When we ask my son who his best friend is he used to ask “human?” Because really his best friend is his cat, who he calls “Flub-Flub”. I know not everyone likes cats or even pets but it could really be beneficial for your child. But please consider your child first though. It may not be for every kid and you should provide constant supervision, especially at first. I have read some horrible stories and I doubt any of the kids intended to harm the pet but they just didn’t understand. We had to teach our son to be gentle and loving to the pets. We did have one questionable incident where he may have killed a hamster by feeding it an Oreo. I did not perform an autopsy but I told my son I was quite certain he didn’t kill it. How would I know? But I know he clearly loved his hamster if he gave it an Oreo cookie.
The good thing about cats is that they can also teach a child how to be gentle as long as you are okay with them getting scratched. My son would be so hyper and kept wanting to pet or hold the cat and not taking the cat’s cue that it was done. I would try to tell my son but he was just so excited and hyper he wouldn’t listen. Then I would hear the wailing about how the cat scratched him. Sigh, “next time leave it alone when doesn’t want to play anymore.” My son would always get over it quickly and chase the cat again. But honestly that cat has been amazing with him. He was such a cute kitten but someone gave it to us because they couldn’t find a home for it. I really think he was meant to be my son’s cat. The cat sleeps with him every night and my son says he can’t sleep without his weight next to him. My son has a lot of sensory processing issues and he hates doing personal hygiene in general but “Flub-Flub” loves water. When I tell my son it is time to take a bath he will just say “C’mon Flub-Flub” and the cat follows him in to take a bath. Flub-Flub also likes to be brushed so while I am helping my son with getting his hygiene needs met he will brush his cat.
Whenever he is sad or upset and the most non-verbal he will simply say “Flub” and if the cat doesn’t come I will go hunt it down. Just holding the cat calms him so much and so quickly. I often say his school days would go so much better if he could take his cat with him!!