Sorry a bit of a long one; I am updating my policies and have just got to my pet policy.
When I was last inspected, I had two cats, both pretty friendly and children were able to pet them under my supervision. One was put down last year (cancer, now I think about it, I blubbed for days, ok back on track), the other one has become, not really sure how to put this but suffice to say he is unfriendly & I can't trust him . He is nearly 14, has feline asthma and arthritis, so goes through stages of being really grumpy as in pain (even though on meds). Has a bit of a thing about peoples feet, I have often wondered if perhaps somebody in the neighbourhood may have kicked him at some point.
I have never hidden this 'problem' with prospective mindees, nor current mindees parents; mindees have been discouraged from petting cat 'as he is grumpy today as not well'. Parents refrain from petting him too and are happy in the knowledge that I will not put their child at risk.
However, How to word my policy & what to do when I have my inspection which is looming. I am worried that cat will 'behave badly' and slap the inspector with his paw (claws in of course) & if she sits in his place on the sofa, he may sit in front of her & will stare at her until she is compelled to move Joking aside, ok so you probably get the picture of what cat is like?
So do I word policy by stating mindees discouraged from petting as cat elderly and unwell?
or do I have a general pet policy stating mindees are always supervised when animals around? I would rather not draw attention to cat at all but....
I don't particularly want to ask parents to write a letter stating they are happy with my policy to protect their children from my cat but may have to. What do you think?
And as far as the inspection goes, do I hide the cat when Ofsted Inspector arrives and say he is out and about?
I obviously do take this problem very seriously & make sure children in my care are protected whether from said cat or from any dogs in the park etc. Have had animals all my life so am aware of prospective dangers.
Would appreciate any opinions at some point. Thanks
I would probably keep my general pet policy and then update my risk assessment to include the risk posed by the cat and how you manage this. Ofsted can then see that you are continually assessing and managing the risk in order to ensure the children are safe.
Yes cat is usually happy to spend lots of time upstairs in my room (put radio on for him so he's not lonely) & has various cosy cat beds and nice soft mat too but does love our company so when he hears mindees come in in the morning and anyone else come into house, cat likes to come down and join us which is a bit of a bind as he can't be trusted.
I try not to pick cat up as doesn't like this so whenever I want to move cat, I very gently encourage him out with a tea towel or cushion behind his butt but don't think that will look good in front of the Inspector !!
Good point about the Risk Assessment, hadn't actually thought of risk assessing on paper for cat. Of course I am always risk assessing situation as his grumpiness can be worse some days and not so bad on other's so risk assess on a daily basis of a potential situation.