Your Child’s First Pet

Ever since your child learnt what a cat was, you have most likely heard these famous words, “Please, pleeaasse can I have a kitty!?”


This moment can be difficult for parents. Some parents had a wonderful experience growing up with a pet, while other families have never owned an animal before and don’t know where to begin.

Studies have shown that interacting with a family pet can encourage a child’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. In fact, according to the FDA, a study known as the “Hygiene Hypotheses” states that early life exposure to allergens can boost a child’s immune system and therefore reduce their risk of developing allergies as they grow.


Having a pet can help teach a child about responsibility, such as filling their cat’s water and food bowl. Children also learn to connect on a compassionate level with their pet and see them as far more than just an “animal”.

As if these reasons weren’t convincing enough, according to WebMD, cats also make for excellent stress relief. The act of petting a cat can raise your levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are the “feel good” chemicals in your brain.


So next time your child promises to eat broccoli in exchange for getting a pet cat, remember the positives. However, it’s important to make sure your family and your children are prepared to welcome a new member into your home. Animal Planet provides a helpful list of tips to make sure everyone gets off on the right foot!

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