Blessed be the home that welcomes a cat - Family Benefits

CHILDREN

Stimulates mental focus

The most prevalent factor for kids to perform poorly in school is their attention span. Hence, maintaining their interest is crucial to developing well-rounded students. In an effort to foster enthusiasm, one of the ingenious methods teachers use is featuring classroom animals in various lessons. Cats are an excellent subject matter for art and science (biology). Their flexibility can even be a focal issue for discussing elementary principles of middle school physics.

Cats can have as much (or even more) positive effect in maintaining focus at home as it is at school. Considering that they spend a huge deal of their time lounging, cats emit a relaxing vibe conducive to mental composure. In effect, children tend to be more successful concentrating in their homework with a sleeping cat in their midst. 

Promotes responsibility

Like all chores, the duties of cat ownership often end up being divided among members of the house. Luckily for adult custodians that have kids, it is the young ones that are genuinely enthusiastic about it. At an early age, a child can comprehend the bad consequences of neglecting their pet care tasks (and they are more sensitive about it too).

When children understand the importance of refilling food and water bowls and cleaning the litter box regularly, they tend to be more compliant with other errands like washing dishes, taking out the trash, and doing laundry. Young pet owners do not always fit the stereotype of spoiled lazy kids. 

Promotes empathy

Sensitivity comes naturally to children, but empathy has to be learned. When kids learn to value the welfare and feelings of others around them (person or animal alike), they tend to be better at being emphatic than the ‘desensitized’ adults because of their delicate emotions.

Caring for animal companions can be a perfect training module for kids to acquire superior emotional quotient (EQ). After all, compassion is the primary (if not universal) ingredient in successfully keeping pets alive and well. Unlike dogs, cats offer a relative edge in honing their EQ considering that they tend to be ‘emotionally challenging’ creatures – being aloof and impassive.

Enhances self-esteem

To most children, self-esteem could simply be defined by how others approve of them – and a great deal of it matters when it comes from their parents. Considering that most kids receive this validation through excellence (good grades and gold medals), it would seem that the price of their self-esteem is relatively steep. In a 2001 national survey of 6,600 children conducted by the UCLA, it was discovered that the parental expectation has a huge effect on a child’s attainment. 

Nurturing pets have proven to boost self-esteem for children regardless of their academic performance. If a child was able to nurse a kitten to full growth, every task accomplished to achieve that end means something. It is always good for young ones to feel that the things they do matter, regardless of the genuine opinion of other people.

Helps channel frustrations

Children are prone to frustrations – especially if these ill feelings are too difficult to confide with another person. It truly benefits a child to have animal companions because they are non-responsive to verbal conversations. It leaves the impression that they are very good non-judgmental listeners. Kids not only develop their speaking skills, they will also appreciate the value of ‘dealing with their hurts honestly.’

Speaking of confidence and judgment, there is a relative advantage for a child to just be in his/her worst self around cats. Unlike dogs that tend to get anxious (whinny) over ‘the young master’s explosive tantrums,’ a cat will just deftly leap away from danger and stare at ‘the strange little human’ with cold apathy from a safe distance.

Assures longer bonding

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the average lifespan of an indoor cat is roughly 16 years. However, it is not unusual for them to live past 20 years granted that they do not have congenital defects. Having a beloved pet they can grow up together is one of the greatest reasons for kids to prefer a cat. Other short-lived domestic animal companions (dog, rabbit, and hamster) could not generate what most people would literally call ‘a lifetime of loving memories.’

Enhances zoological knowledge

Like every child who owns a pet, young cat owners are naturally knowledgeable animal keepers. They not only get to enhance their EQ; they’re bound to store, organize and utilize a greater amount of information concerning mammalian physiology than their non-pet owning peers. That’s a probable A+ grade in every biology quiz.

Cat ownership is especially beneficial for kids who are groomed to be veterinarians. As mentioned earlier, cats have a long lifespan and that can translate to longer series of observation and inference. Unlike dogs, cats are very resilient and they tend to mask their own symptoms well enough veer less perceptive vets towards an inaccurate diagnosis.

Increases allergy protection

There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat, although the latest zoological references have identified up to 10 short-haired breeds that leave behind significantly minimal allergenic dander. The one reason why bald cat breeds like the Sphinx and the Elf still cause allergic reactions to some people has something to do with the distinct protein in their saliva called “Fel d 1.”

According to many health experts, earlier close contact and long-term exposure to cats can help build up a better immune system for the child. The younger the child, the more invulnerable he/she is to the side-effects of receiving face-rubs and licks from affectionate cats. 

Widens the circle of friends

Struggling with making friends is known to be a common problem among kids – especially the timid types. While behavior can play a very huge role in affecting how children connect with their peers, it is also generally accepted that social circles are often built by a shared personal interest.

In middle school, distinct factions define the social norm. For instance: sporty energetic kids wind up with fellow ‘jocks’ while studious bookworms join a ‘nerd’ coalition. Having a pet cat gets kids connected with like-minded feline lovers, especially in this age of online social media.

Therapy for autism

If ordinary healthy children experience difficulties connecting with everyone around them, it is twice (if not exponentially) harder for kids with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Autistic children lack the basic social skills comparable to the capacity of their regular peers. Such obstacles are often characterized by a host of obvious peculiarities like involuntary movements, sensory problems, and the inability to comprehend social cues (e.g. humor and sarcasm).

Emotional support animals like therapy cats can work wonders for autistic children. A 2018 research article published by the UC Davis in the Frontiers of Veterinary Science reveals that cats are very warm and friendly with autistic kids. Cats offer a very unique friendship that children with ASD struggle to build with people (even their own parents).

                          

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