September 2011 Issue

Mixing Cats and Kids Safely

This relationship can bring both companionship and responsibility into your child’s life. Do it right.

Who isn’t charmed by photographs of kids holding and petting cute, cuddly kittens? Children can benefit from having a cat, and vice versa. “The experience of bonding between the child and the cat can be invaluable,” says Larry Lachman, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist, animal behavior consultant and author of Cats on the Counter: Therapy and Training for Your Cat, “and a child learns to increase compassion and empathy for nonhuman life.” Pets teach children the responsibility of doing chores like feeding the cat, changing the water and cleaning the litter box. Having a pet can also provide a family with its own pet-assisted therapy.

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