The two-way flow from having a pet.
I can’t believe it was so long ago but back in February I received an email:
I’m sure you get a ton of spammy submissions so I’ll get straight to the point – I’d love to submit a post for publishing on your site.
If you’re still accepting posts, please let me know and I can put together a draft for your approval.
Thanks for your time!
Emily ParkerChief Creative Cat
Emily Parker is a cat parent to 2 lovely cats, Gus and Louis (Gus only has one eye, but we love him all the same!). She has lived with dogs in the past and can’t wait to add a dog to the family again. She writes about all things cats at her blog, Catological.com.
Don’t ask me how late February became late July but that doesn’t diminish in the slightest the quality of Emily’s guest post.
Before you read on let me present you with a picture of one of our cats that we have here at home.
Cats, Dogs, and Kids: Who Teaches Who.
by Emily Parker, Catological.com
You’ve heard it as a kid, and if you have children of your own, you may have told your kids this.
“Having a dog is a big responsibility.”
This is absolutely true. A dog can teach kids how difficult it can be to take care of another living being, all while teaching them valuable life skills.
But little do we know that raising a dog is not a one-way street. Not only do dogs teach kids, but kids teach dogs, too. And if you’re a cat owner, it creates another web of teaching. Let’s break it down.
What Dogs Teach Kids
The Importance of Feeding, and Nutrition
What a dog will teach a kid is the importance of regular feeding. However, a kid can’t just dump some dog food in a bowl and call it a day. To raise a dog properly, the child needs to make sure the pup is getting the adequate nutrition it needs, all while not overeating.
If you have a kid, you must teach the child that proper nutrition is a must when feeding the dog. He or she will need to measure out the serving size, pay attention to ingredients, and become acquainted with the macronutrient profiles most beneficial for their dog. This can bleed into the child’s own eating habits as they learn to eat healthy and measure out portions.
Also, feeding a dog will teach a child that rewarding yourself is good if it’s done on occasion. Nothing wrong with the occasional treat!
Just be sure to keep up on the latest recalls.
A child needs to have at least an hour each day dedicated to getting outside and playing. There are many ways to get a child outside, but perhaps the best way is to have a dog.
A dog needs to be walked every day, and by having your kid walk the dog, they’ll be getting exercise and learning to enjoy the great outdoors. Plus, it can get even more physical. Kids can chase dogs. Dogs can chase kids. Kids can run with their pets. The possibilities, as it turns out, are endless.
That Taking Care of a Pet Can Get Messy
This applies to cats as well. Children will have to scoop a cat’s litter, though it may seem a bit cleaner than picking up after a dog, who will of course be doing its business as the child takes it out for a walk, and the child will have to pick up after their pet.
It can seem a little a messy, and it will teach the child how to handle an animal’s waste, (which works out great if they ever decide to have children).
What Cats Teach Kids
The Importance of Consent
Most dogs are all over you, while some cats tend to want you to pet them at certain times.
Yes, we know that not all cats are like that, but a majority are. Sometimes, a cat doesn’t want to be held, pet, or bothered in general. And that’s okay!
You should teach your kid that sometimes, an animal, or indeed a human, needs their personal space, and that needs to be respected.
The Importance of Sleeping
Cats can sleep almost twice as much as humans can.
While your kid isn’t going to be sleeping for 16 hours a day, they still need 8 hours in most cases (or more if the child is younger), and may be neglecting that.
Having a cat around, who sleeps all the time, can teach the kid that sleep is important to anyone’s life, and they may soon be sleeping along with the kitty.
The Importance of Curiosity
Cats are always curious about their surroundings. If something changes, the cat will examine the surroundings incessantly. While some say that curiosity kills the cat, we believe that being curious about everything around you is a good thing, and should be taught to children.
As Fluffy examines her surroundings, kids will soon learn to examine what is around them. They’ll be aware of the people around them, look around their room when trying to find something, and be aware at all times. All of these are valuable tools for a child to have.
What Kids Teach Cats
How to Have a Little Fun
Despite learning the cat’s boundaries, some kids will still pick the kitty up, pet them excessively, and bother them. The cat may soon learn to be more sociable. They may have points where they don’t want to be bothered, sure, but they can learn to let loose once in a while.
What Dogs Teach Cats
How to Tolerate Each Other
Sure, cats and dogs can get along great, but at the end of the day, they are two different species with two different ways of behavior. Sometimes, an antisocial, sleeping cat can get annoyed by Fido’s constant need for attention. A dog may be confused by Fluffy scratching it whenever it tries to chase her.
Dogs and cats soon learn, however, to get along, or at least tolerate each other’s differences. This can teach children that they may have to be acquaintances with someone who is different than them and who may annoy them to death, like a coworker or a classmate. You may have to be with some people who are different than you. You’ll have to tolerate it. Heck, you may even grow fond of them after a while.
The Importance of Eating What is Yours
Cats can get into dog food, and vice versa. While cat food isn’t going to harm a dog and dog food won’t hurt a cat, the food doesn’t meet the nutritional needs of the opposite species. Dogs and cats will soon have to learn where their food is and not get into another animal’s food (though you should keep their feeders and dishes far apart from each other to prevent confusion and territorial fights). It’s a valuable lesson to learn for any pet.
A kid raising a pet isn’t just a learning experience for the child. It can be a learning experience to the pet, as well as a learning experience from one pet to another. In life, you’ll learn different things from different people, and those who aren’t human can ironically be the best teachers.
Wise words indeed, and a pleasure to publish. Thanks Emily.