Should I Get Another Cat for My Two Year Old?

Updated on December 14, 2009
M.R. asks from Salt Lake City, UT
10 answers

I had a cat who I just couldn't train and had to get rid of about 2 months ago. Now, my 2 year old crys whenever we visit someone who has a cat because she wants to bring the cat home. So I want to adopt a cat from a local shelter but I'm not sure and need some help making up my mind...
First of all let me say that I grew up with cats and I really want to get her one but, I afraid of the cat transferring anything to my daughter. The last cat that we had would scratch and bite her a lot (very rude cat). I'm afraid to be stuck with the same problems. Do you guys have any advice whether it's a good idea to get a full grown cat for a two year old or not? My daughter is very loving with animals and wouldn't hurt them. So I'm not concerned about her hurting the cat I'm concerned about the cat hurting her, any viruses that the cat may transfer to her, or anything else that I should know before making a choice????

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So What Happened?

I want to thank each one of you for all your advice on getting a cat. You helped me make up my mind on not getting another cat until my baby is old enough to be "responsible". We got her a Fur Real kitten instead and she just loves it. Thank you all so much!

More Answers



answers from Detroit on

I just got my 3 yr old a kitten today. I went everywhere testing them out. I would treat them like a toddler would. Picked them up, turned them upside down, tugged their tail a bit, ran around the room stomping...I basically spent my day beating up kittens, lol! (Not that bad!) Anyways, I finally found one that handled it all. Super sweet little boy. My daughter comes home from her father's on Sunday, so hopefully all goes well. I'll keep you posted!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

Last year for Christmas my husband "got" me a cat. Instead of purchasing a cat he wrote a letter to me from Santa telling me that Santa had reviewed my case (had been asking for a cat for a while and husband kept staying no) and that my husband had been over turned by the order of Santa. Along with the letter was all the things I needed for a cat, like dishes and a litter box. We then went as a family and got an older kitten, something out of the mean baby stage, and made sure that the cat got along with our 3 year old - we knew that we had to pick someone who would tolerate poking and all that.

Some cats don't like children, and you want to know that when you adopt. Kittens are rough, so that isnt a great idea. Cats at shelters are screened for things they can pass on, like worms and all that, so its a good idea to adopt from a place that you confirm has screened for things that can be transferred to people.

Finally, make sure you are adopting a cat for the sake of the family as a whole, and not just for your daughter. Cats take work too! Good luck with your decision!



answers from Provo on

I love adopting cats from shelters! My very favorite cat I ever had was from a shelter! She was about 3 or 4 months old when we adopted her, so still a kitten, but an older kitten. I wouldn't worry about adopting an older adult cat. I think you actually have more chance of getting a nice cat that wont scratch or bite when you get an older one than when you get a kitten, since you never really know how the kitten will turn out even if they are super sweet when they are little. You will be able to know the cat's temperment by how it reacts to you at the shelter... if it is a nice friendly cat it will rub up against the bars and purr when you pet it. Sometimes the ones that are a bit shy are also very nice cats as well... but usually they make better one-person cats instead of family cats since it takes them a whiel to warm up. You can probably even test to see how the cat is being held, handled, ect just by how relaxed it is when you pick it up - the more relaxed it is while you are holding it the better chance it wont mind if your two year old pulls its tail or squishes it once in a while. You may even be able to find one that is declawed so you wouldnt even have to worry about the scratching. I think adopting an adult cat is a great route to go! And, you have the added benefit of saving a life... adult cats always go slower than kittens and are more likely to be put to sleep if they don't get a home. Good luck!



answers from Boise on

No, I would not get a kitten. It is not fair to the cat. Your daughter will want to carrry, dress, chase and play all with love and that is to much for the kitten. Getting a full grown cat and doing what the other writers suggest are great. I have had cats all my life and here is a rule I live by with them. If you love them let them go. They will come back on their own and will be even more loyal. I never make my cat sit with me or do anything. They can always get down or leave. This rule works with kittens and grown cats. Respect the cat.



answers from Denver on

A kitten is always going to be an unknown - so if you do this you should look at adults. Most shelters do temperment tests - but there's always a risk. And you have to be willing to make the commitment. It's very stressful for cats to go in and out of a shelter - and sometimes if they are returned (depends on the shelter) they do not deem a returned cat "adoptable". I'm not saying that you're not committed, but as a former shelter worker, I wish people understood how things work. The animals lives depend on US making good decisions - and they sometimes die because WE make poor decisions. Good luck.



