Thursday, November 17, 2011

Top Cat Breeds for Children

There are cat breeds, one of which is the Pixie-bob, that are suitable as companions to children because of the character that has been bred into them. However, before I mention these breeds you will probably realise that individual cats have their own personalities, which will quite possibly override the cat breed characteristics or at least add to the underlying characteristics of the cat breed.

Secondly, neutered cats will tend to be less territorial and therefore less aggressive making them more suitable for children.

Thirdly, many random bred cats, particularly older perhaps unwanted cats at cat rescue centers will have as good a character as you can find for children. You just have to check them out.

Cats that are well socialised with respect to other animals and people are a pre-requisite  - a basic starting point - for all cats no matter whether they are purebred cat breeds or random bred moggies.

The character of the cat should be checked out before adoption through interaction between person and cat and in communication with breeder or cat rescue employee.

Finally, a relationship with a domestic cat is a two way process. The child should be taught how to interact with a domestic cat. This starts with a respect for a cat's innate characteristics and needs. This is down to responsible parenting. There is also the matter of ensuring that the child realizes that caring for a cat is for the life of the cat. Nothing short of that is acceptable. I know that sounds tough but it is correct.

Tolerance, a laid back nature, loyalty to their human companion, a good but gentle talker and a cat that likes to interact with people are some of the basic characteristics of a cat breed that is suitable to be a companion to a child.

The well known website, Catster, recommends the following top cat breeds for children: Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Birman, Burmese, Maine Coon, Manx, Persian and Ragdoll.

I disagree a little with this choice. There is no doubt that a well socialized Ragdoll is suitable. This is a large, cuddly, teddy bear of a cat that is known to be laid back.

The American Shorthair is a mainstream cat. If you go for that breed you might as well go for any almost. However, it is one of a few breeds considered suitable for children and therefore must rank high as one of the top cat breeds for children.

American Shorthair - recommended for children
Photo copyright Helmi Flick

The Birman is relaxed and easy going. They have balanced personalities and are tolerant. The Birman is an excellent choice and no doubt one of the cat breeds for children.

The jet black, Bombay is another relaxed and friendly cat breed that likes to be close to people. They are less well known but a really nice cat.

I would like to recommend the British Shorthair. This is a very solid, reliable cat breed and the male Brit SH is said to be "especially friendly to people, even to the point of being mushy". That sounds just the job to me for a child. A very safe cat breed. They are also suited to an indoor life.

Pixie-bob - Photo copyright Helmi Flick

The Pixie-bob is a cat that is overlooked sometimes as has been the case at Catster. Helmi Flick the well known cat photographer finds this cat breed very easy to deal with and Gloria Stephens a very experienced cat lady who wrote Legacy of the Cat says that the Pixie-bob (or Pixiebob) make "excellent companions for children". You will not get a better recommendation. The Pixie-bob is not a wild cat hybrid. The Pixie-bob illustrated is one of two cat breeds specifically recommended for children and one of the top cat breeds for children.

The RagaMuffin is a close relative of the Ragdoll. So what I have said about the Ragdoll would apply to a certain extent to the RagaMuffin.

The famous Main Coon is just a good allround cat breed that is relaxed and easy going. They are large and I am sure a child would love to play with a nicely mannered, large domestic cat with shaggy long hair. They are probably the world's most popular purebred cat. Gloria Stephens (Legacy of the Cat) says that Maine Coons get along well with children and dogs.

Finally I would go for the Manx as suggested by Catster as they are playful and loyal. The Cymric is the long haired version of the Manx by the way. And we can't overlook the loveable Persian. This is an indoor type cat breed that has been described as a piece of furniture, meaning docile. This makes it a suitable cat breed for children.

I have excluded the skinny cats and the wild cat hybrids. But that does not mean they are unsuitable. What about the world's biggest domestic cat? She is Magic and she had a beautiful relationship with a six year old child or boy, Andreas Stucki.

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