If you've spent any time on social media, you know that watching cats play can provide hours upon hours of entertainment. But cats are so much more than the stars of silly YouTube videos. Not only are they fierce hunters, they can be loyal companions and lifelong friends. But is all of that furry cuteness worth the additional responsibility that comes with pet ownership? If you want to know whether or not a cat is the right pet for your family, you may have wondered, is having a cat beneficial to a kid's health?
For working parents or families who live in apartments, a cat can be a great choice for a family pet. Unlike dogs, feline friends don't need to be walked and often enjoy spending time alone. And although bringing a kitty into your home means extra cleaning and another mouth to feed, the benefits can often outweigh the additional effort. According to Purina's website, having a cat in your home can help your children in a variety of ways, including improving self-esteem, teaching responsibility, and helping to develop empathy. Giving your children age-appropriate responsibilities can help them develop a stronger bond with your cat.
In addition to the social and emotional benefits of cat ownership, having a cat can be good for your child's health as well. Parents referenced a study that found children who were exposed to 2 or more cats or dogs as babies were less than half as likely to develop allergies than those who had no pets at home. Similarly, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology mentioned that exposing your children to cats and dogs early in life can protect them from developing certain allergies and asthma as well.
And if that wasn't enough, having a cat can also be beneficial to your child's physical well-being As Care.com noted, a cat in the home can encourage your child to be physically active as he chases his furry friend around the house.
So if all of those adorable videos are making you want to head straight for the nearest animal shelter, you may want to consider opening your home to a cat. You'll be surprised at how great a kitty can be for your kiddies. The only thing better than all of the health benefits is the unconditional love you will receive from your new furry friend.