New findings show that around half of parents have concerns about cats and children, with 1 in 12 parents giving up their pet because they were expecting a baby or had young children. The top concerns were handling cat litter (77%) and toxoplasmosis (66%), with other concerns including scratching and the potential for a cat(s) climbing into the carrier/cot/pushchair. The same study showed that two thirds regretted this decision, so a new campaign run by the charity Cats Protection entitled #KidsandKitties is urging people not to give up their pets too hastily.
Supported by Emmerdale star and mum-of-two Samantha Giles, the campaign offers advice to parents on how to keep their children, themselves and their cats safe and happy while also highlighting the benefits of pets in families.
Samantha, whose children are five and nine, explained: “I am a huge supporter of the benefit of cats both to a calm, relaxed pregnancy and on children learning to care for and look after an animal. “I remember when we brought our first baby daughter home we put her down in the lounge so our cats could have a sniff, which they did. Our cats were fairly elderly then, too, and they accepted and loved both our children.
“Obviously one has to be sensible and not leave a baby alone with any animal and we made sure we shut the door on Eve’s bedroom so that the cats couldn’t get into her cot. “I’d definitely encourage people not to give up their cats when they are pregnant because there are so many benefits to having a pet in the family.”
Cats Protection ran the survey to find out what concerns parents have about keeping cats in the family and these were the key findings:
Cats Protection receives hundreds of calls each year from people wanting to give up their cat for reasons related to children or babies so the charity is keen to dispel myths and help keep cats firmly in the family.
For more information visit www.cats.org.uk/kids-and-kitties