A kitten can be a wonderful choice of pet for a child. They are not right for every child, though. If your child wants a kitten, you need to make sure that getting one would make sense for your child’s specific temperament.
Sometimes, you may need to firmly tell your child that a kitten would not be a good idea. Here are 10 common situations where it would be a good idea to refuse to allow a kitten.
1. Your child does not seem comfortable around animals
Children can sometimes want pets even when they are uncomfortable around them. They could have many reasons. They may want pets because their friends have them, for instance. Just because a child seems to want a kitten does not mean that he will be happy with it when you grant him his wish, though.
Thrusting a child into a relationship with a pet is not the cure for inborn discomfort. It could be a far better idea to put off getting a kitten until your child learns to be comfortable with animals.
In the meantime, you could help him slowly learn a degree of comfort with animals by taking him to animal shelters on a regular basis.
2. Your child does not seem to be sensitive to animals
Some children can take their time learning to treat animals with sensitivity, gentleness, and respect. Many children with pets, for instance, tend to not understand why smacking or teasing it is wrong. Kittens are vulnerable creatures that are unable to defend themselves – they would not stand up well to such treatment.
3. Your child seems to never remember to brush teeth
Your child seems to never remember to brush teeth or clip his nails on his own. A kitten is only a baby – it needs responsible care to thrive. It will not do to hand a kitten over to a child if he has not learned how to be responsible.
You need to study your child to see how far he has come. A child who does not seem to care about his own oral or personal hygiene is obviously not ready to be trusted to take care of the health of a kitten.
4. Your child seems to change his mind every now and then
Before you agree to get your child a kitten, you need to be completely sure that his love of cats is real and likely to last for years. Children tend to move quickly from one area of interest to another.
If your child only seems interested in a kitten because he likes Doraemon on TV, for instance, he could tire of it once his interest in the TV show runs out. You need to make sure that your child’s interest in a kitten is not linked to another temporary interest, then.
You should also make sure that your child is committed to the idea of getting a kitten and no other pet. It would not make sense to buy a pet for a child who seems undecided about the exact kind of pet wants.
5. Your child does not seem to care what the other members of the family want
It is a sign of maturity when a child thinks not just about himself but about his entire family. A child who seems adamant about a kitten and who does not care about what his sister or brother wants may not be ready for the selfless attitude necessary for pet ownership.
6. Your child does not seem to like playing around energetically
Kittens thrive on stimulation. While they do not need as much vigorous activity as puppies, they do need enthusiastic and tireless human companionship. To be happy with a kitten, your child needs to love energetic play.
7. Your child does not seem willing to agree to a trial run
Just as it would not make sense to jump into a friendship or a romantic relationship without adequate opportunity to get to know one another, it would not make sense to simply get a pet without bringing one home for a short time first, to see how it actually works out.
Children who are not emotionally mature enough for pet ownership often dislike the idea of a trial run. They simply want to get started on the real thing. This attitude can show you that your child is not mature enough to appreciate how complex pet ownership is.
8. You are not prepared for the demands of pet ownership
Even if you do have a responsible child who is happy with the demands of pet ownership, your child will not be around all the time. He will need to go to school and do his homework, for instance. Someone in the family needs to be ready to step in at such times. If no family member has the time, it will not matter how responsible your child is. You will need to put off getting a kitten.
9. Are pets allowed where you live?
If you rent your home, you may find that your landlord has policies against pets. You need to make sure that getting a kitten does not violate any pet policies where you live.
10. Your child or a family member is allergic to fur
Kittens and cats are capable of setting off fur-related allergies. You need to thoroughly consider the allergy angle before you agree to getting a kitten.
You may agree to a kitten later. You need to help your child understand that a decision to not get a kitten does not have to be forever. Your child can grow up in a year or two and be completely ready for the responsibilities involved.