Displaying a love for animals, especially dogs and cats, seems to come naturally to most children. For the most part, having a pet (or interacting with one) can be a fun, positive experience for all involved. However, it’s important to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both kids and pets to build a lifelong foundation of love and respect.
Approaching an Animal
When approaching an unfamiliar dog, make sure your child knows to always ask the owner first before petting. If the owner gives permission, the child should offer their hand, palm up, to be sniffed. If the dog seems accepting, your child may stroke their shoulder or chest.
Cats can seem slightly less predictable than dogs, and their body language isn’t always readily obvious to humans. In general, kids should know to let a cat come to them for affection. A cat who’s hissing, lashing their tail, has ears flattened, or one who walks away should be left alone.
We’re fortunate to live in an era when disease prevention for cats has become a normal way of life. Although feline vaccinations have long been considered one of the easiest and most effective ways to extend the lives of our precious kitties, many owners (understandably) have some questions and concerns.
A Vaccine Primer
Vaccines are designed to help the immune system fight off disease-causing organisms it may come into contact with in the future. Vaccines contain antigens, which are similar enough in structure to a disease-causing virus or bacteria to mildly stimulate the immune system without actually causing the disease. If a cat ever comes into contact with the disease in the future, his or her immune system will be prepared to defend against it.