Understanding Cats: How to Introduce Your Cat to Your Toddler

It’s fun and cool to bring home cats for your kids. But how do you introduce your cat to your toddler for less mayhem?

We’ve seen cat videos wherein our feline friends are highly protective of their humans (or hoomans as we are called). But not all cats develop that kind of maternal or protective instinct right away. And with a hyperactive toddler running around the house, there might be times that things will get a bit hairy. So, how do we introduce our cats to toddlers while making sure our toddler understands why things have to be a certain way? Here are tips in helping you understand cats better.

1. Let the cat have a “safe spot”

understanding cats and their interactions with toddlers

Cats, to feel safe, will try to hide under cabinets, tables, beds, and all sorts of nooks and crannies. To prevent yourself from crawling all over the floor to pull them out of the darkness, keep them in a room they feel safe in. Especially if your cat is newly adopted, breaking them in means giving them a small part of your house to serve as their “territory”. You’ll have to leave the cat carrier in the room for a while so they can hide in there if they feel threatened.

2. Sit with your toddler and the cat

understanding cats and their interactions with toddlers

Leaving your cat alone with your toddler is mayhem waiting to happen. Sitting with your toddler while they watch your cat will help your toddler mirror your behavior towards your new feline resident. At the same time, it gives your cat time to recognize a communal scent. The scent will allow your new kitty to feel comfortable in their new home as they accept both you and your toddler as its hoomans.

3. Teach your toddler the difference between loud and soft

understanding cats and their interactions with toddlers

Unlike dogs, cats are not okay with loud environments. Since hunting’s in their blood, they are highly attuned to their surroundings and hypervigilant. Their whiskers serve as their extra “eyes” as it allows them to see what they might bump on the side. Your toddler will have to know what it means to not yell and grab the cat as it may trigger a defense mechanism. Demonstrate to your toddler how you speak and touch the cat in front of them with a bit of sing-song so they can see the difference.

4. Have your toddler use one of the cat’s toys

Cats love playing with their owners especially if they have a feather toy. Toddlers, since their motor skills need a bit of practice, can wave the feather wand toy to play with the cat. It helps the cat keep its hunting instinct and it also allows the cat to bond with your toddler and to recognize them as a part of their territory. Will your cat see your toddler as its master? No, cats own us. Not the other way around.

5. Let your cat follow you around

Once your cat claims your home as its own, you can let it follow you around. Cats, especially if newly adopted or a stray that has “claimed” you, will follow you around. Cats will follow you all the way to the kitchen, the bathroom, and maybe even your toddler’s room. This will update your cat’s communal scent and teach them that your toddler is part of the household as much as they are.

Understanding Cats: Cats and toddlers can become friends for life

When cats bond with toddlers, they can develop strong maternal instincts. We’ve seen that video where the cat protected the boy from a dog and how it follows him everywhere. That’s the same kind of behavior you can most likely see in your cat if they’ve bonded with your toddler. But make sure as you introduce them to one another that they do so safely without spooking each other.

Understanding Cats: How to Introduce Your Cat to Your Toddler

Both a parent and a furparent? Here are more articles!

8 Best Places in Metro Manila to Buy Pet Supplies
Is Your Kid Asking For A Pet? These Are The Best Pets To Start With
How To Be A Good Pet Parent: Expert Tips

Shop for Modern Parenting's print issues through these platforms.
Download this month's Modern Parenting magazine digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]