Not all cats are friendly around kids. Some breeds don’t take well to noise or rough-housing, others are “snobs” that will refuse to be petted. So, just like choosing the right dog for your family, put some thought into what kind of cat will fit well into a household with young kids.
Cat traits to look for
Research into the personality traits of each breed. Ideally, the breed should be known for being friendly: likes being petted, sociable, and good-tempered. Avoid “nervous” temperaments that startle when there are loud noises, or very territorial cats who will scratch or become aggressive.
Recommended cat breeds for kids
The Abyssinian cat and the Ragdoll are known for being affectionate and friendly. American Shorthairs are playful, and are so easy-going and sociable that they’ll even get along with dogs! Persians and Manx cats adore attention and will love being petted.
However, just like people, cats do have their own individual personalities, and you may end up with a rare Persian who’d rather not be touched. That’s why some cat experts recommend adopting an older cat, perhaps from a shelter, whose traits are already permanent and proven. Plus, older cats are less fragile, and won’t get hurt the way kittens can when they’re around small kids.
Observe the cat with your kids
One way of checking a cat’s personality is to see if it approaches you and purrs when it sees you for the first time. Try picking him up—will he nip or scratch, or look at you curiously and openly? See how it responds to being petted. Also observe how it reacts to loud noises and sudden movements, and if it runs or cowers in a corner (a sign of nervousness) or explores its surroundings.
Photo from 1funny.com