IN THE KNOW: CATS AND KIDS

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IN THE KNOW: CATS AND KIDS

Adopting a pet can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences in a child and parent's life. But finding the right cat to fit your home and family can take some time. That's why we're here to give you a few tips on finding the right cat for you and your kids. 

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STEP 1: CHOOSING THE RIGHT CAT
A very sociable cat or a kitten over 4 months of age is a good choice for families. We recommend families with younger kids avoid cats that are fearful or don't like being handled. Always avoid cats with a history of aggression toward people. Basically you want to make sure you choose a cat that can tolerate the activity level of your household. Our staff and volunteers are happy to help guide your choice!

STEP 2: PROPER INTRODUCTIONS
The first few days in a new home at often quite stressful for any cat, and on the other hand, very exciting for a child! Make sure to balance your child's enthusiasm for spending time with the new companion with the cat's need for adjustment and alone time. Provide your cat with a quiet, low traffic room in the home. If your child is under 10, we recommend that it not be the child's room. Allow the cat to acclimate to the new surroundings at their speed.

STEP 3: SAFE SPACES
Whether it is at the top of a cat tree, or over a baby gate, cats need to be able to get away when they want to - it's just how they learn to feel safe in their environment. You can teach your kids to respect these hideouts - a cat should know that she is not going to be dragged out of these special places. If you have toddlers, you may need to make these spaces inaccessible to them; for older children, explain the reasons and make sure they understand to follow these rules. 

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STEP 4: EDUCATE
Teaching kids about cat behavior is very beneficial. Teach them basic cat body language so they know when the cat is happy and when the cat needs a break. Feel free to ask us for where to access educational tools on these subjects. 

STEP 5: MAKE IT FUN!
All children, even the youngest of children, can be involved in cat care; helping with feeding, playing with interactive toys, cleaning the litter box, grooming, etc. These positive interactions will make both your cat and your children feel good, and build a loving relationship. 

STEP 6: KEEP IT SAFE
A cat who is chased or picked up incorrectly when she is trying to get away is likely to scratch, either by accident or in a defensive manner. Teach appropriate handling and keep you cat's nails trimmed!

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STEP 7: DO NOT DISTURB
Teach your kids to respect a cat's boundaries while eating, drinking, or sleeping, and to never bother a cat who is using or about to use the litter box.

STEP 8: BE A ROLE MODEL
Let your children see you handing the cat respectfully. Talk to them about why you are handling the kitty the way you are, and do not roughhouse with the kitty in play.

STEP 9: THE KIDS ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CAT
No matter how old your kids are, remember that you are the adult and are the resposible one - for your kids and your cats! While duties can be assigned to children, such as refilling a water bowl or cleaning the litter box, they should always be monitored by parents. 

STEP 10: SUPERVISE, SUPERVISE, SUPERVISE
The best relationships are made when parents involve themselves in their kids' and cats' interactions. Watch for inappropriate behavior from both feline and human kids, and be aware of how the cat and kid feel about each other. 

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These steps will help you and your family enjoy a positive, loving relationship with your new cat! If you've adopted a Cat Town cat, or hope to in the near future, and have any further questions about cat and child interactions, please feel free to email us at info@cattownoakland.org.

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KITTEN WIRE: BREAKTHROUGH ALERT - LEAF

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KITTEN WIRE: BREAKTHROUGH ALERT - LEAF

OAKLAND — She arrived at the shelter like so many: tiny, hissy and scared. "Unable to handle," shelter workers noted.

That's a challenge Cat Town is willing to accept. 

Experience has taught us that the right kind of human interaction, and some time, can transform almost any cat into a terrific companion. Leaf, a little ball of muted tortoiseshell-colored fur, is no different.

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This 3-month-old has made so much progress in just the few weeks that she and her sisters, Aspen and Oak, have been with us. And a major breakthrough this week had my happy tears dripping down on her fuzzy face: she curled up on my chest and purred her heart out until she fell asleep. 

Leaf is part of our Forgotten Kitten Project, which I wrote about last week on the Kitten Wire. These are cats that were not socialized during those key early weeks. Volunteers like me and Cat Town's staff work with them daily to help them overcome their fears and have positive interactions with humans.

We are already seeing it pay off. 

Volunteer Jen S., shown here giving Leaf and her sisters chicken baby food on a tongue depressor, was among the first to pet Leaf. 

Volunteer Jen S., shown here giving Leaf and her sisters chicken baby food on a tongue depressor, was among the first to pet Leaf. 

This little dilute tortie is no longer quick to hide when someone walks in the room. Her instinct to hiss is giving way to squeaky meows. And I should mention the belly rubs. Leaf has taken to flopping on her back, exposing her tufts of white fur and inviting me to rub her belly while she purrs and makes air biscuits. 

This is the kind of progress we know is possible. 

Watch for more updates with Leaf and her sisters on the Kitten Wire and on Instagram. And if you want to meet any of our adoptable cats, book a visit, or email us at info@cattownoakland.org. And pro tip: Ask the volunteer on duty for a tour of the custom-designed studios where you can see this sweet girl and the other members of our Forgotten Kitten Project.

If you're feeling inspired by our Forgotten Kitten Project, you can make a donation of any size to help us keep doing this life saving work. 

Ginny

Kitten Program Manager

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Meet Our New Cats - 8/16/17

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Meet Our New Cats - 8/16/17

We have five cats joining our Downtown space this week, including bonded adorable sisters Islyn and Eira and a staff favorite, Grayson!

Come visit these new faces by making a reservation here or view all our cats in our foster program, Studios and the Cat Zone here!

Cats still available for adoption will remain on this post! 

Cat Zone (Downtown) Cats

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