Cat Psychology: Getting Along With Your Cat
Are Children Safe With Cats?
Individuals who are put off by cats do not understand them. A cat's conduct is just as predictable as a dog's. When they don't like having their stomach touched (many cats don't), but you insist in doing it, they would scratch you. When you pick them up when they're in a state of panic or fright, they could misunderstand their rescue as an entrapment and claw his way free. A cat doesn't display aggression unless they feel their rights are being violated.
A really young kitten might try to cling to your ankle while you walk across a room or spring at you unexpectedly from a hide out. They play with everything that moves, and your leg is just as irresistible as a toy mouse. Still, by the time he's seven or eight months old, they can be trusted not to scratch any member of their family, as long as the family does its part and honors the rule of tolerance which they have assertively instituted. They develop clever and brilliant non-aggressive defenses. If they don't want to ride in your kid's doll buggy, they won't tear off her arm. They are great escape artists and will take the first chance to get their agile body out of the buggy and up the closest tree. It is not fair to identify cats as treacherous. They can be trusted and predicted more often than people.
Although there could be isolated cases of cats that are genetically "bad," normally they're the most adaptable of animals. If you bring home a litter, your new kitten will easily adapt to your family situation, including your full-grown dog, a riotous eighteen-month tot, and a near-sighted grandparent who keeps stepping on him. Cats are tolerant and versatile.
In relation to cats and kids, the well-adjusted two-year-old, when introduced to a kitten, will react with loving, gentle care that comes from a natural desire to protect this helpless, smaller creature. A child discovers this from his environment and his parents. When, on the other hand, a child demonstrates cruel or vicious behavior, it is rather predictable that he will exhibit little reverence or respect for a kitten's vulnerability and he shouldn't have one. Generally the parenting instinct dominates, and your child won't need monitored instructions on treatment of a cat. Every time he strokes his kitty, the cat's behavior would be reinforced when this love is immediately returned. A mutual understanding will promptly grow between them.
An infant and a kitten are less compatible though. Nonetheless, a mature cat will receive the new addition to the family and all the warm blankets that come with it. For this reason, it's not good to allow the family cat to be left alone in the baby's room. He would greatly enjoy in sleeping in the crib close to this warm, new life. The trouble that arises is not that the cat would suck the baby's breath and suffocate him (an old wives' tale that developed from misunderstanding) but that in an instant of intense love, the cat will choose to sleep on the top of the baby, a load on the infant's fragile body that is not bearable. If the baby is with other members of the family, the cat can be conditioned not to jump into the playpen or onto your lap when you're holding or feeding the infant. Cats respond well to modest reprimands and promptly learn right from wrong.