Though dogs and cats are equally lovable, felines may positively influence kids with social difficulties, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). If your child faces these challenges, you can find the right breed for them to bond with by consulting a veterinarian. Here is a guide to learn more about the relationships between cats and children with autism.

How Do Cats Benefit Children With Autism?

1. Reduce Anxiety

While any child may experience anxiety and stress about everyday activities, these feelings can be heightened in those with ASD. Because cats are social companion animals, they may help reduce separation anxiety. While petting, feeding, and tending to the pet, your child may remain calm because their focus is on the animal rather than potential environmental stressors.

2. Develop Connections


Most cats don't make eye contact with humans. Even when they do, they won't hold a person's gaze for long. This behavior may be suitable for children with autism who struggle to make connections as something as simple as eye contact can be overwhelming.

However, a feline's ability to appear harmless and give affection may help your child deepen bonds with their furry friend, and ultimately, other people. Because cats don't have social cues, which can be tricky for people with ASD, the animal can be a source of comfort to your child. This bond can make it easier for them to develop a social connection with someone else as they grow older. 

3. Improve Empathy

While children with ASD can experience empathy, sometimes their condition makes it difficult to recognize someone else's feelings or relate to them. Kids who don't understand social cues may also become hyperactive or inattentive. However, those with autism may display these behaviors less often and develop compassion and empathy when their household includes a feline pet. By introducing your young child to a cat, you can make it easier for them to learn social cues in people.


Once you find a cat that your child can bond with, help the family's new furry friend remain healthy and happy by visiting The Pet Clinic in Honolulu, HI. The veterinarians at this animal hospital proudly serve all of Oahu. Their skilled and compassionate team provides various services, including kitten and puppy vaccinations, flea and tick control, and pet dermatology. Learn more about their services by visiting their website today. To make an appointment with an experienced veterinarian, call (808) 946-5096.