We know that children benefit from the companionship of pets from a young age. They learn to control their impulses, they develop empathy for creatures who can’t speak for themselves, and they grow up to have a more nurturing character that leads to stronger relationships with the people in their lives. While many dog breeds make wonderful family pets and are very careful around children, cat parents often find that felines are a little better equipped to handle the rough usage that a toddler puts them through. While a dog will tolerate a lot of abuse from those tiny hands, a cat will coolly but firmly explain to the child that they have had enough! Your preference in this matter may even decide the upbringing your child gets.
For parents who want both the kindness of a Golden Retriever and the implacability of a feline, a well socialized Maine Coon is the perfect pet to bring home. These wonderful felines have several major advantages that place them above all other kinds of cats (and even most dogs) when it comes to children.
They are naturally gentle. One of our favorite monikers for this excellent breed is the “gentle giant.” Breeders of Maine Coons look for two types of faces, the sweet and the feral. The sweet face is rounder and kinder, while the feral one makes you feel like you’re being judges by a furry, grumpy teacher! No matter the expression on those faces, a Maine Coon cat is a soft touch. They adore the company of humans and will willingly baby sit your young children and keep them entertained for hours! Their patient nature makes them ideal companions for kids. So long as you, the parents, set early boundaries for your children and teach them how to pet and play with their cat, you will never have to worry about leaving them unsupervised together. Make sure that your kids know not to pull a cat’s tail, ears, paws, or fur. Teach them to always keep their hands open when they pet the cat along the head, shoulders, and back. These rules will keep playtime fun for both your children and their feline best friend.
They are very sturdy cats. Maine Coon cats are built along the lines of hardy mountain felines. It’s a gift from their wild ancestors. They have a multi-layered coat to protect them from the elements; a big, well-muscled body to take a lot of damage; furred, snow-shoes on their paws to help them walk on the icy ground; and a thick, fluffy tail to wrap around their body when they are cold. In modern times, and in their new life as domestic cats, these attributes mostly help them keep up with energetic and often injury-prone toddlers. Unlike most cats, who are smaller and more fragile, a Maine Coon does not sustain much hurt when a small human body falls on top of it or a little foot stamps their tail. Their coats are also waterproof, and unlike every other breed of cat, a Maine Coon loves to play with water! Bath times are even more fun when your child has a cat to play splash with. However, remember that despite their affinity to water, this breed is too heavy to swim well. Keep the watersports restricted to kiddie pools and make sure they never get close to deeper waters.
They remain playful well into adulthood. A Maine Coon cat can be an excellent playmate for your child. While most cats dislike sudden, loud noises and look around for a hiding place when kids run inside the house, Maine Coon cats quite enjoy a good chase around the living room! The wonderful thing about these “dogs of the cat world” is that they are incredibly playful. Cats in general are very sensitive. Even well socialized ones reach the limit of their tolerance pretty quickly. They prefer calm cuddling, not the kind of rough-housing kids use to show their affection. While other cat breeds get up and leave, Maine Coons last a lot longer in the company of children. They take a genuine interest in the games a child invents and doesn’t mind being used as a prop in any of them. Their disposition is so friendly and docile that they are often compared to the beloved Retriever breed of dogs.
They can be trained. Aside from their gorgeous coat and features, there is a reason this breed has consistently won most awards in any cat show in the country since the first time they were shown. Maine Coon cats are extremely easy to train, and their sweet nature combined with tractable obedience makes them unbeatable in the eyes of most judges. They are extremely intelligent and adaptable. If you are a cat lover but want your child to experience the responsibility of taking a pet for a walk, a Maine Coon can be your only choice. With the help of clicker training, a Maine Coon cat can be taught to sit, stay, fetch, and even walk on a leash. This can provide your child with hours of occupation as they practice these commands through games and spend time outdoors.
They live long lives. No parent wants their child to go through the loss of a beloved pet. While there are no guarantees in this world, a healthy, well-exercised Maine Coon can live well beyond their twenties. The oldest Maine Coon in the world is a twenty-seven-year-old cat named, “Corduroy.” Growing up with a loyal, loving pet adds to the depth of any child’s character. A Maine Coon cat will age as your children mature into young adulthood. At this age, kids are more sensitive to the needs of their pets. Their bond with their pet will be more about care and companionship than simply of playmates.
Over the past century, Maine Coons have become one of the most popular cat breeds in the country. They have won countless awards in pet shows, and now sit at the top of every list of cat breeds suitable for families with children or other pets. While such strong commendations have solidified the reputation of Maine Coons as the ultimate family cat, you should remember that every individual cat has his distinct personality and needs. Teach your children how to be gentle and respectful of a cat’s body and need for space. By fostering a safe environment for your kids and your pet to play together, you will ensure that they develop a deep bond with each other.
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