Owning a Cat

The Best and Worst Cat Breeds for Kids

There is a well-known saying that dogs are man’s best friend, but there’s nothing quite like the love of a cat. While cats may be more independent and less demonstrative than dogs, many people find cats more intriguing and respect their individuality. Some children wonder why dogs come running to them while the cat won’t let them rub their belly, but others understand and respect their cats’ boundaries. You may be wondering whether cats are good for your children or not, or what kinds of cats you should adopt and which to avoid.  Before getting a cat there are certain things that potential adopters should know.

First of all, adopters should be skeptical about common misconceptions regarding cats. It is a sad fact that many pregnant mothers get rid of their cats as soon as they discover they are going to have a baby. This is because many articles have demonized cats and their relationship to a fetus. These articles tell women that there are dangers inherent to changing the litter box or that their cats lie in ambush ready to smother small babies in the crib. The uproar regarding cat feces comes from concern about a parasite called toxoplasma gondii that can cause abnormalities in a fetus. Many mammals have this parasite, but cat feces has been identified as a major source of this parasite.

If the feces is taken care of immediately, the parasite does not begin to infect a potential carrier. Making sure that the litter box is cleaned twice daily and having someone else perform the duty is suggested. Pregnant women may still need to clean the litter box occasionally, and in this case, they should wear disposable gloves and a face mask. However, you should keep in mind that the toxoplasmosis, the illness caused by the parasite, is more commonly caused by handling raw meats and using the same cutting board for vegetables and meats. In addition, if your cat is purely an indoor pet, he or she is less likely to pick up the parasite than an outdoor cat is. An outdoor cat may eat an infected animal, dig in the soil, or play in the garbage, which makes them more susceptible to the parasite.

Now, in regards to the stories about cats and babies, you should know that many of these are spread by people who do not like cats. Often, they ascribe sinister motives to cats and exaggerate how common tragic and rare events occur. Cats often enjoy a warm cozy place to sleep; they find the warm body of the baby very appealing. The danger here is that they might sit on the baby’s face and smother them. Since babies cannot move quickly enough when they sense that they are unable to breathe, this has the potential to become fatal. It is important to make sure that the baby’s room and crib are cat-free areas. Any time your baby plays with the cat, there should be supervision. Once the baby is able to crawl and move its head, it may be safe to give it more contact with the cat, but until then it is worthwhile to be vigilant.

When the baby gets older, he or she might begin to pull on the cat’s tail or fur. It is essential to watch and make sure that the cat doesn’t scratch the baby, or that the baby doesn’t behave in a way that annoys the cat. Oftentimes, cats get unjustly blamed for being more likely to attack young children, but the truth is that dogs can bite unfamiliar children with alarming frequency. Make sure your cat receives vaccinations regularly, gets its nails trimmed, and is checked for fleas. If your cat acts impatiently around children, it may be a sign of a health problem that should be checked by a veterinarian.

Now that you are aware of some of the things that every cat-owning parent should know, it’s a good idea to find out which cats are better suited for children and which are not. Obviously, a cat with a calm disposition is preferable for young children; as well as one that can tolerate a bit of rough-and-tumble and who isn’t irritated by a mess or noise. It is always a good idea to get pets for your children, this is because it teaches them empathy, responsibility, and the enjoyment of caring for another creature. Having a pet can help a shy child develop socially and boost their confidence.

The Birman is a very lovable cat who is quite affectionate and enjoys nothing more than snuggling. This cat, unlike many other breeds, is also amenable to training, as long as you begin training as a kitten. If you are used to cats as introverts, the Birman will provide a refreshing change because he or she is more likely to greet visitors than run and hide under the bed. However, this cat is not the equivalent of a dog who likes to play fetch or catch a Frisbee. The Birman is ideal for sedentary activities, such as reading or having tea with guests.

Birmans get their name because they were once called the “Sacred Cat of Burma.” These are long-haired cats with a cream colored body and brown accents around the face, especially the nose and ears. They have brilliant, dreamy blue eyes and have been a beloved breed in France for at least 100 years. While there is no solid data about exactly where the Birmans come from, this breed of cat is the topic of legend. They are thought to have originated as the pets of temple priests in Northern Burma. There are colorful stories about how these cats ended up in France. Some of the stories include a Vanderbilt snatching a few from the temple or that the cats had been given as a reward for those who fended off an attack at the temple. These cats almost disappeared as a breed in Europe during World War II. However, there is a concerted effort in France to restore the Birman to its former glory.

