Being a mom to both human and fur babies, it has always been very important to me to ensure our human kids are taught how to properly interact with our pets. In order to keep everyone safe and happy this has been a top priority since our son started showing interest in those furry family members walking around!
Having both types of kiddos can be a lot of work but it also creates a very beautiful family structure. I am obviously a BIG supporter of rescuing animals, so we will always have some combination of fur babies in our home. And although I was always more of an animal person than a people person, after God blessed our family with one little miracle we couldn’t stop until our most recent baby girl was born. Three human kids later and we are officially done – can you hear the resounding cheer from all the critters? Their relief isn’t because of the kiddos actions but rather because that means we will still have time to love on them too!
Babies inevitably, or maybe innately, want to pull fur, climb, hit, etc. It is our job as parents to ensure this type of behavior is stopped immediately. Animals usually give warning signs by hissing, growling, meowing, trying to run away; but just like humans, they too have their limits. And if their limit is crossed, they are not wrong to swat or bite to gain their space back or say no thank you. IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT. It is important to remember that although we love them as part of the family, they are animals and their only way of communicating “enough is enough” is through their actions. Unfortunately, when incidents between children and animals happen, the animal is typically blamed and then if surrendered they are most commonly euthanized. Not to mention the baby or child has also been injured and sadly experienced a traumatic event at a young age. The outcome is just not good for anyone.
If you have both human and animal babies, here are some tips on how to ensure their interaction and relationship remain positive:
- ALWAYS monitor interactions between pets and kiddos – especially babies. Never leave them alone together.
- Stop and correct any inappropriate behavior (hitting, pulling fur, being too aggressive, getting in their face, climbing, etc) immediately.
- Teach your kiddos (actually take their hand in yours) how to properly pet an animal. Open hand and down the back of their head.
- Talk to them about why the cat hissed or the dog barked at them. We tell our kiddos, it’s his/her way of saying “no thank you”.
- “Be Gentle” – – something we say on repeat when the kiddos are interacting with the pets!
- Encourage positive play and cuddles!
- Assuming they aren’t food aggressive, let your older kiddos help feed the animals, this creates stronger bonds!
- Go on family walks! Everyone feels great afterwards 🙂
If you follow the above tips, your home should be safe and happy for all of your human and fur babies. And let’s be honest, there really isn’t anything cuter than a kiddo and their best fur friend!
For more reading, check out another one of our blogs on the benefits of kiddos growing up with pets: https://animalrescuetalk.com/a-kids-best-friend/