Perhaps one of the greatest positives that pet ownership can have for children in terms of wellbeing, is to teach children valuable lessons in empathy, compassion, friendship, and maturity. We advise that one of the best ways to create a strong bond between your child and their cat is to have them take part in the care of their pet.
Allowing children to look after the cat by feeding it, grooming it and showing it love, gives them a sense of ownership and encourages them to make strong connections. Talk to your child about the cat’s feelings along the way, so they understand the impact they have on their pet’s life. In doing so, having a pet cat benefits the mental health and development of your child.
Another important lesson is letting your child be involved in looking after their pets. This can help promote self-esteem, increase play skills and grow social connections. In some instances, pets have been shown to assist children with developmental conditions, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, to become more interactive within the family.
It’s important to consider your family’s individual circumstances before committing your time, love and attention to caring for a cat. However, if you do, there are huge benefits that can result from the special bonds formed between children and their pets.
Mr Daniel Wendt, specialises in the psychology of children, teenagers and young adults in the Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast regions of NSW. The team at Oracle Psychology are expert Child and Adolescent Psychologists who are registered with the Psychology Board of Australia.