Post # 1
Our dog was stolen from our yard a few months ago. We searched for him, offered rewards, nothing. We were and are heartbroken. DH is finally about done with the repairs on our house so I’d like to get a new pet sometime in December to lift our spirits but I am stuck between a dog and a cat. I am not very familiar with cats and have never owned one. I am hoping seasoned cat owners can guide me on whether or not a cat is a better fit for our family than a dog.
If we were to get a dog, it would be from a rescue and would be a smaller/medium size. I like this idea and I feel that a dog would be more likely to play with and interact with my children (8 and 15 months). I do not like the idea of daily walks in the middle of winter when the temperatures are -10 below. Nor the constant need to go outside for potty breaks. I have MS so these things are difficult for me but my husband works so I’d be the sole provider of these things. I also feel that dogs are more friendly and forgiving when it comes to babies being too rough. I always supervise my son around any animal of course and try my best to prevent him from being rough but occasionally he will grab an ear or a tail before I can get over to them. Not hard, but rougher than he should be. This was with our old dog though. With a new pet I would be right next to him at all times.
Dogs don’t seem to mind in general, but he approached a cat (family members cat) too quickly once and reached out for her and she hissed at him and tried to scratch. I realize that not every cat will do this but nevertheless that’s the impression I was left with.
If we were to get a cat it would be a kitten but would still come from a shelter (we have many kittens in our local shelter, too many). I would get a kitten hoping that we would have a stronger bond. We do have leather couches though so that is a concern. I don’t like that cats can jump up on everything and I wouldn’t like having a cat on my kitchen counters while I’m cooking and whatnot. Again, I feel like a cat would basically ignore my children and they wouldn’t get much benefit from having one as a pet. I on the other hand am envisioning curling up on the couch with a book and a sweet kitty purring in my lap.
So yes, sorry for the long winded post but I am having reservations about both animals. My chief concern is safety/tolerance for my child. I am not one of those parents that allows little ones to treat animals poorly but I just would feel safer if I didn’t think the animal was likely to lash out at the first mishap on my sons part. I do also realize that every animal is different but the one experience we had with a cat did not go well so I am looking for reassurance. Are cats bad pets for small children in general? Does it sound like a dog is our best bet?
Post # 2
it really depends on the individual animal. I know dogs that are terrible with children and cats that are great with them. And vice versa. I would suggest going to a rescue as a family and meeting a lot of different animals until you meet the one that fits well with your family.
Post # 3
do you think that we should look at adult cats instead of kittens?
Post # 4
Dogs are individuals, but I would absolutely not count on a dog being okay with being grabbed at by a child. A child should never be left unsupervised with a dog and allowed to grab an ear or tail. Dogs can do far more damage than a cat if provoked or in pain. Some dogs are tolerant, and some dogs appear tolerant but are just resisting and giving subtle body language cues of their discomfort, and some dogs won’t tolerate manhandling at all.
And similarly, cats are individuals. Some cats are cuddly, some adamantly avoid people. It all depends on the animal. Again, do not count on a cat being okay manhandled. My niece backed my cat into a corner, and got swiped at. It was unfortunate, but it happened, and it could have been a lot worse.
Children need to learn boundaries with animals, and until they do, they need to be monitored extremely closely. I am in the camp that it is never the animal’s fault for feeling like it needs to protect itself.
Cats will jump on things, dogs will need walks. It’s really a drop in the bucket, because each will love you in return. But you cannot generalize that either will be tolerant of a child, because there is no way to predict that.
Visit your local shelter, and talk to them about what you’re looking for. They may have a cat or dog that they know adores children, or they will be able to keep an eye out for you if one comes in.
Post # 5
I never left him unsupervised even with our old dog who I trusted with my life. Both animals and babies are unpredictable, I know that. I guess I’ve just met a lot of mean cats and nice dogs. Just to be clear though, I do not intend to leave my baby unsupervised or allow him to be rough, regardless of which animal we get.
I will let them know that I am looking for a pet that loves kids. That’s basically what I was trying to get across.
Post # 6
again, it will depend on the animal. Some adult cats are used to children so they would be great. Others already learned to hate kids. A kitten is more work but it would basically grow up with your kid and learn to love kids (or learn to be terrified of a toddler).
We have a large dog and he LOVES children. My niece grabbed his lip pretty hard once and as her mom and I both jumped to separate them but my dog was like “meh, whatever she’s little and I don’t care”. We obviously continue to supervise and teach her to be gentle, but at the same time he’s been around enough children now that we trust him not to snap at her (in fact – another dog snapped at her once and my dog put himself between my niece and the other dog and stared that dog down until I was able to come over and grab the other dog and remove him from the room).
Post # 7
Yes! That’s what I’m looking for. Not that I would allow my son to do anything but just the peace of mind that I had a tolerant animal just in case
Post # 8
unfortunately you won’t really know until you meet the dog if they have a sweet disposition. We also spend a TON of time training our dog. He’s almost two and we still do regular training sessions to make sure he doesn’t regress into bad puppy behaviour. There is really no such thing as a bad dog – it’s just bad owners.
