My vote goes to a gentle dog. (We had a Golden Retriever). Dogs tend to bond better w/ children than cats. Cats are okay as long as they are mellow, but they can still be unpredictable w/ their claws and teeth.
I don't think a child that young should have a pet unless supervised. Any animal, dog or cat can get testy if pulled on or pinched. I would wait a year or so.
I prefer Dogs, although I think kittens are cute. However, I would probably have a cat if I had to choose to with a small child.
Either would do--it would depend upon the animal's temperament. Mellow is a must, and I feel an adult is better, because they have had time to be trained (in the case of dogs) not to jump up and lick faces and the like, which could send a small child sprawling, or unintentionally scratch them, since dogs' claws are not retractable like a cats'.
When it comes to cats, a mellow adult cat is a better choice because they are not so tiny and delicate as a kitten, and less likely to be accidentally "hugged to death" by a toddler who doesn't understand how to be very gentle. Besides, a cat is well able to jump up to a surface out of reach of the child when kitty has "had enough."
In either case, constant parental supervision is a must! If this is not available for any reason, then wait until the child is older to get a pet.
I'm not sure it would make much of a difference. I have both and it really, as stated by so many other folks here, depends on the animals temperament. Kittens can scratch like the dickens, and are just babies themselves. Puppies don't scratch, but as they grow, can bite...especially around meal times.
Whatever you decide, if it is for your child, stay vigilant and supervise at all times. Until the child and animal are older and bond more solidly, there is bound to be a learning curve of misunderstanding and miscommunication.
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