands or any objects. Punishments do not teach the kittens anything important. It will only result in the kitten being resentful towards your child. It might even become hostile towards them.
It would be more beneficial to show your child how to teach and train the kitten the proper behavior when indoors. These can include training the kitten only to poop and pee in the litter box and discouraging furniture scratching. It would also teach the child how to deal with a problem and find a solution that doesn’t involve hurting the little feline.
Don’t Let The Kitten Go Outside Unsupervised
Instruct and supervise your child when letting the cat roam outside. Kittens are tiny and can be difficult to spot when lost. They’re also at risk of being attacked by bigger predators when left unsupervised.
As a parent, you must also watch your child and their kitten. It’s your utmost priority to do so. With adult supervision, you’re less likely to lose the kitten or endanger your child if they go looking for it.
When your child takes the responsibility of having a pet, they need to know how to properly take care of the animal. Learning kitten care is not easy. There are a lot of things your child needs to know, and as a parent, it’s your job to help them.