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WWYD? - kids' cruelty, old cat

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have4goneinsane Sat 20-Jun-15 03:34:01

Sorry for the length - basically the question is "do we keep the cat?"

We have Jasper, a very old (14 or 15) cat who moved in with us about 18 months ago. He is getting doddery, has arthritis, no teeth and has taken to peeing in odd places - I fear he doesn't have more than a year or 2 left

He is much loved by the whole family and our house has been much calmer since he moved in (4 kids aged 4-12, older 3 have aspergers).

Jasper loves people and children in particular, he seems to thrive on being hauled around, dressed up by children of any age and if there are 15 children in the house he will be found in the middle of the crowd being petted and manfully ignoring the sausage that a toddler is shoving up his nose.

So, generally a good match.

Occasionally the kids have been unkind to him, he has been kicked, the boys thought it would be hilarious to pick him up by his tail once, things like that. On each occasion that I know of Jasper has run off a short distance and then got on with life. The kids have had a bollocking, consequences etc.

Today they excelled themselves by throwing him on the trampoline while one of them was on there (they admitted this afterwards) - Jasper not only ran, he went and hid under the house for 3/4hour and when he came out he was clearly still shaken.

I feel they have crossed a line in terms of cruelty (basically they did this as part of a threat/bet situation, knowing full-well that it was cruel). I have told them that we will seriously need to consider whether we find a new home for Jasper. The thing is, I am not sure if it is crueller to move such an old cat or to keep him. He is so trusting that I know he will be back for more maltreatment opportunities.

WWYD?

Annabannbobanna Sat 20-Jun-15 03:38:24

Rehome the kids?

have4goneinsane Sat 20-Jun-15 03:41:20

hmmm, right now I'd certainly miss Jasper more than I'd miss them!

Floralnomad Sat 20-Jun-15 05:04:18

It would be virtually impossible to rehome the cat and frankly you need to have better control of your children ,they are all old enough to know that they are being cruel -I'd start by dismantling the trampoline . Poor cat . I will just point out that children who are cruel and torture / torment animals often grow up into adults that feel it's ok to treat other humans in a similar manner .

Nandocushion Sat 20-Jun-15 05:11:59

I'd take down the trampoline, and anything else they enjoy as well - iPads, screens etc. Poor cat. This is deliberate cruelty meant to hurt or scare him.

AcrossthePond55 Sat 20-Jun-15 05:19:29

I agree that he needs to rehomed, preferably to a home with better behaved children. I understand that AS can cause behavioural issues, but I've never known a child with AS to be deliberately cruel to an animal. I've known them to be a little overly-affectionate (holding when an animal want letting go or hugging a bit too hard), but never intentionally inflicting harm.

Maybe it's because you are a bit embarrassed and I'm sure I'm mistaken, but the tone of your post comes across almost as if you don't consider this a very serious problem ('excelled themselves', 'manfully ignoring the sausage'). It really is.

If I were you I'd do my best to rehome him. Here (US) there are agencies that specialize in placing older pets with senior citizens, that's how my mother got her older cat. Hopefully there is something similar in the UK. Unfortunately, if you can't rehome him and you can't control your children, there will be only one sad alternative rather than to continue to allow the cat to be abused.

OldFarticus Sat 20-Jun-15 05:49:18

Oh dear. Personally I would not rehome but I would be imposing some pretty severe consequences on the kids. My doddery old cat hides like that every time I get the Hoover out so I am sure that poor Jasper will get over it. Cats get very attached to their surroundings and I suspect a new environment will be too traumatic at this stage in his life.
My DN volunteers at an animal shelter (he is 10) reading to the rescue cats. (Don't laugh - I promise they love it and he desperately wants to be a vet!) Maybe something similar for the protagonists would help them relate more to animals?

hesterton Sat 20-Jun-15 05:55:38

I think letting them get away with treating him poorly in smaller ways because he tolerated it was a mistake. Often bullied kids come back for more because it's attention. Children should be taught absolutes about animal treatment right from the start - respect towards a pet as you would expect for any dependent little being in your house. No maltreatment should ever, ever be acceptable, however mild.

I agree remove trampoline and come down heavily. Take them to a cat rescue and let them see how sad the poor animals are in their cages. Ask them if they want that for your poor old cat. I actually think, despite this, your cat would be better staying in his home.for the last few years of his life. It would be very hard to re home an elderly cat like that. But your children need intensive training.

hesterton Sat 20-Jun-15 05:59:07

I have just read about the ten year old reading to the cats. What an amazing idea! Brilliant for reluctant readers too! Genius!

sweetkitty Sat 20-Jun-15 06:58:33

We have a 15 year old cat, he was here long before the DC, we would go mad at them if they hurt him in any way. Animals must be cared for never hurt they are part of our family too.

The DC delight in sneaking him bits of ham when I'm not looking.

