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For Children

This section will describe the most basic responsibilities of pet ownership, and help you assess whether or not your child is ready for this exciting but serious journey.

Like puppies, kittens will need careful socialization, housetraining, and bite inhibition training to develop into a wonderful and safe companion for you and your family. Adult cats don’t require quite as much time as either kittens or dogs, but still need training, management, socialization, and companionship. Consider the following carefully as you and your family discuss your plans for a new feline companion:

Litter box training – Cats can be particular about the cleanliness of their litter boxes—to the point that they may stop using the litter box if it is the least bit dirty! Your cat’s litter box must be scooped of urine and feces once a day and completely emptied and thoroughly cleaned at least once a week; ideally you should scoop feces as soon as you see it. Helping you keep the cat’s litter box clean is a great way for children to learn responsibility; while they develop those skills, though, you’ll need to be sure to keep the litter clean to avoid much more unpleasant household accidents.
Grooming – Shorthaired cats are usually self-grooming; longhaired cats require daily brushing in order to maintain their coats. You’ll also need to clip your cat’s nails periodically.
Feeding – Feeding your cat 2 meals a day helps you to observe any changes in eating habits. This is an ideal way to monitor your cats food intake and general health, as well as a good way to build a strong bond with your pet. Your child can feed the family cat and be a part of the process.
Interaction – Cats require mental and physical stimulation every day. It is especially important for kittens, who can become severely destructive if left on their own for too long without something to do. You’ll need to spend a minimum of twenty minutes a day actively playing with your cat. Participating with you in these play sessions can be a great way for children to learn gentleness, communication, and patience.

As your children help you with these tasks, it can be a wonderful way for your family to spend time together and for your children to gain an increasingly deeper understanding of commitment to others, kindness, responsibility, and the general care of other living beings.

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