During this time of year, I see a lot of posts on social media requesting kittens to join families with young children. They regularly state how the parent is hoping their child and the kitten will grow together and form a special bond. While I appreciate the idea of this happening is absolutely beautiful, the reality is often different.
Kittens are as a rule very active. Interactive play is essential for them to grow into a cat that is comfortable in social settings. But they need to be taught the interactive play, and they aren’t always gentle when they’re learning. Children are obviously also learning; and mastering another species warning signals and body language can be challenging enough as an adult.
Kittens also require a lot of attention due to their energy levels. And sometimes, they haven’t quite perfected the use of a designated toileting area. Basically, they’re navigating a lot of challenges, just as a small child would be. And as with a human child during their learning time, a lot of patience is required.
By comparison, a lot of slightly well socialised older cats have become calmer and more tolerant. They give signals they aren’t happy to have contact in a much more concise fashion, and are likely to move away and find their own space if they feel overwhelmed.
Cats and babies can absolutely coexist successfully in a home. But two babies, whether they’re the same species or not, are going to be constantly learning and adapting. And that’s likely to add a fair amount of stress to day to day routine.