The Ragdoll has an interesting name and a gentle disposition that is delightful for children. In fact, the name “Ragdoll” implies that it is a perfect companion for a young girl or boy who might not yet know how to pick up a cat. The Ragdoll gets its name because when it is picked up, its body goes completely limp. Unlike many breeds, the Ragdoll willingly wears a leash and can be taken out for a walk. Otherwise, this cat enjoys a sedentary lifestyle and will sit in, and purr affectionately.

The Ragdoll, despite its ability to go limp, is known for its muscular build and has somewhat long hair and a silky coat. This cat originated in America in the 1960s; it was bred for its sweet temperament. Some people have noted that the ragdoll acts somewhat like a puppy because it likes to follow people around and enjoys being handled. The original parents of the first ragdoll were a Persian Angora mother and a Birman father. The breeder noticed that unusually docile manner of the mother and wanted to breed more cats with this disposition. The breeders trademarked the “Ragdoll” name for the cats and the breed gained momentous popularity. One drawback of having a ragdoll is that they have a tendency to have heart problems and may have a lower life expectancy than many other cats; it is essential to have your ragdoll checked by a veterinarian frequently.

There once was a time when almost everybody loved cats. You wouldn’t find a single farmer complaining about cats because they were essential for keeping rats and other vermin away from the grain silo and the barn. One of the most farm friendly cat breeds has been the Maine Coon cats. These felines have traditionally been expert mousers, but are exceedingly gentle with children. This cat is excellent for children who like to be active, but will not be offended if a child grabs it a bit too hard. The Maine Coon is one of the oldest breed of cats in North America. It underwent a decline in the early 20th century when other cats were introduced from overseas. But, since then it has undergone a revival. The Maine Coon is known as a gentle giant because it is larger than many other types of cats. It has a strong bone structure, silky fur, and a bushy tail. Their thick coat is ideal for winter weather; it helps them tolerate snow and ice. The Maine Coon is also available in a variety of colors and has many friendly, dog like qualities.

There are many stories regarding the origin of the Maine Coon. According to one legend, Marie Antoinette was trying to escape France during the revolution and asked that six of her Turkish Angora cats be taken on a ship. When she was beheaded in 1793 her cats made it to America, but of course, she wasn’t able to make the journey. Another tale was about Captain Charles Coon, who took cats with him on his voyages. It was said that whenever he docked in New England, his cats would run out and mate with the local cats. Their distinctive markings caused people to identify the cats with the captain and they, in turn, called them “Coon’s cats”. Others insist that the Coon cat is descended from a feral raccoon; but, according to genetics, this isn’t possible. The Maine Coon can grow quite large; in 2010 the Guinness Book of World Records measured a Maine Coon named Stewie as the “longest cat”. He measured at 48.5 inches.

Himalayan cats are more fun than Persians and less nervous than Siamese. If your child likes to play, a Himalayan may be the best choice for them. The Himalayan is a very relaxed cat and enjoys lying around and being petted. Oftentimes, Himalayan’s are confused with Persians because they also have long hair. However, Himalayan’s have bright blue eyes, while Persians should have copper eyes. The Cat Fanciers Association often regards the Himalayan as a “Persian with a different color”. There is extensive research being done regarding the origins of Himalayan and Persian cats. These felines have plump bodies and short legs. They also have round heads and squished faces like a Pekinese dog. They are usually sedentary, but they enjoy playing fetch and like attacking small moving objects.

Exotic Shorthair cats are as calm as Persians but require far less grooming. These felines enjoy a bit of play time every day and are usually outgoing. Keep in mind, however, they are fairly laid back and enjoy relaxation. This cat is specifically bred to be a shorter haired version of a Persian cat; they share the gentle temperament, without the haughty demeanor and constant need for brushing. These cats get along well with dogs, but unlike other cats, they do not do well by themselves without their owner. Flat faced animals, in general, require extra vigilance to make sure their tear ducts are healthy. It’s important to wipe the cats face regularly and make sure it is free of residue. Short faced cats are also vulnerable to brachycephalic airway syndrome, which can cause respiratory problems and in extreme cases need surgery to correct.

So far you’ve read about the cats that made the good list, now let’s look at the cuties who are not necessarily compatible with children. There tend to be many more positive qualities than negative ones when it comes to cats; some of what is perceived as “negatives” are subjective. For instance, some find Siamese and Tonkinese cats to be standoffish, but to some people, their gentle temperaments is more important than the fact that they are a bit distant. If you are concerned about allergies, avoid long-haired varieties like Persians that need constant care and grooming. In addition, if you don’t feel that your children are up to the responsibility of grooming and caring for a long-haired cat, avoid the ones that need to be brushed frequently.

