How to Pet Your Pet: 8 Books That Show Kids How to Treat Animals

by Jennifer Ridgway

Photo credit: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

After being without a pet for seven months, we recently decided to adopt a new rescue cat. We had two cats when our twins were born, but Tux passed before they were one, and Padiddle passed earlier this year. Our kids love animals, but I wanted to find books that explained, in kid-friendly language, what having a pet means, how our new cat, Larry, would (and would not) like to be treated, and what it means to take care of him.

If you are looking to adopt a new animal or just want to teach your kids about pets and pet care, below are some books to get you started. And don’t worry, I included animals other than cats!

Looking to add a four-legged member to your family? Consult these additional pet adoption resources for more information:

  • The ASPCA, a nonprofit that has been preventing cruelty to animals since 1866, is a fantastic resource for your basic adoption questions. With tips on choosing the right animal and caring for new pets, the organization’s adoption site is a must-read before your family takes the next step.
  • Petfinder is an online database of animals that need homes in North America. Families can easily search for all kinds of adoptable critters at shelters by zip code — including dogs, cats, rodents, and amphibians. Just make sure to set aside time to meet them all in person! (If you want to skip the online search and head straight to the shelter, Petfinder has an extensive list of local animal welfare groups here.)
  • AdoptAPet is another online pet adoption database that you can cross-reference with Petfinder in the search for available shelter animals.
  • More mobile-inclined? Then try WeRescue – Adopt a Pet, an app that connects you with cute pups that need a home. Download the app in the iTunes store here.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2020.