Friday 23 January 2015

A New Mum for a Second Time: Adopting Pets

A couple of weeks before Christmas Aaron started saying that he wanted a dog for Christmas. There's only one problem. I am frightened of them! Luckily the dogs he has pointed at that he likes, are two breeds that I am not frightened of: Labradors and Retrievers. I haven't taken him up on his wish though, but he is still routinely mentioning it, even going as far as to ask: "where would he sleep?".

Becoming a mum for the second time can be difficult; especially if it is to a new pet. So, I'll be delaying the inevitable as long as I can. I have however watched with interest as a couple of online friends have recently adopted dogs.

More and more people are also choosing to add to their family by adopting cats. 

Recently, my friend added to her family of three with a little kitten from the RSPCA – there are so many kittens for adoption, it was hard to pick just one. But, the hardest thing about adopting a kitten is introducing him/her to your children. 

It is up to parents to teach children how to approach pets, handle them, stroke them etc... It is important that this is done right! 

Most kids are great with pets – soft, gentle and loving, but it is all down to the parents to set the ground rules. 

Bringing the kitten home
When you first bring the kitten home, it’s really important that you let him explore his/her surroundings – after all, it’s going to be his/her home too! I would also recommend that when you approach him, you get down to the same level as the kitten – this will stop him from feeling intimidated and scared. 

One of the best things about adopting a kitten from the RSPCA is you are 100% sure on its health and wellbeing which is one less thing to worry about – so I would really recommend it. 

You should also try to put him/her on your lap and stroke him/her – if s/he jumps off or gets uncomfortable, don’t be offended, this is all new to him/her. But, you should try to give him/her as much affection as you can; you are going to be his/her new mum after all.

Making friends
Once your new little kitten has accepted you, you can begin to introduce him/her to other members of the family, including your children.

However, there some important things that you need to keep in mind when your children and your new kitten come into contact:

 You should never leave a small child and a kitten together on their own – for both their safety

 Quiet voices are important – kittens don’t like loud noises

 Ensure your child never puts their face near the cat – scratches are unfortunately common. I still remember school friends who had cats coming to school with scratches

 Never touch the cat when s/he is eating or sleeping

 Never chase the cat – if s/he runs away, he has had enough for now

 Watch body language – if either your cat or your child is getting angry, it is time to separate them

It is really important that you teach your children how to stroke the cat and look after it. The best way to really bring the two together is to give your child a chore – for example, feeding him/her. This works to bring the pair closer together and allows your child to feel a sense of responsibility for the new feline family member. 

Adopting a new pet is incredibly exciting, with these tips in mind; it should be a smooth transition. What's been your experience?


  1. I worked at a dog kennels and I have rescued so many animals myself. I would say that puppies aren't best for people who are new to animal ownership. People always think that kittens and puppies are smaller and if you have them from the beginning they will be easier to train but it isn't necessarily true! All young creatures go through a phase of utter destruction. They teeth terribly, and will try to do this with your fingers, arms, furniture. They are crazy wild and run around like little whirlwinds. Older animals, who have been through this phase, don't do this. Old dogs can be trained, they can learn new tricks!! Older cats tend to be quieter and much easier (believe me, our kitten is just horrid right now). I would recommend classes though. The owners normally need more training than the animals. Children will learn from the example of their elders and if they aren't taught right the consequences will be dire - any cat will scratch if its tail is pulled and any dog will snap if they are pushed round enough.

  2. Brilliant advice. My kids and I desperate for a dog and this will still apply, thank you :) XX


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