Reasons Why Cats Are the Best Choice for Your Child’s First Pet

Parents can be picky when choosing a pet for their child, especially if it’s going to be their first pet. Both cats and dogs are the most popular choices as pets and they both offer different advantages and disadvantages like the ones we have covered in a different article. Still — as tight as the battle for the most popular pet is — in this article, we’ll focus on all the reasons why cats are the best choice for your child’s first pet.

Keep in mind that every kid has a different personality, as every cat has a different demeanor. Also, young children shouldn’t be left alone with a pet, as they could harm the animal or harm themselves. Supervise young children and train older children to be kind and gentle with their pets, it’s a quality that will make them grow into gentle and responsible adults.

little girl holding baby cat

What can your child learn from having a cat as a pet?

Your child can learn to be patient

Isn’t it difficult to teach your child to wait for anything? Little kids don’t understand the meaning of the word patience, but a little kitty can teach them that.

Kitties need time to get used to your child and to their new home; likewise, your child also needs time to get used to their pet. Introduce the cat to your child gently and supervise their interactions, in time your child will know how to treat the new family member.


Once the little cat gets used to your child and vice versa, you can leave your child alone with the kitty knowing that it will be patient and gentle with the small cat.

Having a cat as a pet can teach your child to be gentle

As a parent you probably know this, but in case you don’t know, we’ll tell you… children are anything BUT careful. Still, having a cat as a pet can teach your child to be gentle, not only with the cat, but in general.

Cats are not nearly as sturdy as dogs are and petting a cat is different from petting a dog. Cats enjoy being pet on their back, shoulder, top of the head or neck, but they don’t tolerate being pet on their belly so much.

If your child learns the right way to pet and carry their cat, not only will they have a fun and happy relationship, your young child will grow to be a gentle and kind person.

Your kid can learn responsibility

A child as young as 4 years old can understand that the cat has to eat, drink water, and potty every day. These are small tasks related to the cat that a child can comply. Teach them how and when to feed the cat and how to change the cat’s bowl of water, help your kid if you must. In little time he will be the one in charge of these tasks with no supervision at all.


This will help your child understand how to take and handle different responsibilities as they grow and become responsible adults.

Your children will be healthier

Science has proved that a child that grows up with a cat or a dog at home has an improved immune system and decreased number of respiratory infections, allergies, and asthma.

child playing with cat at home

Benefits of having a cat as a pet

Besides all the good things your child can learn from having a cat as a pet, there are other good reasons for having a cat as your child's first pet.

Cleaning fanatics

Something that easily identifies cats is their grooming habits. Cats lick themselves clean when they are dirty; of course, this doesn’t mean you don’t have a part in their grooming at all.


Depending on your cat’s breed you need to brush their fur often and bathe them if necessary. However, you can rest assured that cats don’t get dirty nearly as often as dogs do. If your kid wishes to go play into the mud, a dog would love to comply but a cat would not.

Having a cat as their first pet will encourage cleaning habits in your kids (with your assistance, of course) and you will have less work than you would normally have if you had a dog rather than a cat.

Small and quiet

Cats make the perfect companion for small spaces like an apartment. They don’t need an expensive bed either, and at times, just a box is more than fine for cats.

Another extra point for cats is the fact that they’re super quiet. Many dog breeds can offer you a pocket-size dog to fit your small apartment; however, small dog breeds are usually the loudest. Cats are both small and quiet.

They take care of their own business

Cats don’t need you to walk them outside for them to do their business. Cats relieve themselves in a litter box whenever they feel like it, and some cats even know how to use the toilet. Of course, you must train the cat to use the litter box (or the toilet), but once they learn, it’s all up to them. This is a huge advantage cats have over dogs. Not to mention it can be unpleasing to clean up after your dog, especially if you have a very large dog. We know it.

Cats live longer

Once we get used to our dear pets they become another member of the family. Naturally, we wish to keep our four-legged companion for a long time.

The good news is that cats can live from 13 years to 17 years, way longer than pooches. This is extra points dogs don’t have, so if you wish to have a pet for a generous amount of time and be able to cuddle with it, go for a cat.

Cat Breeds That Make Wonderful Pets for Children

Just like dogs, some cat breeds are more kid-friendly than others. This is a list of different cat breeds that will make a wonderful companion for your child.



Ragdolls are a wonderful option as a pet for kids. In many ways, the ragdoll cat breed behaves similar to dogs. They enjoy playing fetch, keep you company the entire time (like follow every step you make) and are loyal to the bone. Their social nature makes them perfect for children. This is a rather large cat breed that can weigh from 12 lb to 20 lb, so have that in mind if you go for a ragdoll.


persian cat on the couch

The Persian is one of the most popular cat breeds selected as a pet. The reason behind their popularity is in their friendly temperament. They like human attention and are very social, which makes them the perfect choice for a pet.

Besides being very approachable, the Persian has an extremely cute appearance. They have a flat face with almost no nose and a very round face shape. This popular feline also has short limbs and very long thick fur.


birman cat at home

Birmans are very kid-friendly, as this cat breed can even learn how to fetch and play tricks. If you are looking for a cat to play with your grown kid, the Birman might be what you need.

Birman’s are very similar to ragdolls in appearance, one of their most significant differences is their size. Birmans are smaller than ragdolls and their coat is less dense than the ragdoll’s coat.

British Shorthair

british shorthair cat

This cat breed comes with many positive points in its favor. Cats can live easily till 17 years old, but the British shorthair can live as long as 20 years. Selecting this cat breed as a pet will ensure — if you take good care of your pet, that is — that you’ll have your furry friend for a very long time.

Besides having an extra-long life, the British short hair it’s a very healthy cat and a low-activity guy. Because they are naturally calm they don’t go around your house scratching everything they see.


young bengal cat

Bengals are an incredibly intelligent cat breed, they are intelligent enough to learn tricks and need constant attention. Like children, they can be demanding, whatever they want they want it quickly. They are always active and wish to be part of whatever their humans are doing. Perfect for kids!

Something that makes the bengal cat breed particularly kid-friendly is that whenever they are playing with their humans they keep their claws hidden. This is something many cat breeds don’t do.


Logically, not every cat is the same and you should teach your child to be gentle with the cat, no matter if is a kitten or a grown cat. Their very first pet is something a child does not forget. Making the right decision can fill their childhood with good memories of an awesome four-legged companion.

References and further reading:

  1. Animal Planet. Cat Breed Directory
  2. Purina. Are Cats Good for Kids?
  3. Marty Crisp. (2003). Everything Cat: What Kids Really Want to Know about Cats.Retrieved from
  4. Joanne Mattern. (2018). The Cat Encyclopedia for Kids.Retrieved from


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