Teaching children to be safe around pets is essential to bite prevention. This includes cats as well as dogs.
Cat bites are less common than dog bites, but they are no less serious. Cats have small, sharp teeth that can produce deep puncture wounds. Even a scratch can have significant complications, such as cat scratch disease. To reduce your child’s risk of a scratch or bite, you must teach them how to interact with cats safely.
Teach feline body language
Cats usually attempt to communicate their discomfort before resorting to scratching or biting. When a cat is fearful or defensive, you may see the following signs:
- Ears turned backward
- Puffy or flicking tail
- Hissing or growling
- Dilated pupils
Teach your child to recognize these signs and give the cat some space before it becomes stressed enough to bite or scratch.
Young children can easily become overly excited around animals. Because of their size, children often want to pick cats up or cuddle them. Many cats dislike being held and will lash out if a child grabs or squeezes them.
Gaining a cat’s trust and affection requires patience. Encourage your child to be calm and let the cat approach him or her.
Your child should obtain the owner’s permission before interacting with any cat. Never allow your child to harass or chase a cat; it is unkind to the animal and can lead to your child getting injured. Always supervise small children around pets so you can step in if necessary.
Animal companionship is valuable for children and adults. Teaching children the proper way to interact with pets can help prevent a painful injury.