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Children & Burmese. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Melanie   

Burmese are generally wonderful with children! Being an affectionate breed that love and require a lot of attention Burmese and Kids are generally like two peas in a pod.

I think it is vital for a child to grow up with pets. Children learn a lot from having a pet and it is a fun way for them to learn some important life skills. Life skills learned through pet ownership will enhance your childs understanding of Relationships, Hierarchy, Respect, Personal Space, Boundaries, Responsibility, Care/Maintanence, Illness (and unfortuately eventually death) which are all vital life skills and part of pet ownership.

If there are children in the home that haven't owned a dog or a cat before I would strongly recommend that boys be at least 5 years old and girls at least 4 before the kitten comes home. If you have recently owned or currently do own another animal and know your children are gentle, when to leave the animal alone and understand "NO" then obviously you can evaluate your situation based on that.

From my experience children under that age that aren't familiar with pets in their home struggle with picking the kitten up, holding it correctly and often their excitement is a little uncontrollable. Unfortunately we have had some sad stories of children quickly closing doors to stop the kitten getting in or out and kittens getting crushed or kittens being picked up and carried round the neck and being strangled. We have had another example of children making a "bed" in an esky and closing the lid leaving the kittens inside to suffocate... They are sad stories but I feel it is necessary to share these with parents of young children that are thinking about getting a kitten. It is important that as parents we don't put on our rose coloured glasses and assume that all will be fine and "our kids won't do that". Young children (generally under the age of 4 or 5) don't have the cognative developement to understand that a kitten isn't a walking stuffed toy. Imagine the trauma and guilt a young child is going to experience if they kill a kitten you have only just bought home! Wouldn't it be better to wait 6 months, a year or even 2 or 3 years if necessary? Your child is going to have a kitten for 14+ years... WHAT IS THE RUSH? Take your time and do what is right for everyone.

I would also like to share a story as to why I think young children that aren't familiar with pets in the home should be at little older before a Burmese is brought home to be part of the family....

A few years ago I sold a stunning show quality cat to a young family who I will call "Miss Pea Body". When they came to meet me and this beautiful little girl the children came along too, as usually occurs. At the end of their visit I told the family that I felt that the youngest child (who happened to be a boy) was really a little two young - In my opinion I thought he was a typical little boy, keen to be hands on and probably not at an age where obedience was a high priority - Normal for most 3 or 4 year old children at times especially given that he had little to NO pet experience and the sight of a furry, playful kitten running around was nearly too much for him to deal with. I could see that he just couldn't contain his excitement. I explained that waiting a year or 2 would probably be in everyones best interest but they decided that they wanted to go ahead so I rather reluctantly agreed. 

They took home this adorable little girl who was friendly and affectionate and had quite a loud Purr. Over the months Miss Pea Body would come to me for visits when the family would go away on holidays. I noticed over the initial months that she became less and less affectionate then as she matured into an adult cat I found she actually became rather aggressive. It finally got to a point that I was unable to handle the cat and I was actually scared of her - NOT NORMAL for a burmese. I became ashamed that I had produced such a nasty cat and figured that maybe the genetics were partly to blame so I desexed the mother and the father who were both lovely but I didn't wish to risk this happening again.

After a few years the mother of the family phoned me tears saying she just couldn't take it any more.... They couldn't control how rough the little boy was with Miss Pea Body and they felt sorry that she had to be locked away from the family all the time because the little boy was so rough with her. The mother made the decision to give her back to me. The older children in particular were beside themselves at having to surrender the family pet and I must admit I wasn't thrilled by the concept at having her back. What was I going to do with her? She was a boardline case that I just didn't know if I could rehabilitate....

I kept Miss Pea Body here for a few weeks, worked with her and calmly spent time with her gaining her trust. Slowly we saw improvements and then finally I was able to hold, pat and then cuddle her to the point I could scratch her belly. An amazing improvement. Miss Pea Body went to a new home with a single Older Lady and she is a totally different cat these days. She is spoilt wrotten and lives a life of luxury. She is now happy, friendly and affectionate so it is wonderful to see this outcome.

This just goes to show that sometimes waiting for the right time and listening to a professional opinion is beneficial for everyone. Remember, you a likely to have a cat for 14, 15, 16++++ years - WHY RUSH! Take your time and get a cat when all members of the family can really love and cherish the value of a family pet - Everyone will win in the long run.

On a happier note: 

An Aunty and Uncle of mine own a cat that we bred (a brown burmese boy). At the time I sent the kitten up to them in Brisbane my cousin and her daughter were living with them. My cousins little girl was only about 4 at the time and she already actually owned a rescue moggy kitten of similar age. Being a little girl she thought that dressing the cats up, putting them to "bed" in the dolls bed and wheeling the cats around in her dolls pram were all wonderful ideas. Unfortunately her moggy kitten was not keen on this idea at all and usually ran and hid. The burmese on the other hand was very tollerant and quite happy to be subjected to this and still to this day (the cat is now about 4) when the little girl comes to nanna and grandad's to visit he is just wonderful with her. She is quite gentle with him but he is amazingly tolerant of her. In fact they seem to share a special bond. He still gets pushed around (sometimes at quite speed) in walkers on wheels and in dolls prams. We have sold many cats to people that have gone on to have children later or already have children at the time and generally the Burmese and the Kids are the best of friends and often share some really special bonds.

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 12:25

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