The Truth About Pets and Babiesby Matilda Miles
It's estimated that around 12 million families in the UK have pets.
But why do some people see pets as a danger to the family, whilst others see them as part of the family?
It's not uncommon to come across a person who doesn't like animals (I can never understand that) but they always look at the negative, especially when it comes to a family with young children, you'll get the questions like:
'what are you going to do with them once the baby comes?'
'I wouldn't let them near children you don't know what they are capable of'
Blah blah blah.
Of course, as the owner of the animal in question, you will be a bit apprehensive of when the baby comes because what if they do act out. But if you introduce them correctly there won't be a problem.
I have grown up with countless dogs and cats, with the occasional rabbit, fish, bearded dragon and a parrot. I have only lived without an animal for 1 year when my boyfriend and I moved into our first place together and only because they wouldn't allow pets, but the second that we moved to a new location and house we got a cat called Moby who is without a doubt the weirdest fucking cat you will ever come across. She hates everyone in our family apart from us for obvious reasons, she loves to sit on our shoulders and 'talk', she even plays fetch and has her own ball (we got it from a cereal box).
So yeah because she is an absolute twat of a cat, I was really nervous for when the time came and the baby came home, what would she do??? To my surprise we let her find him, she sniffed him, then walked off. She slept at the end our bed still which was right next to the Moses basket and anytime he cried she would run away. She never really interacted with him but was happy enough as we still gave her attention when she asked for it. And in the mornings when he's woken up, she knows he's awake and will meow in my face and pat me until I wake up and she will go straight to his door and goes straight to him, they even play fetch now. Moby (yes her name is Moby like the book because ya' know she's a dick) won't let you leave the house with him unless she comes too.
I love the bond that they clearly have. Having pets around children isn't a bad thing at all it's actually pretty great and cute. According to some scientific research having pets reduces health issues in kids (mainly asthma) as well as the fact it helps teach them about compassion early on which is really important, and they get to have a best bud for years.
I would always suggest if you are about to introduce your pet to your new baby speak to your vet about it, as they will give really good advice on how to introduce them as the advice changes according to pet. But the most important thing is to still give them attention as they are family, it would be like pushing your older child out because you've got a new baby, it's the same with pets it takes time to adjust but they will get there.
I would always be aware when adopting animals to make sure that they good with kids, some do need the socialisation and that level of interaction. But you adopt a pet and bring it into your family because you love them, you are their human and they will protect and love your mini human just as much because they will also see it as their human. Animals are for life and are the best friends a child could ever get.