They’re silly to watch and warm to snuggle with, but cats add so much more value to our lives than simply being the perfect subject for entertaining YouTube videos. One of the most exciting aspects of Adopt-A-Cat-Month® is seeing amazing cats go to new homes and seeing the joy they bring to children. If you are on the fence about bringing home a new furry friend, here are some of the ways that cats can enrich the lives of kids:
Taking care of an animal shows children the direct results of their actions, allowing them to gauge how they affect others. By participating in feeding the cat, cleaning the litter box, and weekly grooming, kids learn important lessons like creating and sticking to habits, having pride in their work, and how to maintain the health of another living being. Cats in particular can also teach patience, as they are often solitary and skittish animals around active, loud kids, meaning your kids will need to learn when it’s playtime and when it’s alone time for your kitty.
Being aware of and caring for the needs of an animal teaches children the building blocks of empathy and how to put someone else’s needs above their own. By interacting with cats, kids can learn how to be gentle with animals who are small and delicate. Additionally, the bonds that children create with their feline friends transfer over to the bonds they can form with their human ones. By learning how to share and play to another’s comfort level, kids develop social skills that aid them in social interactions they’ll have at school and throughout their lives.
Having pets may help build up your child’s immune system as they age, as studies have shown that kids who grow up with pets are less likely to develop allergies or asthma by the time they are older. Cats also provide emotional support for kids as their companion and friend if they are lonely or in need of a good snuggle. Plus, children can also learn how to properly regulate and control their emotions to help guard against outbursts by recognizing a cat’s reactions towards them after unsettling behavior and modifying that behavior going forward.
Like any pet, cats enrich our lives in many ways, sometimes in ways we can’t even articulate. Letting your children experience the joy and benefits that cats can bring allows your child to have a long-time friend and, for your cat, a forever, loving home.