Sparklingbrook Sat 20-Jun-15 07:09:12

I do feel very sorry for the cat. Have a chat with the local cat rescue. Tell the DC that there is a possibility he will be rehomed due to their behaviour towards him.

catwithflowers Sat 20-Jun-15 07:10:08

It never fails to disgust me that people can be so cruel to animals. Agree with other posters, dismantle the trampoline and withdraw all priveleges, take away phones, iPads, Xbox etc etc. and let the kids know why.

Just disgraceful. Poor, poor cat sad

karbonfootprint Sat 20-Jun-15 07:13:35

I agree with catwithflowers. the children lose phones, games consuls, etc, and the trampoline, straight away. And rehome the cat. He needs to be somewhere safe.

Jo258 Sat 20-Jun-15 07:20:49

Oh that poor cat.

I think you should rehome him. Your dc have picked him up by the tail, kicked him and now escalated to the stunt on the trampoline three things are clear:
A) they find it funny to watch him in distress
B) they are not learning from your 'bollocking'/'consequences'
C) Jasper is not really safe at your house: with the trampoline thing, if one of them had landed on him, they could very easily have killed him

Re-home him to a family who will both love and respect him.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sat 20-Jun-15 07:24:14

I think you need to be more vigilant and give harsher punishments, as they're clearly not getting the message, eh?
I think it would be unkind to the cat to rehome him, as he seems to love your kids despite their obnoxious treatment of him.

Maybe they only do it when they're all together, egging each other on or something? Perhaps stop that situation arising. Keep the cat away from them when they're in a group.

But mostly they need to LEARN that they cannot and must not do this to animals, or other people, or any living thing.

BertrandRussell Sat 20-Jun-15 07:26:55

My children would be grounded until the were 18 if they had behaved like that. And I would be heartbroken, not writing flip posts on Mumsnet. I can only hope you are taking the tone you do because otherwise you would be too embarrassed and miserable to post.

I hope you have already dismantled the trampoline and donated it to a charity shop. For starters.

WixingMords Sat 20-Jun-15 07:30:58

I think it's very unlikely, near to impossible, that Jasper will be a new home.

You will have to implement a zero tolerance to all cruel behaviour towards Jasper. Even if it's slight teasing that they aren't aware might be teasing.

I say about them not knowing because sometimes they don't. My younger DC were at the start offering our cat treats but not giving them to him, because they wanted him to come over to them for a cuddle. I had to tell them it was teasing, they didn't realise as they'd seen me calling him with treats (as part of my ' recall training'). I was giving them to him, but I had also told them he wasn't to get many treats a day so weren't giving them to him. The youngest also bounced on the trampoline when our cat jumped up when my DS was already on, cat was scared. DS has hasn't done it again as he got told it was cruel. He hasn't, because he doesn't want to be cruel to his cat.

CheekyNanKnows Sat 20-Jun-15 07:37:29

This has made me feel so sad. Your poor tormented cat. I find it hard to understand how children beyond the age of 2 could think that any of the things your describe are ok?! And tellings off have clearly made no difference. Poor old cat sad

I would be definately removing the trampoline for the time being plus other sanctions as suggested. Older dc not permitted to interact with the cat in any way at all. Rehoming him would be sad and cruel but so is living with your dc if this is how they treat him.

RubbishMantra Sat 20-Jun-15 07:40:48

I think that's excellent advice re. taking your children to visit a shelter. (Don't bring another cat home though!)

Thing is, if you take him to a shelter, he probably won't get re-homed due to his age. Do you know anyone that would have him (by-passing a shelter) so the poor old boy can live the rest of his life without being terrorised?

And please do dismantle the trampoline. Why do your children think it's OK to treat an animal this way? I've never heard about children being cruel because they have Aspergers.

Poor cat.

Sparklingbrook Sat 20-Jun-15 07:41:18

On each occasion that I know of

I hope there haven't been any you don't know of. sad

Selks Sat 20-Jun-15 07:42:09

I would go nuclear on my kids if they did that, and I sincere,y hope that you have done more than talk to your kids OP. They need to see your fury and upset and have some severe consequences.
Poor cat sad

HagOtheNorth Sat 20-Jun-15 07:46:01

My DS is on the spectrum, adores cats and lacked any empathy for humans when he was a child. Smaller, older it didn't matter, Theur distress didn't register as noteworthy with him for years.
Even if they don't understand that what they are doing is cruel, that it's unacceptable and wrong, the dx might be an explanation of this but it isn't an excuse to condone what they are putting the cat through for their own entertainment.
So, put in consequences to their actions, somerthing that does matter to them. Be proactive not reactive. Lay down clear boundaries about how they treat the cat and back those up every time.
How do they treat younger humans?

iamadaftcoo Sat 20-Jun-15 07:46:31

How are you letting them getting away with treating him like that?!?!

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 20-Jun-15 07:46:52

What punishment would you have if they behaved this way to another human being?
Research shows that pets really help children on the spectrum as with proper management the children can learn about non-verbally communication. However, parents need to be like Hawks and intervene as soon as pets are giving of the signals that they don't like something.

RubbishMantra Sat 20-Jun-15 08:04:28

I've just remembered this thread, this lovely little bloke loves his cat. I think it's unfair to attribute your children's cruelty to asbergers.

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