Visiting With Children Under 12

cat-with-childThe Orlando Cat Cafe prides itself on those three words:- the amazing community of Orlando, finding each wonderful cat his/her forever home, and providing a cozy cafe & coffeehouse to enjoy. We’ve found that we need to focus our attention on the interaction between cats and our youngest guests. Our goal is to have the interaction be as optimal as  possible for the child and/or cat.

On our end, we know that kittens and cats are fragile. They are tiny and can be easily over looked by young children. This is dangerous for both the child and the feline as young children can easily trip and fall over them. Children are naturally exuberant, this is a lovely quality of youth! However, if you are a cat lover, you know that felines prefer slow movements, soft voices and a gentle touch. When kitties get stressed they are very unhappy and become ill or act out to protect themselves.

Children, just like kittens and cats, go through different socialization and developmental stages. For example, children 3-4 years of age are still learning impulse control. Sudden outbursts, or impulsive grabs at a pet might frighten them and cause an adverse, frightened response. Between ages 5-7, children learn empathy and are better equipped to treat cats properly. Sadly, if kittens and cats have negative experiences with children during their socialization period, they can develop a lifelong fear of small children. Likewise, if a child has a negative experience with a kitten or cat, they can also develop the same type of fear.

We believe we’ve found a beautiful solution to ensuring that both children and cats have a more successful interaction.  We’ve instituted “Kids Time’ blocks where children under the age of 12 can separately visit with the cats while enjoying structured activities such as crafts, pet education, reading time, and family coloring time. During these blocks, children will come together as a group and enjoy an hour of entertainment within the cat play area. Parents will need to accompany their child during these sessions.  The children will be supervised by the staff and volunteers of The Animal League. No other adults will be allowed during Kids Time. During Family Coloring Time, parents and children work together in the cat play area creating their masterpieces.

All other blocks of time will be for older children (12 and up) and adults. We believe this will help everyone enjoy their time at the cafe more and not only encourage a better interaction with the adoptable cats, but also a safer and stable environment for all.

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