DD2 age 5 has a friend over for a play date, also 5. Both lovely little girls. The friend however seems terrified of cats, not mentioned to me by her mum. I have 2 cats, one old boy who is almost 15 and just sits his days out on his blanket on the back of the settee, he rarely moves. The other young boy about 2 but calm and sweet natured. Friend would not budge from where she was sat terrified on the other settee. She is usually a lovely outgoing little girl. So I've had to take them both downstairs where its cold with no people, they are both sociable cats and like to be near their people Everytime someone open the door, the friend jumps terrified onto the sofa. So I guess the cats are banished for the day, but cant help being a little annoyed and sad. We did try lots of reassurance and trying to get her to pet them first with no luck.
She has a phobia (severe IRRATIONAL fear). Stunned that some people would suggest this child is being silly and pandered to but a cat can't reasonably be expected to be excluded for the duration of her visit.
Gosh am surprised this is still going on. Of course I put the cats out, little girl more important obviously, much as I love my cats (yes I will be that mad old cat lady ). Certainly didn't try to force them on her. After a few episodes where they crept in every time the door was opened, I locked them properly out. They survived but definitely sulked when finally let back in. Her mum was so stressed when I dropped her back that I didn't have the heart to mention it, I will at a better time. Thanks all.
YANBU not to want to but was definitely the right thing to do.
When very small I was terrified of dogs (again, no reason, just developed a fear from somewhere). It's horrible when some well meaning ignoramus belittles that fear and attempts to foist the object of it upon you. I have overcome the terror now, but it took a long time.
She needs to trust you (i.e. that you won't let the beasties come near her unless she requests it, unlike the 'oh but mine is different' school) before she can trust the cats. It may well be that, because you listened to her, she, over time, will be more inclined to listen to you when you explain your cats and the fact they won't attack her, or climb all over her. It could be a really good opportunity to help her overcome the fear, if she decides she wants to.
Maryz - try getting your DD's friend to actually look at the cats if they come in next time. One of the theories why cats always go for the person who likes them least is that such people try to ignore the cat, and cats like not being stared at, hence the reason they think they've found a fellow traveller and make a beeline for the poor unfortunate.
Sorry for essay, but I can really remember what it was like going through it and its so rare to find people who are sympathetic to same. (That'd be you BTW )