The answer is of course, that the two usually get along just fine. But simply adopting a cat, bringing it home and expecting the feline and your offspring to live in instantaneous perfect harmony is probably not a good idea.
Have a discussion with your children.
Are they enthused about the idea of a family pet and in particular a cat as the family pet?
Emphasize that a cat will mean many responsibilities and that they will be expected to share in those responsibilities.
Most likely your children will willingly agree to help taking care of the cat and will at first help, but in a few months time it is very possible they may lose a little interest. (If they do it will be up to you to assume all responsibilities, are you prepared to do that?)
Which of your children will be assigned which responsibility? Will it cause ill feeling and disharmony if one child is more involved with the cat’s care than your other children?
Are any of your kids likely to feel displaced by the addition of a cat into your home? A home with both cats and children can be a happy fun place, with a little supervision and guidance from you.
We all love kittens; they are just about the cutest things ever, but they may not be the wisest choice for a home with very young children who will perhaps not fully understand how fragile kittens are.
An over eager hug from a toddler could seriously harm a small kitten.
A very young child may be used to treating toys roughly and not appreciate there is a difference between a stuffed toy and a living animal.
The shouting, shrieking, poking and tail pulling by a toddler is more likely to be accepted by a serene older cat than it would be by a nervous kitten.
No matter how laid back or tolerant your cat is, it is never advisable to leave an unattended toddler with a cat.
Even older children should be under your supervision until you are quite confident that the cat and your kids fully respect each other.
Do your children appreciate just how sharp the Claws of a Cat are? Small scratches from a cat are usually not too serious, but do be aware that even a small scratch on a small child could need medical attention.
A Cat Bite may not look much; even if the skin is broken all there usually is are two tiny puncture wounds. Do not be deceived, bacteria from the cat's mouth can be deposited in the wound and can multiply quickly, medical treatment should be sought.
Kids need to know that cats can sometimes scratch or bite if they are teased, harassed, or if they get over excited.
Teach your children how to play with a cat safely and gently, perhaps with an interactive cat toy such as a wand and mouse so there is a little distance between child and cat.
It is always best if your cat has someplace to retreat to where she or he can be alone. Children sometimes do not understand when a cat is not interested in playing, being petted or has had enough attention.
A room or place that your cat can skedaddle off to when she has had enough can save some tears. Your kids will also need to know not to disturb your cat when she is sleeping eating or at her litter box.
Are you thinking that all this advice about supervising cats and children is a little over the top?
It may be that you enjoyed the company of a cat when you were a young child and no harm came to you even though the two of you were left alone on occasion. That’s wonderful and cats in general get on very well with kids of all ages and most have nothing but love in their hearts. But as the potential for little accidents does exist can we be too careful?
Demonstrate to your children the proper way to hold a cat. Show them how to gently pick kitty up with one hand supporting her chest and the other her back legs and hold her close in to your body.
Tell your children to beware of a cat's sensitive areas such as stomach, tail, ear and paws.
If your kids are too young to be able to hold a cat properly they should be dissuaded from trying to pick up your cat.
If your cat is an indoor only cat, tell your children all the reasons that you want your pet to remain inside your home.
Make sure that they are fully aware that, given the opportunity your cat will run outside and they are to prevent that from happening. This is another good reason that children and cats have adult supervision until they are responsible and old enough.
A strong bond can develop between cats and children, this bond can teach them love and respect for animals that can last through the rest of their lives.
Many studies have shown that kids that share their home with a cat have an improved grasp of non-verbal communication, better relationships with other members of their family and greater self esteem. Teaching your children the basics and responsibilities of looking after a cat will reward them for years to come.
Cat fleas are not selective as to the cats that they infest. Even the healthiest and best cared for cats can become infested with fleas. Flea control can help rid your cat of fleas.