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I recommend dogs because a dog is more friendly as compared to a cat. See More
Simpson Richard's Experience
Food, a litter box and a few shots every few years and a cat will tend to take care of itself. This is good for a kid that may not be able to handle the responsibility of a dog (which will require more attention). There is no need to take them outside, or really wash them all that much either. A hands off animal for the most part. See More
It may be easy for a child to get scratched from a cat that is not declawed (which most vets recommend not to do as it literally is cutting off their fingertips at the bone), which may also cause infection due to them digging in a litterbox when they go to the bathroom. See More
Cats are remarkable creatures and provide a fantastic model for self-sufficiency and keeping one's instinct honed no matter how comfortable your current situation is. If I had a child I'd want them to have a cat around from which to observe these things, and to snuggle with once the kid went to bed. See More
Peter J. Mello's Experience
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