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Cat scratching DD

(10 Posts)
BustyDeLaGhetto Fri 21-Mar-14 16:58:53

What can I do? One year old rescue cat from family with three children (4, 9 &14) the youngest of which developed asthma so otherwise loved and socialised previously. We adopted him in January.
Affection is on his terms, that's fine.
He follows DD (4) everywhere and sits with her when she plays. They play together sometimes with shoe laces, balls etc. I've seen him give a warning swipe once or twice when she gets over excited, been through how to handle him and his warning signs etc. She is very gentle and loving with him.

Recently he has given her some nasty scratches which rise and bleed. and has her screaming in pain. It happened today when she was stroking him and appears to be unprovoked (I.e no warning signs)

I called the shelter for advice and they seem to think that he sees DD as another cat. Have told me she needs to meow at him if he does it again. He follows her everywhere so can't keep them apart.

He is fine with me. I've had her feeding him and ignoring him but can't understand his behaviour. What can I do?

cozietoesie Fri 21-Mar-14 17:06:17

Keep a close eye on them and separate them at the first sign of any over-exuberance on her part or antsiness on his.

You said that 'affection is on his terms' and that the attacks ' appear to be unprovoked'. (My emphasis.) She's only 4 though so unless you've actually been there watching all the time (have you?) I'd lay a wager that she's over-stimulated him a bit. It happens sometimes with little ones because cats have different boundaries to grown ups.

cozietoesie Fri 21-Mar-14 17:08:01

PS - when I say separate, I mean that I would actually pick him up and put him in a different room to cool off.

BustyDeLaGhetto Fri 21-Mar-14 17:50:23

That's a good idea cosie I will do that. One thing it may be worth mentioning is that he is polydactyl meaning he has extra toes (and thumbs) so he may be swiping but his extra digits are doing the nasty scratching.
The only one I've seen was when she had got too close and I think he was feeling trapped. I didn't get there in time to separate them and yes, yhat was her fault I'd say.
I may stop him accompanying her into her room as I'm not usually up there.

BustyDeLaGhetto Fri 21-Mar-14 17:55:09

When I say 'affection is on his terms' I mean he doesn't like to be picked up but loves a big fuss, purrs his head off etc.

cozietoesie Fri 21-Mar-14 17:57:00

Difficult to explain the difference to someone who is 4, eh?

BustyDeLaGhetto Fri 21-Mar-14 18:31:41

Yeah, it is. Do you think the advice to meow at him is good? They told me he thinks of her as a sibling.

cozietoesie Fri 21-Mar-14 18:35:26

I don't know on that one - never tried it. Maybe someone else has and can give you a view.

It's been my own experience, though, that cats can distinguish perfectly well between themselves and other animals and I've always proceeded on that basis.

Martorana Fri 21-Mar-14 18:39:04

One of my cats loves a fuss- but will suddenly "turn"- as if it gets too much for him. You have to be very alert to the cues to stop in time, and I get it wrong sometimes. I'm not sure I could teach a 4 year old to read him, to be honest....

If you don't want to keep them seperate, teach her to keep her face well away from him (good advice anyway) and have the Savlon handy.......

cozietoesie Fri 21-Mar-14 18:44:53

PS - and even if it did make him think she was a littermate, if you've ever seen a litter of feisty kittens interacting, you'd recall that a meow from a littermate could do little or nothing to stop an aggressing brother or sister.

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