Infographic on ‘Compatibility of Cats with Children in the Family’

Child and ginger tabby cat
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Child and ginger tabby cat. Image: MikeB

As the Infographic is based upon a scientific study, it has, on the face of it, validity. Nonetheless, I would like to add some thoughts of my own. Firstly, they assessed the interactions of children between the ages of 3-12 years of age. And there were 665 participants.

And as you can see, they surveyed cat owners in North America and in Europe. Perhaps one of the telling outcomes is that they found that the European participants rated their cats’ interactions with children more favourably than those in the US or Canada.

That, to me, points to an overriding factor provided the information is accurate. It is this: that perhaps in general terms or on average, Americans and Canadians adopt domestic cats that are more often slightly less well socialised and those in Europe.

Infographic on 'Compatibility of Cats With Children in the Family'

Infographic on ‘Compatibility of Cats With Children in the Family’. Infographic by MIkeB at PoC.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

The study scientists suggested that this was because Europeans more often adopted purebred cats. These cats will have been socialised by the breeder. There is almost a guarantee that if you buy from a breeder the cat will be well socialised. That guarantee doesn’t really apply to cats adopted in an ad hoc way from a neighbour or online or even from a shelter although shelter cats are far more likely to be well socialised.

The bottom line as to whether a cat is compatible with a child in a family home is the question of socialisation. How well socialised is the cat? And kittens do better because they are more pliable and elastic. Their character hasn’t been fully formed and they have not experienced negative events when interacting with adults or children and therefore they are less fearful or anxious about those interactions.

The older cat is liable to be more entrenched in their ways just like people and therefore less flexible in dealing with children who might mishandle them or interact with cats in a way which is inappropriate or to be kind are not entirely appropriate because children don’t really understand the need to be gentle with cats unless they been taught that.

There is another factor which appears not to be mentioned. Whether a cat is compatible with a child depends to a large extent upon whether the child has been taught how to interact with a cat. Clearly, there are two sides to this relationship. Success depends upon the performance of both sides. In fact, the senior partner is the child because the cat response to the child’s behaviour and actions. The child’s behaviour is dependent upon the parents and how well they have trained their child to interact appropriately. It goes back ultimately to parents and the kind of cat that they adopt in combination with the kind of child that they have raised.

So, the study although useful doesn’t really add an awful lot to what one might conclude through common sense based upon a reasonable knowledge of domestic cat behaviour and mentality.

Below are some articles on kids and cats.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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