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Don't know what to do... Kitten+ds(3)

(39 Posts)

We got our 8 week old kitten dave on Sunday, he's beautiful and playful and sweet and gorgeous, as is ds who turned 3 on Saturday.
Ds and dave have been playing together since he came, dave loves ds and ds loves dave, ds has been a bit rough with him a couple of times but said sorry to him, it was just trying to pick him up for a cuddle when he didn't want him to and once he pulled his fur, but he'd just seen Dh stroking dave by massaging him and ds was trying to copy.
This morning dave managed to sneak into my bedroom in the attic, where ds and I were having lie ins and cuddles, I don't like dave coming in the attic as I'm scared he'll fall.
Right in the middle of the room is the staircase, there's bannister round with the lowest bar about 6-8 inches from the floor but straight after the bannister is a sheer drop to the bottom of the stairs.
Dave had sat in ds clean potty for a snooze, ds took offence and before I could stop him had jumped off the bed grabbed the kitten and threw him over the bannister I'm guessing to about just over half way down the stairs, I sat ds on the bed and told him not to move because I was scared what I'd find and didn't want him to see, I dashed down the stairs to fid a slightly surprised looking kitten sat at the bottom, I've felt him all over and he doesn't seem hurt, he's just been in his tray for an enormous poo and he's eaten some breakfast.
Ds has had his favourite toy confiscated but I'm not sure what to do, I I tell Dh he will immediately say we need to rehome the kitten but I don't think it was done maliciously, when there's washing in the attic to go down for a wash we throw it over the bannister and collect it from the bottom, I'm wondering if ds reasoning was attached to that, ds knows if he's nasty to dave again then dave will be going to live somewhere else.
Before this incident they were the best of friends and dave was ds shadow, whatever ds was playing with dave had to see, now dave is a bit wary of him and although he's been to him to play he's quicker to back off.

Dave won't be going into the attic again,
What do I do now, do I keep them fully apart? Do I rehome dave or do I keep going as we have done and put it down to an accident and just keep them away from the stairs?
Do I tell Dh?

Sorry it's an essay.

AtSea1979 Wed 16-Jul-14 10:22:01

I can't believe you are even thinking about rehoming your kitten. DS is 3, what did you expect to happy when you got a kitten?

AtSea1979 Wed 16-Jul-14 10:22:21

*happen

It's Dh who'll want to rehome him, I know that if we hold out till either ds learns to treat dave better or dave learns to move it'll all even out.
This morning frightened me and I needed to talk about it.
I knew it'd be stressful with a kitten and a 3 year old I didn't expect said three year old to attempt to murder the kitten

catsdogsandbabies Wed 16-Jul-14 10:28:58

I don't think you need to rehome but if my 3 year old DS did that he would have had the telling off of his life, daddy would be told straight away and back up. He must understand he is a living thing and must be treated gently. My DS I would hope would never hurt our pets, it is something he must know is totally unacceptable. I hope you told him very firmly and told him he could have hurt the kitten seriously. A moment of madness probably but how you handle is important. Of course you should tell your husband or it is a weird secret and that isn't healthy.

catsdogsandbabies Wed 16-Jul-14 10:30:38

I agree it will sort itself out but today is a good lesson in having sept for your son - treat them kindly or no petard hurting them is totally not on. Can you explain to DH that you have handled it and the value of having a pet is worth this bit?

strawberrydaquari Wed 16-Jul-14 10:33:40

I'm in the same (ish) situation, a new kitten and a ds who's 3. Ds is rough with the kitten while trying to cuddle, clap him etc. I'm not leaving them alone in the same room and hopefully the kitten will soon start keeping out of his way.

catsdogsandbabies Wed 16-Jul-14 10:45:31

Not criticising strawberry but how do you react when he is rough? Is he disciplined? He is 3 not 18 months and so I think can be taught to be consistently gentle. I would be very very strict with it as it is so important and a lesson in patience and being gentle.

cozietoesie Wed 16-Jul-14 10:53:02

Is your DS jealous of the kitten?

strawberrydaquari Wed 16-Jul-14 11:03:00

Yes, he is. I don't just ignore it. This is the first pet we've had that isn't kept in a cage (gerbils etc) and we're all learning. The kitten is here to stay and he is, and will have to continue, learning to be gentle with it.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 16-Jul-14 13:13:44

8 week kittens are very vulnerable, very easy to kill accidentally.

I'd re-home, this isn't a toy. The kitten is far too young to learn your ds should be given a wide berth.

It's not just broken bones you have to worry about, internal injuries can kill too.

He's not a bad child he's just too young to have empathy for the kitten.

To reiterate what Fluffy said - kittens are very easy to kill accidentally and our clinic comes across this all too often. Small children do kill kittens. You must make sure your child is never left alone with the kitten and, when with the kitten in your presence you need to keep a very strict control. If you can't do that then yes, you should rehome the kitten.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 16-Jul-14 13:51:30

You either need to go hardcore with your Ds or rehome kitten. You got lucky, next time may not be such a good outcome. Three is old enough to understand not to pick up a kitten and hurl down stairs.

There needs to be no excuses made and you wed to e shit hot on discipline. If you can't realistically keep them separate (and a kitten can squeeze through tiny gaps) then kitten should stay with someone else (friend/family) til you are able to make your Ds understand.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 16-Jul-14 13:59:08

Also, look over kitten for any sign of bruising/swelling.

