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22mo tormenting cats - any advice?

(16 Posts)
drivingmisscrazy Mon 29-Nov-10 16:35:41

DD loves our cats; this is not mutual. She knows that she should be gentle (says 'gentle' whilst thumping them), and usually starts well (patting, stroking), but quickly escalates to pulling fur, yanking tails, leaning on them etc. They are very good and patient with her. Despite telling her seemingly 1000 times a day, she just will not leave them be.

I got very cross with her today about it (raised scary voice) and she went and stood quietly by the window (she must have seen time-out at nursery, although we don't use it). Not sure this is effective if she self-refers, as it were? So she knows it's naughty - but she also had a big grin on her face...

She's generally fairly well behaved (the occasional pinch or scratch when excited) and usually will follow instructions - except as far as the poor old felines are concerned.

What should we do? Separate them as much as possible and wait until she really 'gets' that it hurts them?

loubeedoo Mon 29-Nov-10 16:41:19

Not sure if my advice is the best but leave them to it.
My ds2 (5) and our tabby have a 'hate/hate' relationship.
They reached a mexican stand off hmm and so far so good. Must point out that ds2 has pulled ears, tail, carried him upside down, covered him in his smiley face reward stickers, bathed him and inadvertantly poisoned him. Tabby has scratched ds2 from navel to shoulder (leaving faint scar), and scratched him countless times.
Tabby (although slightly psychotic) keeps coming back.
Will go and hide whilst I wait for teh RSPCA to arrive..... blush

loubeedoo Mon 29-Nov-10 16:41:55

Also waiting for the RSPCC to arrive, can't think why shock

drivingmisscrazy Mon 29-Nov-10 16:45:48

loubeedoo lol. One of them (the elderly one) has the sense to snarl and get out of her way, the other just sits there and takes it - which is thick of her. So far DD has only received a warning tap or two and a warning bite. She is most affronted when this happens....

DrSeuss Mon 29-Nov-10 17:35:51

DS son did this till cat scratched him. Seemed perfectly reasonable response on the part of an animal to me, it was only a tiny scratch and he had been warned numerous times. What else was the cat supposed to do? They seem to instinctively know that small people are differnet to big ones and are usualy much more gentle and tolerant but there are limits!

drivingmisscrazy Mon 29-Nov-10 17:41:53

my worry is not that the cat will scratch DD - she certainly should! - more than DD will hurt the cat (the one who doesn't run away is tiny and could easily be squashed)

Beamur Mon 29-Nov-10 17:44:53

Are there places your cats can go to get out of her way?

drivingmisscrazy Mon 29-Nov-10 17:46:27

yes - one now sleeps on a shelf blush, but the other one is just too passive to get up and go - she thinks that DD is dominant (well, she's right there...) and just lies there.

Beamur Mon 29-Nov-10 18:28:19

I wouldn't worry too much. Your cat is able to get away if she wants, some cats perversely do like being manhandled by kids. Our old cat was very tolerant, he would even be held upside down or by his neck (poor puss) without a murmur, but was a big beefy tom cat more than able to look after himself.

peggotty Mon 29-Nov-10 18:33:51

You need to stop just telling dd to stop and actually take some action imo. When your dd is ignoring you and tormenting your cat, physically remove your dd from where the cat it. Just keep doing this whenever she gets rough with the cat. It's not fair on the cat that your dd can do whatever she likes. I have a very passive cat that ds (nearly 3) also is prone to be a bit rough with, and this is the only thing that works. It's important that your dd learns to respect other living things as well. If it was a dog she was tormenting people wouldn't just be saying 'don't worry'.

suzikettles Mon 29-Nov-10 18:35:01

I agree - as long as the cats can escape and you're trying to keep them apart and warning dd, then let them get on with it.

Our cat tolerated ds for a while, moved to warning hiss/paw raised and then scratched. Ds got a shock but he soon learned and there's a healthy respect there now...

Onlyaphase Mon 29-Nov-10 19:12:51

My DD went through this phase of bothering the dogs and cats as well, and I was worried that the cats would just have enough one day and scratch her really badly

Telling DD off didn't work as she just liked the attention she got when tormenting the cats, so kept going back to them.

The only thing that did work was distraction, distraction, distraction. As soon as DD didn't have anything specific to do, she'd head for the cats, so my job was to manage DD so that the opportunity to get at the cats didn't arise. A real pain, frankly, being on distraction duty all the time, but worth it as she did stop tormenting the cats.

drivingmisscrazy Mon 29-Nov-10 19:25:55

OK 'tormenting' might be a bit strong. I do often physically remove her - onlyaphase she certainly does it when other forms of entertainment have run out. I suspect that getting our attention is also part of it. peggotty - totally agree, that's why I'm posting! But she knows it's wrong but can't stop herself - she starts ok but then gets excited. Mostly it's grabbing or pulling, but I don't want her to think that it's OK.

Thanks

BobbieSox Tue 30-Nov-10 14:14:07

My 15 month old DD does this - we have 2 cats and one keeps her distance, but the other puts up with things to a certain extent.

My DD definitely loves the cats ( was her first word!) but tries to demonstrate this by getting on top of them. She also understands gently but just like you, OP, just bashes the cat anyway.

Any thoughts as to when they really learn to respect the cats? We have had one small scratch already but I don't think it's made any difference to the fear factor.

drivingmisscrazy Tue 30-Nov-10 15:23:44

'cat' was DD's first word too. The occasional bite and scratch doesn't seem to deter her: she's very stubborn

DrSeuss Wed 01-Dec-10 12:20:15

DS's first word after Mama and Dada was "at" which ithink counts as he was looking at the cat at the time! He then used it for a while for all furry creatures. On seeing his first handbag dog he said "at". "Fair enough, son," I said, "It's not really a dog!"
These days, at nearly 5 he loves our cats and is really gentle with them. He beams whenever one sits on his knee and lets him tickle them. I have a treasured memory of him at about 2 with our late, cantankerous tom cat, fresh from the vet's after another fight and curled up in a chair. Having been told to leave the cat alone because it was poorly, he went and got a cuddly toy and tucked it up with kitty "to make him feel better".

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