Child Safety Around Cats

Some pets should never be allowed near children while others seem so reliable you’d trust them with anybody.

  • Make no assumptions when it comes to cats and child safety. Considering that even the gentlest kitty can react to a sudden noise or movement, you should never leave a cat and a young child together unsupervised. But there are ways of encouraging good behavior.
  • Reward your cat with treats and praise when you see him acting inquisitive and relaxed with a child.
  • If he shows signs of aggression (ears flat, eyes dilated, twitching tail, crouching, arched back, or a low growl) he should be left alone in a dark, quiet room.
  • “Redirected” aggression is especially dangerous.
    • A cat showing even mild annoyance toward a person or another cat can suddenly turn on an unsuspecting person who happens to be nearby and inflict a serious wound.
    • A really angry cat can remain dangerous for hours and should be completely ignored. Even attempts to console or “talk the cat down” can result in injury.
  • Aggression directed at kids stirs the protective juices in all of us.
    • If you yell or hit a cat near a child you may be putting that youngster at greater risk.
    • Cats who learn to associate children with fear or pain are more likely to manifest future aggression.
    • Punishing cats always backfires.

Make changes gradually, like installing baby furniture a few weeks ahead of the big day.