1. Study Up and Share
Doing research is important so that everyone understands the commitment involved in caring for an animal. Share any information you gather with your kids and pick up some children's books about pets so your kids will be well informed about the responsibilities of owning a cat.
2. Establish Clear Rules and Boundaries
Set up ground rules right away—for the kitten and the kids—so everyone knows what's expected.
3. Provide Age-Appropriate Supervision
Children under 6 shouldn't be alone with a new kitten—both the child and the kitten can use your guidance at this age. Older kids should demonstrate they know how to be gentle before being left unsupervised.
4. Take It Slow
Your kitten will experience less stress if he or she has the opportunity to get to know the new surrounding—and a new family—at a gentle pace. Let your kids know that the family’s new pet needs time to adjust before becoming a playmate.
5. Create a Sense of Responsibility
Help your kids understand that a pet is more than a playmate—it’s a living creature in need of your care. Demonstrate this need by assigning each child with an adult-supervised pet care duty. For example, one child could assist with feeding, one with providing fresh water. Other jobs could include checking that the kitten’s bedding is clean or making sure toys are always available. Cleaning the litterbox, however, should be left to adults.