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help! older cat and baby

(16 Posts)
wokeupwithasmile Wed 05-Feb-14 20:46:26

Hello all,

My lovely 15-year-old female cat has been having it hard since ds1, 10 months, arrived. She is a shy, sweet, fatty cat who just wants to have (and was used to) peace, cuddles, warmth and croquettes in her old age. Obviously all that has been thrown up in the air with the arrival of ds.
Ds has started to crawl around at high speed, and I feel for her. She is always cornered by him in her box in the corridor, if she sits on her 'platform' next to the kitchen there he goes, the only safe places remaining are the bed and the wardrobe. (We live in an apartment, there is a large terrace but obviously she does not want to go out these days)
I would like her to be around us, so that she can check what we do, and to feel safe, so I am thinking of something high where she can stay. The dining table works but it is clearly not 'her' space, and I am not happy with a cat tree because ds might pull it down, plus in a few months he will be able to reach the higher parts.
However, I saw in a video a vertical scratcher attached to the wall with a couple of 'shelves' that could be an idea, but I could not find it for sale anywhere. Do you have one? Do you know what is it called/where I can find it?
Otherwise, did you have the same problem? How did you solve it?

Thank you!

cozietoesie Wed 05-Feb-14 20:52:53

Poor you-all.

I've never used one such as you describe - but surely it need really only be a couple of shelves with some carpet folded over and tacked on to the underside ? (Or with additions as desired - such as a privacy board so that she's hidden but also doesn't fall off: that's some wood, a few nails and some soft padding or a fleece thrown in.)

How handy are you?

wokeupwithasmile Wed 05-Feb-14 21:01:19

Yes, I thought of doing that myself (well, tell dh how to do it grin ), but she is, ehm, a bit on the heavy side, so I am worried she might fall out with the shelf if it is not the right thing...

I am dreaming of something like this grin grin

but I can't afford it and I do not think I have the space!!

timtam23 Wed 05-Feb-14 21:04:26

We had the same problem - 2 cossetted old cats who had been mine from kitten-hood - and 2 small boys. The cats were 13 and 12 when DS1 was born.

I don't know about the shelving system you describe but I think any place the cat could have as its own quiet spot would be good

We have a house with a back yard so the cats could go out if they wanted, but found that they tended to spend a lot of time asleep on our bed, or in our wardrobe. We try to keep the DSs out of our bedroom as much as possible and they are pretty good with the cats now (one oldie died last year but we still have a 17 yr old boy cat and also a 7 month old kitten). We have always encouraged them to "stroke the cat gently" and modelled doing this, and we're quick to let them know if they're too noisy and are scaring the cats
Children aged 12-24 months old was the hardest time for the cats but the DSs are now 4 & 5 and understand a lot more about being gentle with the cats

HomeIsWhereTheGinIs Wed 05-Feb-14 21:05:07

The refined feline have cat shelves. Alternatively, just google "cat shelves". I have a cat tree and it's practically impossible to move, there's no way a toddler could pull it down...

timtam23 Wed 05-Feb-14 21:07:28

We also found that we hardly was the cats during the day (they were lying low so that the DSs would keep away from them) but as soon as the boys went to bed, the cats would turn up, plonk themselves onto the nearest lap and demand lots of strokes smile
They sorted themselves out ok and seemed to adapt in the end, I was sad for them at first as they had been incredibly pampered animals and I had expected them to have a calm quiet old age (no chance now!)

timtam23 Wed 05-Feb-14 21:07:54

*saw the cats

GreenMouse Wed 05-Feb-14 21:10:53

If you (or your DH!) are good with DIY and can easily get to Ikea, I suggest you have a look at the Ikea Hacks website, they have quite a few ideas for cat shelves/climbing trees/pods etc, for instance I quite like this one and this one smile

wokeupwithasmile Wed 05-Feb-14 21:12:54

Thank you for all your replies.
She has free access to the whole house, so the wardrobes and bed are hers. However, sometimes it feels likes she stays there because she has nowhere else to be. She usually liked being in the same room as us, but now with ds she stays as far as possible.
I am trying hard to educate ds on how to 'handle' her, but of course he is a bit harsh in his movements. I feel for her. Ds loves her and smiles at her every time he sees her, but she just does not want to get close. Sometimes I wonder whether with a dog they would both enjoy each other's company. It's a shame.

Cat shelves! Home would you mind telling me what cat tree do you have?

wokeupwithasmile Wed 05-Feb-14 21:19:29

Thank you for the links, they are really interesting!!

And yes, I basically give her a whole day's worth of cuddles after ds goes to bed smile

OneMoreThenNoMore Wed 05-Feb-14 21:26:03

We have two cats (11yrs and 7yrs old) and two dcs (2 and 3 yrs old). I'm not sure how we achieved harmony actually confused... I guess it's been a combination of the cats becoming gradually more tolerant of the dcs, and the dcs learning to be gentle with the cats.

Ds (2) is still learning about being gentle with the animals (we also have a 3yr old dog); if he goes to stroke them we still supervise and model the best way to stroke- he now says "ahh, that's nice stroking" as he pulls their tails, so he's getting there! grin

Seriously though, whenever the dcs are rough with the animals, or corner them, or follow them, we intervene. So if a cat is cornered, we move the child to allow the cat to choose where they would like to escape to. The cats have their own favourite hiding places in the house (between the sofa and the wall, under a table etc), and they are also able to go outside. Will you be using stairgates to cordon off any areas in your apartment? If so, perhaps the cat could have a hiding place in the non-baby area? Or perhaps in a bedroom, where the door can be closed?

Not sure if any of that ramble was helpful, sorry! I guess I'm trying to say that good modelling and "supervised contact", plus a hiding place, plus giving it a bit of time, and the cat and baby should develop a reasonable relationship.

HomeIsWhereTheGinIs Wed 05-Feb-14 21:47:37

Sure, we have one of the refined feline ones. But you'll find that all tall cat trees have low centres of gravity so they don't fall over when cats leap into them!

wokeupwithasmile Wed 05-Feb-14 22:09:00

Home you must have thought that I asked a question you already answered! Sorry, I thought that 'refined feline' meant felines with taste, I did not know it was the name of a company grin

Onemore thank you, this is all helpful. We have already some of your suggestions in place but will follow the others.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 05-Feb-14 22:22:43

This might be bonkers but a play pen upside down would give her a refuge because she could get through the bars (or you could take a bar out) or you could cut a hole in a fabric sided one.

wokeupwithasmile Thu 06-Feb-14 06:46:02

You know, I was thinking about it as well! It might actually work well.

OneMoreThenNoMore Thu 06-Feb-14 07:09:05

That's a good idea, Fluffy! Or you could look into a dog cage? Similar idea but it would have a door.

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