answers from Springfield on

Ya know, I am a cat lover myself and want to get another (possibly 2) someday, when my kids are older. Here's the dilemma you face by having a kitten/cat with a real youngster. The cats have claws that are sharp and teeth that get sharper the older they get. I would hate to see your little one grab the tail or pinch the fur in a playful way only to get swiped by the feline. I see it happen often enough and it can be serious if the cat bites hard. My cat bit me after I startled it when it was only 2 years old and the bite (on the finger) was serious enough to admit me to the hospital. Their tiny needlelike teeth deposited the bacteria from their mouth (very dirty) into my knuckle joint and it became infected. Within hours, my entire hand swelled to the size of a catcher's mitt and I had red marks going up my arm. I went to the ER after calling vet clinics to ask what I should do and the hospital admitted me, told me I had bloodstream poisoning and that when those red marks got to my heart, I'd be dead. They pumped me with intravenous antibiotics for 3 weeks! It took weeks to recover initially, and even after that I was weak for months. And I loved that cat! Kept her for 14 years!! I had no kids at the time but I can't imagine my child going through that. Remember, animals are animals. They can be trained, but they don't exercise judgment like humans do. You'd be constantly telling your child to not pull at the cat or pet harshly. It won't be worth it. Give her a beautiful stuffed kitty and tell her some day, when she's bigger, she'll get a real one. :)



answers from Salt Lake City on

We adopted an adult cat when my now 8 year old daughter was just 2 years old as well. We have been very happy with our mature feline! Kittens can be very feisty and you never know what their personality will be when they grow up. Take your daughter with you to the shelter, let her hold them and play with them. You'll know by watching them whether or not it will be a good match. Our cat was 3 years old when we got her, completely litter box trained, had no problem being an indoor cat, has never scratched the furniture, and has only occasionally scratched the kids (only when they didn't heed her warnings and probably deserved a little swat!) I think we got really really lucky, but I do love that we gave an older cat a good home when it is usually only the cute little kittens that get adopted! Good luck!



answers from Boise on

I so believe that children should grow up around animals. It is true that children aren't always as gentle as they should be though, and children of all ages are going to dress up their pets. We lost our cat (14) in April, and by May, I NEEDED another. We ended up with two sisters that were 4 months and actually quite big kittens. My son was 1 at the time. They have all grown up and learned together. My son's favorite thing is to love on the cats, which is really just lying on them. For the most part, they seem to like it and just lay there, even when we ask him to get off them. There is definitely one that takes it better than the other, and we never leave them alone together. They have learned that when they don't want the attention, that they aren't around him, and when they do, they walk all over him.

My sister had a nasty cat that they ended up having to put down because of the aggression to their daughter. She had 2 other shelter cats that saw my niece from an infant, and they have been great with her. She just got a kitten too (my niece is 3.5), and she is fitting in nicely. You can make it work.

I would suggest either a kitten that can learn (you can keep the claws trimmed, and a spray bottle handy), or an adult cat (5 or so) that has previously been around young children. To try to introduce an adult cat that either hasn't been around young kids, or an older one that may not have the patience, isn't fair to either of them. You should definitely see what the personality will be ahead of time, but that can't guarantee you of anything.

Good luck to you!



answers from Pocatello on

If you are worried about your daughter getting hurt there is a product called soft claws that has saved my house from claws!!! My cat is super friendly but was not so friendly to the furniture and instead of having her declawed I found these online and they have saved my house!!! I think you need to find a cat that is compatible to your families personalities. See if you can do a trial thing before making a final decision. I agree with the shelter idea and make sure to have the cat checked for worms, etc. Most of the time, the cat can't make her sick without actually scratching/biting her or unless she is allergic. These would all be things that would be looked at during the trial period. The soft claws come in all different colors... Check them out... they are sooooo coool!!



answers from Denver on

At the risk of sounding rude, you got rid of the first cat so you do not need another. If your main concerns are your daughter getting hurt ect... instead of how a 2 year old can hurt an animal even when being nice perhaps now is not a good time. Maybe when she is older and can help you take care of an animal, then you could try again. There is no such thing as a perfect animal. Most animals are not mean just because, they are afraid, or unhappy. Yes I have had cats that pounced on me just because it was fun, but it is not rude, just natural behaviors that needed to be channeled. Don't get an animal because you think it will be good for your child or because you had them, get one because you want to care for another creature for its lifetime. It's hard enough with a toddler, so adding to the family with a cat may not be in anyones best interest. Good luck.

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