There’s all kinds of information available that supports the benefits of kids growing up with pets. Certainly, children learn responsibility as they help care for the pet, but the interaction between the human and fur children also teaches compassion and patience.

My kids have never known a home without cats. Early on, we taught them proper handling techniques and how to read kitty’s body language. I know some people think young kids and cats shouldn’t mix, and I don’t buy it. I believe it depends on the child’s demeanor, maturity level and commitment of parents to show children how to respectfully and lovingly share a home with a cat.

I’ve definitely seen all of the general benefits in my two children, but I’ve also noticed some nice bonuses that I attribute — at least in part — to growing up with cats.

Here are six reasons I’m grateful my kids grew up with cats.

1. They choose great friends

I know this might sound like kind of a reach, but I honestly believe the two are connected. When kids are taught to treat humans and animals with respect, they carry those traits with them out into the world, generally connecting with similar people. My kids’ friends have mostly been animal lovers. I’ve always thought it would be difficult to be friends with someone who didn’t like animals, because my cats are such a major part of my life. Fortunately my kids feel the same way.

2. They talk to animals

Because our cats are treated as members of our family, we’ve always talked to them — even holding full conversations sometimes! My kids not only chat with our cats, they talk to most every animal they meet. My heart sings a little bit every time I hear my kids conversing with one of our cats or a chipmunk on the porch.

3. They’re silly and original

Cats are hilarious, and my kids grew up with a mom who writes mostly cat humor. My style is usually silly, and I encourage goofiness and originality in my kids. Of course, I also model silliness a good part of the time, so they really had no chance of becoming the straight-and-narrow types. For many years my daughter wore cat ears to school and on outings. Without cats, I don’t think they (or I) would be half as interesting.

4. They share spaces

Cats are pretty nosey, and like to know what their humans are doing at all times, especially if it includes puzzles, cards or gift wrapping. My kids welcome the company of the cats, and sometimes tell them about what they’re doing. Other times — like when my daughter played the flute — Phoebe would just sit and listen. I love looking over and seeing my fur and fur-less kids hanging together. It makes me hopeful that they’ll be great pet parents themselves one day.

5. They take photos

My son loves taking photos and even has his own Instagram account. He often texts me cute and funny photos of our cats because he knows I’ll enjoy them. I do the same for him. He’s even encouraged some of his friends to follow me on Instagram so they can enjoy my cat photos. I love that he’s a cat-pic freak, just like Mama!

What do you like best about your cat’s nose? Tell us in the comments!

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About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (birthed right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.