We know from studies that children who grow up with pets are greatly benefitted. They tend to be more caring and empathetic towards people and animals, and more outgoing, with better communication and social skills. The following are five cat breeds that are known to interact well with children, especially quiet kids who are less likely to need an active playmate.
Just remember: Bringing a cat (or any pet) into the home is a big decision. Never choose a cat based on looks alone, always meet the cat or kitten before deciding, and ask the breeder or shelter worker lots of questions.
This cat breed loves to love – both giving and receiving it. The Birman is smart and very receptive to training. You may even be able to get your Birman to walk with a leash if you start early enough. Also in the Birman’s favor: It doesn’t run off and hide when company visits for play dates. In fact, he will probably want to greet all the guests personally. This is, however, not a cat for active children who want to play games with their pet. Instead, the Birman is highly recommended for helping children to practice their reading skills by reading aloud to the cat.
There is a very simple explanation for how the Ragdoll got its name: When picked up, this breed goes limp, like a ragdoll. Soft voiced and gentle, the Ragdoll enjoys attention but will not demand it. All that is needed is a little “mouse fishing” before dinner, or a family walk around the neighborhood (Ragdolls tend to take easily to a leash if you start early), and then a soothing evening with your purring bundle as your children read and do homework.
More active than a Persian and quieter than a Siamese, the Himalayan falls into that easy place where an evening game of laser tag or “mouse fishing” is the extent of the activity you want, with lots of emphasis on quiet, relaxing time. The Himalayan takes well to the indoor life and gives and receives affection in equal turns. Be prepared for a cat that will bond and love you and your kids for life.
One of the most beloved of American breed cats, the Maine Coon is also one of our oldest companion cats. Working side-by-side on the family farms of early settlers, the Coon has had a lot of time to get to know us and adapt to our needs. Patient with active children, the Coon will help to temper a child’s mercurial nature with its calm nature, while making sure that the child gets some exercise time with some catch and fetch games. The Coon is also an excellent friend on long, quiet winter nights.
A Persian without the pretensions, the Exotic Shorthair plays up the easy-going, laid back personality of the Persian, without the aloofness and grooming demands of the Persian. With a quiet "Welcome home" to greet your child at the end of the school day, the Exotic will be there as a soothing presence to help your family wind down and get back into the groove of family life. All it requires is a little bit of play time each evening, a warm lap and soft caresses.