Post # 9
Cats vs Dogs
Pro Dog – You’ve had one before/you know roughly what to expect
Con Dog- walks / going out for toilet / potential danger bites etc / will be larger to deal with
Pro Cat- Independent toileting / will be always a small pet
Con Cat- scratching of furniture / potential danger scratches
Young animal — you will have to train into your ways…toilet training etc, inside/outside times
I’m a cat person but I probably wouldn’t get a kitten with a 15 month old. I’d go for a slightly older cat (1-2 years old), perhaps one that has already been with children and tolerates them.
Your children will benefit from learning how to treat animals correctly, which involves giving them their space when the animal makes it clear… most animals are very forgiving of accidents, tails being caught etc.
I had a cat from when I was younger, I was 7 and my brother was 3. The cat was often willing to play with me and she was never allowed on the kitchen surfaces, in fact not on any table! She also very rarely scratched… though she was fond of clicking the carpet.
I chose that cat.
It might be worth talking to your 8 year old and getting them involved in the decision.
Post # 10
So cats do actually play with kids? Lol sorry the only adult cats I’ve ever met were very aloof and not at all playful, with the exception of one.
Post # 11
Hmm yeah you just never can tell. The first pet I ever had was an intact tomcat (I was 10 and didn’t know any better back then and neither did my parents). He’s quite a fighter and drove away all the neighborhood strays by the time he was 6 months old. He’s very affectionate with my family, but he has swiped at adult guests who’ve backed him into a corner.
My parents had a friend who brought over her 2-year-old a lot and my grandparents would sometimes babysit for her. He would always try to grab my cat by the tail or even worse, whiskers. We try to stop him of course but it was constant. To be fair to him, my cat was also very curious about the toddler and braved the risks of being grabbed.
He never did anything to the kid though. On occasions when he couldn’t get away, he just allowed himself to be dragged around with a resigned look on his face until he’s rescued by one of us. It’s amazing because he would have bloodied up an adult for doing that.
Post # 12
although I’m all for the combo kids and pets (I think it’s a great way to teach them about caring and respecting another form of life), and I’m also very, very enthusiastic about adopting animals from shelters (I myself have 3 rescue dogs), I have to be honest and say that I don’t think you’re an ideal family for a puppy. You’re already complaining about potty breaks and walks and the fact that you’ll be the sole caretaker (practically).
Cats also demand some effort and hard work, you might get lucky and end up with a tolerant cat – but I think your kids might just be too young to have a cat at home.
Get a hamster or some other small pet for now.
Post # 13
hi there, I agree with rosalily
on getting an older cat that is used to children. we don’t have any kids, but we rescued a kitten who used to LOVE me (would cuddle with me every night, give me kisses, etc.) and completely ignored by fiance. After we got her spayed, she literally turned into the devil. she claws at me, bites me, and all around hates me, but is in absolute love with my Fiance lol. I’m not very knowledgable about cats (our cat is more of my FI’s responsibility, and our 2 dogs are my responsibility), but I’ve heard that their personalities can change a lot in the first year of having them (which was my experience as well)…which is why I say that an older cat who is used to children is probably the better route to go.
Post # 14
your making assumptions about animals but all these are indervidual to the animal not species – cats tend to scratch, dogs tend to bite
the way I look at it (logically) if a dog snaps you easily have a seriously injured if not dead child but if a cat snaps you have scratches and at the very, very, very worst case possible blindness (only if it catches the kid in his open eye)
smaller dogs are actually more violent/vicious than bigger breeds as many where originally breed to physically kill small fast moving creatures (terrier, shitszu, yorkies) and instictivly can chase and attack
larger dog are less likely to chase/kill something in hunt mode (labradors, shepards, collies, retriever… all breed to heard and fetch but not to ‘kill’ they may nip and roughhouse but are less likely to violently attack)
the safest dogs are flat faced dogs such as french or british buldogs and pugs… their flat faces make it very hard for them to latch on even if they do attack seriously reducing the damage they can inflict
In my experiance with cats most cats are very good with small children, cats are intuitive and know babies are babies so tend to tolerate a lot more from a child than they would from an adult… many other cats who arent good with children may run and hide, ive only ever met 2 cats that would attack children (they where brothers) and they where both very angry, semi feral, old toms that had never been around children before
the problem is with a rescue you wont know its fears, triggers and history… im not surgesting getting a puppy/kitten from a breeder of anything but their are many great ‘classifieds’ pets being sold directly by the owner where you can meet and talk to the owners who usually know far more about the history (and weather its been raised around babies/kids) and possibly see it intereact with the owners children etc…
I grew up with many pets both cats and dogs and was attack by both species… I have no long lasting damage from the cat (had a tiny scar off two holes from a claw under my eye but that vanished after a few years) but I had 3 surgeries and reconstruction and was left with a large scar off the dog (small dog… the cat was actually bigger) and was lucky because had he caught me a few inches lower I probably would of died… needless to say as much as I love dogs I chose cats for my home with my children
Post # 15
thats my experiance with most cats too… there are the odd one that swipes at kids like I said above but most either hide (usually queens) or just ragdoll and put up with it (usually toms) if a child grabs them
I heard a funny retching nose and found my child with his finger all the way down our tom cats throat, I ran over freaking out and as soon as he saw me my son pulled his finger out and pretended to be innocent even though I SAW him but the cat just yawned/retched and then jumped straight up into his lap and curled into a ball as if nothing had happened… I was left sat their like dont know whos dumber, my son for doing it or the cat for letting him and not caring