This page on cat breeds for kids is written mainly for children and mentions four breeds that are suitable as a child companion.
What are the best cat breeds for kids? You can answer that question in two different ways. You can make up your mind on the sort of character a cat should have that makes him suitable for a child and then do some research on the cat breeds to find a breed which has cats that are likely to have that character; or you can decide that amongst all the cat breeds there will be individual cats that have characters and an appearance that make them ideal companions for children. The answer probably lies between the two.
Research means to do work to find out about things. Individual means a single cat. Character means the way a cat or person behaves and thinks.
My instinctive thoughts are that the sort of cat that is most suitable for a child is a confident, calm, laid back kind of cat. This is because kids are boisterous. They are liable to play rough with a cat because they don’t know how to handle a cat. They don’t know the limits. A calm and relaxed cat is more likely to accept boisterous play from a child without becoming agitated. An agitated cat could strike out. Play could become a fight – an attack. Let’s remember that for cat’s, play is often play-hunting. Play-hunting means that when cats play they are pretending to hunt in the wild.
As it happens when kittens play with other kittens they too are learning the limits as to how far they can go before a kitten gets annoyed and angry…..The best cats for kids are calm cats.
Instinctive means what you think about right away without thinking too much. Laid back means relaxed. Boisterous means noisy and full of energy.
In general then, the first requirement for a cat that belongs to a cat breed which is suitable for a child is that he has a confident and calm character. Within some cat breeds you will find that it is more likely that an individual cat will have a calm disposition. It is not a science though. You can’t say that all the cats of a certain breed are calm and confident. That sounds obvious but it needs to be stated. Whether a cat is calm and relaxed depends on (a) how well socialized as a youngster he is, and (b) the breed he comes from. The first factor is more important than the second in my opinion. If I am correct it means meeting individual cats of a suitable breed and finding the ideal cat.
The word “socialized” means that the cat is used to being around kids, people and other animals. When a cat is used to something he is more relaxed and accepting of it. Good breeders make a point of ensuring that their cats are well socialized. It is important because it helps form a cat’s character and makes him a good pet.
I am going to use a well respected book (a book that people think is very good) to help me find the cat breeds that are right for kids. Although a relaxed character is important there are other aspects to a cat that also make him suitable for a child. Being playful and cuddly come to mind. Having a good all round character will also be useful for a cat who has a kid as a companion. The cat breeds that I have picked out in the pictures above are cats that are most likely to have good all round characters suited to child companions.
There are three that stand out, one is quite rare (Pixie-bob). All are shown in the picture on this page.
For a start, there are a lot of unwanted cats that are ideal for kids. They are in rescue centers and animal shelters. There will be many cats in shelters which have been chosen to be euthanized that are great with children. Please think about that. You could save one.
Euthanized means deliberately killed in a kind and painless way.
Briefly, here is some more information about the Manx, American Shorthair, Pixie-bob and Ragdoll.
No matter how perfect a cat is for a child, interacting with a domestic cat is a two-way street. The child has to do her bit to make sure the relationship goes well and to avoid upsets and accidents such as being scratched.
It is sensible that parents make sure that their children understand cat behavior and know how to handle cats and be gentle with cats. I have written an essay on cat behavior which may help.
In my honest opinion a cat should not be declawed so that he is safe with a child. It is better for a child to know that a cat should have claws and that people should respect the cat. Respecting the cat means the whole cat, claws as well. A child should also know that the delcawing operation is removing the claw and the bone that supports it. This is the last part of the toe. The bit removed is far more than just the claw. It is extremely painful for the cat. Sorry to go on about that but it is important that kids know.