While you may feel you are doing a good deed by adopting a feral from a shelter, in general, it is better to opt for cats that were previously owned and had to be given up by their owners because they were moving, or for some other reason. Cats, unlike dogs, can be difficult to train and to acclimate to new conditions. As a result, if the cats has grown up on the street without care and attention from human beings, or was abused or neglected by people, it is very hard for the cat to ever unlearn their fear of people. Cats tend to hold people at a distance anyway and the situation is much worse if the cat suffered trauma having been chased by children on the street, or otherwise mistreated by people.

Cats who were feral also tend to be hyperactive and nervous and are likely to jump around and knock things over. They may be rather aggressive if they are grabbed or touched suddenly and are likely to scratch young children who do not know how to handle a cat. Feral cats can also be a challenge if they were abandoned as kittens and did not learn to clean themselves properly or go to the bathroom in the litter box. Dealing with children can be enough of a challenge without having to worry about cats that have to be trained on how to live with humans. Whatever breed you select, it is best to go with cats who have had a previous relationship with humans.

You might think that a cat’s color has no bearing on whether it produces allergens are not, but surprisingly, black cats and other dark hued felines were found to produce allergic reactions more intensely than other shades. In addition, unneutered males tended to cause sniffling more than females. This was according to a study that was conducted in 2000 at Long Island College Hospital in New York. Any long-haired cat breed, aside from Siberians, also may cause allergic reactions among those who are sensitive. If no one in your family has a cat hair sensitivity you may be fine, but if someone develops an allergic reaction you might be in bad luck.

Many parents are afraid to adopt pets because they don’t know how their children would handle their beloved animal’s demise. For that reason, it is better to stick with hardier breeds that will live longer and avoid those that are known to have a shorter lifespan. The expression that cats have nine lives might be derived from the fact that they do live longer than many other animals, including dogs. However, there are some cats that have shorter lifespans than others; these include Siamese and pedigree cats.

You might want to avoid flat faced cats that tend to have a host of health problems. Like Pekinese and pug dogs, flat faced cats like the Himalayan Persian, are specifically bred to have a squished face. This may look cute, but the fact is that their flat face causes the eyes to bulge, which can cause vision problems and the eyes having an opaque appearance. In addition, these animals have shorter throats and can develop numerous respiratory problems. They have to be taken to a vet often if there is any suspicion that they are having difficulties eating and swallowing. In some cases, their problems can only be corrected with surgery.

It is no mystery that these flat faced cats tend to have shorter lifespan, and for this reason, you may want to avoid adopting them to circumvent causing heartbreak for your child in addition to making him watch the cat suffer with constant health problems. There might be a trade-off of advantages and disadvantages because these flat faced Asian style cats tend to have the gentlest temperaments, so the choice is yours depending on your priorities.

Some people feel that cats should never be allowed to go outside, while others feel that it is unkind to keep their cat indoors at all times. Whether your cat is indoor, outdoor, or a bit of both probably depends on whether you live in the city, country, or suburbs. Outdoor cats can be hearty and outgoing, but they can also be exposed to parasites and can contract diseases from other cats. Your child may not become ill as a results of these cat abnormalities, but they could be vulnerable to flea bites and may become alarmed if their cat comes inside with a few scratches from a nasty catfight. If you’re going to have an outdoor cat, make sure that you are aware of these risks and keep in mind that cats that are allowed to live at least part-time outdoors have a shorter lifespan than house cats.

It isn’t easy narrowing down your options and coming up with a list of the best breeds for your child. Much of it depends on what is the most important to you and your family, where you live, and what your lifestyle is like as a family. Before adopting any animal, you should make a solid commitment to keeping it no matter what the circumstances. Too often children pressure their parents to adopt a pet that the adults don’t really want and the child ends up neglecting it. Before making the decision to adopt a cat, ask yourself honestly if you like or even want a cat and if you are willing to live with the consequences.

In many cases, people don’t get to choose what breed of cat they adopt; instead, they see an ad in the newspaper or posted in your neighborhood of family that is moving and giving away their cat. You may go to the local shelter and find a cat who is looking for a loving home. In these cases, the breed doesn’t matter as much as the spirit with which the cat is embraced and how much it is loved when it is adopted. Every breed has its advantages and disadvantages, but there is no replacement for a feline or a human for a warm and loving home.

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