My two cats are being aggressive towards my toddler

(16 Posts)
nightowlmostly Fri 20-Sep-13 21:02:38

Hi, I'm not sure what to do about my cats' behaviour towards my toddler DS.

One of them has always been temperamental, and lashes out fairly often. We know her and its been mostly ok, we know when to leave her alone. The other has been my 'baby' since we got them both, she is a lap cat and very affectionate.

Before I had DS, and for ages after, I was always very sure I'd never rehome them, and couldn't understand anyone who would. But lately I've been concerned about DS. We try and keep them apart as much as possible, but its hard to do all the time, and now as he's getting older he's goes up to them and tries to touch them. He's been scratched once already, and they lash out at him frequently. Not when they are cornered either, which I could understand, they have the option to leave the situation and choose to attack instead.

They have spaces where he doesn't go, so it's not like they are feeling threatened, there are places they could go where he can't bother them. It worries me that as he gets older he'll be unsupervised and get attacked by them. It might sound daft, but it can really hurt, I have a scar myself from the temperamental one. And there is a risk of infection, what if he gets scratched in the eye?

The idea of him being hurt, even a tiny bit, upsets me so much and I don't know if I can live with the situation as it is. I don't know what to do, maybe they just can't live with children?

Please don't flame me, I have had them for 9 years and I love them a lot, I'm just not sure if this is going to work any more. Has anyone else had similar problems, were they fixable?

Thanks for any advice, I'd really like to find a solution x

Gobbolinothewitchscat Fri 20-Sep-13 21:07:44

Please do not let a situation arise where the cats attack him. My gran had a horrible and aggressive cat when I was a toddler and I can still remember being attacked by him and my mum trying to pull him off. I loathe cats as a result

I would rehome them. I love dogs but the thought if a dog harming my DS is just awful - I would never take the risk and therefore would get rid

I'm sure there will be some cat lovers/ ow era along with some tips soon but, as I e said, my DS would always be prioritised over an animal and you cannot supervise 100% of the time every day.

nightowlmostly Fri 20-Sep-13 21:14:27

gobbolin that's awful. I know what you mean about not wanting to take the risk. The idea of DS even getting a fright and a bad scratch makes me feel like rehoming them, but I'm not sure if I'm being overly protective. I started a thread before in chat when he got scratched and was rounded on a bit, told I was ridiculous for thinking about rehoming them, it's just a scratch etc.

i would tell the cat off for lashing out, then put it straight out, so the cats know its not on
see if that helps
maybe even spray them with water too
probbaly get flamed for sayign that but it might teach them

lambbone Fri 20-Sep-13 21:24:54

Feliway?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Fri 20-Sep-13 21:31:39

night - it's totally up to you. Everyone has different views and tolerances. However, for me, I will not have a situation where I'm concerned about DS being hurt. One chance and you're out. Interestingly, my cousin is a vet and has the same policy in her house - obviously she'll give clients advice if they want it though

My aunt had a lovely rescue dog who bit my cousin and my uncle. They decided to give her another chance and try and supervise. It was incredibly stressful and, as you cant supervise 100% of the time, she ended up biting my cousin again.

nightowlmostly Fri 20-Sep-13 21:32:08

I had feliway after we moved house, not sure it did much really. Hard to tell! And telling them off and water pistols maybe will work. I just don't trust them.

Pipparivers Fri 20-Sep-13 21:33:14

Get rid of the cats!

It is not worth the risk. Your ds should feel and be safe in his own home. Many will disagree but, it's always people before animals for me.

Is it possible to segregate your living areas so the cats can't be in the same area as your toddler when he is up? Ours have bolt holes that I put in each stair way so the cats can get to the lower ground floor but the toddler is held back by the stair gate. I also now have their feeding and sleeping area on the work top in the utility room, my 2 yr old can't interfere with them there which keeps the cats relaxed. Also I had to make sure I made time to pet the cats in the evening when the kids are asleep, eventually they adapted to knowing that daytime was time for them to either go out or hide, but evenings they are welcomed! It's tough and so much depends on the cats personality.

nightowlmostly Sat 21-Sep-13 19:18:51

It's not really possible to segregate them all the time because our house is quite open plan, but they can go off upstairs where DS can't get to if they choose. They aren't forced together. It's the way they react to him that worries me, if he approaches them they could run away but they don't, they lash out instead.

I'm pretty gutted at the prospect of rehoming them, I honestly never thought I would do that. I'm not even sure if I could go through with it when it came to it. But maybe after 9 years of child free living, they just aren't going to be able to adjust? I can't keep them if they are a threat to my DS, the most temperamental one sometimes grabs on and kicks with her back legs, she could really hurt him if that happened.

It's so hard to even contemplate. I think I'd need to find a home for them, rather than put them in a shelter, I'd worry they'd be there for ages and I wouldn't do that to them.

Thanks for all responses, it helps to write things out sometimes to process them x

ZingWantsCake Sat 21-Sep-13 19:28:11

get rid of the cats.

I hate cats anyway, but I would never keep any animals that would be a risk my child'd safety

it's a no-brainer

ZingWantsCake Sat 21-Sep-13 19:31:14

sorry you are in this situation though thanks

nightowlmostly Sat 21-Sep-13 22:43:32

Thanks zing. We are going to make huge efforts to keep them apart for the next few weeks while we think about our options. It will break my heart to rehome them but it might be best for all of us, them included. If they're unhappy living in a noisier household, it's only going to get worse as DS grows and we hopefully have another child. Not making any decisions rashly, thanks for the advice everyone.

pilates Sat 21-Sep-13 23:03:04

I would rehouse the cats.

Could you forgive yourself if they harmed your son?

marissab Fri 01-Nov-13 18:51:15

I love cats by the way but you said yourself, the cats have the option to attack or get away and they're attacking. Its a no brainer to me. The cats aren't happy either. They'd be better off in a home with teenagers.

marissab Fri 01-Nov-13 18:52:59

Oh and as an example, my cat gets his tail pulled and ears tugged if i don't catch her in time, and he just runs off. This is what should be happening. I wonder if your cats feel they are at the top of the heirachy in your house.

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