And kittens can't tolerate much in the way of blood loss so vital that you make sure he isn't bleeding anywhere

VenusDeWillendorf Wed 16-Jul-14 14:07:54

Rehome your kitten ASAP.

Your DS isn't old enough to know what he's doing and by the sounds of it you've had a lucky escape.

Your DS would never get over the shock of killing Dave.

It's for the best, and best done when Dave is young, uninjured and still able to trust humans. He sounds like he's becoming wary of your DS and knows to keep away- you've got to wonder what the point of having a cat is if he's never going to trust your DS and keep his distance.

Is your DS sn, he sounds like he has low empathy. Sorry to be blunt, but, 3 is old enough to know that he must be gentle, and what it means. I think you need to look into it actually, imvho, <not knowing very much about it- just a gut feeling something's not quite right>.

VenusDeWillendorf Wed 16-Jul-14 14:08:57

Sorry, auto correct "your DS is old enough to know better."

chemenger Wed 16-Jul-14 14:13:40

I think you should probably rehome. A very small kitten (which is what you have, I have never had a kitten so young and I have had many cats) is not an ideal match for a small child with limited empathy. You can't protect the animal adequately so you should remove it from the risk of (further?) injury. An older cat which can defend itself would be much better, if you are willing to accept that it might scratch your child. At the very least you should not be letting your child handle the kitten, it is not a toy it is a living thing that feels pain and fear.

SingSongSlummy Wed 16-Jul-14 14:15:35

I agree that a 3 year old should know better than to throw a living creature over the banister. I have a 10 week old kitten and a 2yr old and a 4 year old. They have been taught to be incredibly gentle and kind and I would be extremely surprised/disappointed if my 2 year old did anything unkind to the kitten. I think you need to supervise very carefully and also to stop making excuses for his behaviour.

umiaisha Wed 16-Jul-14 16:00:05

DS was 2 when we got our kitten and initially was a bit heavy handed with her, to the point that I wouldn't leave them unsupervised together. He wasn't being intentionally rough, but wasn't capable of picking her up gently and stroking her nicely like his older sister did.

A year on and the novelty has worn off and they have an understanding. If he pushes his luck he gets a warning scratch from the cat which seems enough to make it a rare event nowadays! The cat even seems to quite like him and will happily cuddle up with him when he is watching the TV etc.

Please don't rehome your kitten, just supervise until things calm down.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 16-Jul-14 16:02:41

With all due respect umi

There's a vast difference between a toddler being a bit heavy handed with a kitten (basicLly just showing love but unable to realise enough is enough or excitement taking presidence over being gentle), and throwing a cat down the stairs because he basically pissed him off.

timtam23 Wed 16-Jul-14 21:45:32

I think there are some high expectations here of little children who have only turned 3 a few days ago, however I do think your DS at only just 3 is much too young to be left anywhere near a kitten, I don't think you neccessarily need to rehome the kitten but you need to be very very careful with DS and the kitten, watch them like a hawk and never leave them on their own together

I think he is too young to understand the consequences of his actions and I would say your best bet is to continue modelling good gentle behaviour around the kitten whilst being very very watchful and stopping any hint of rough behaviour, in fact probably don't let him get to the stage of picking the kitten up at all.

If he is going to copy you by throwing things over the banister, maybe don't do that any more - carry the clothes down instead

We took in a stray kitten last year and also had the 2 DSs who were 3 and a half and 5, we had 2 old cats already so DS2 was used to being told "stroke the cat gently" etc but we still had to be extremely careful with him. In fact we did not encourage DS2 to stroke the kitten as he was too young to be truly gentle and we did not want to risk the kitten's health, or to be telling DS2 off all the time. DS1 was better but still had to be watched, he did enjoy having the kitten sit on his lap but at 5 he was old enough to understand a little more about how fragile these tiny animals are.

Given the choice I would never have had a kitten around such young children but as he was a stray and all the rescues were full we had no other option. I know many rescues will not rehome little kittens to houses with young children - I think our local RSPCA usually says any children have to be at least 8 years old

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 16-Jul-14 21:48:47

I think there are some high expectations here of little children

I'd say the opposite actually, that expectations are very low.

I think he is too young to understand the consequences of his actions

To young to understand the actual medical implications, however if you asked him what would happen of you thrw his fire engine down the stairs, he'd know it would break. So yeah I'd say he knew it would hurt the kitten

catsdogsandbabies Thu 17-Jul-14 06:17:16

Agree with many posters in that 3 is well old enough to have empathy and understand consequences. I also agree with being hardcore with discipline for hurting pets. Pets teach empathy and are so rewarding for kids. But of course supervision and any rough handling means kitten removed from them and time out or whatever is used. My 15 month old knows to be gentle with our pets, yes I wouldn't leave him alone but he strokes gently as he has been shown.
I think '3 is too young' is a cop out personally. This is an opportunity to teach them how to care for another thing and that is a valuable lesson.

girliefriend Thu 17-Jul-14 12:14:12

I think the kitten sounds very lucky, your son could have killed the poor thing sad

I got a kitten when dd was 4yo and it was stressful as dd wanted the kitten to play with her much like her soft toys, obv a kitten has its own ideas!!

I am not sure about rehoming, I would keep a close eye on things and hope that your ds had had learnt his lesson, the first sign that he hasn't then yes rehome.

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