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1yo and defensive cat - please help!

(9 Posts)
ShutYerCakeHole Mon 07-Mar-16 12:36:33

Would really like to heat any success stories or advice on this subject!

We've had a rescued cat for 4 years who has grown in confidence and is largely chilled out (asleep) but also very defensive, sudden movements make her lash out.

Our DS is becoming mobile and is very excitable towards her - I manage to keep them apart most of the time, but we're in a 1 bed flat and it is getting harder! She has managed to scratch his hand (lightly, fortunately) once, when I turned away for a split second sad

We're trying to buy a larger property but for now I'm worried about keeping them apart. We have a large playpen, but DS can reach through the bars.
Family are pressuring me to rehome the cat, but I won't consider it. She's not unhappy/stressed currently so it wouldn't be best for her (should that change in future of course I'd reconsider her best interests).

Have not tried Feliway - not sure if that would be recommended?

I hope that by 2 ish (?) DS will understand to be gentle with her, stay away from paws etc, and in a bigger house their contact will be reduced, so she won't feel threatened as she'll have somewhere to escape to - too optimistic?

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 07-Mar-16 16:49:38

An escape would be good for her, I'd buy a cat tree she can sit high up on to escape little fingers.

I wouldn't re home for defensive scratching either. New house should help lots.

ShutYerCakeHole Mon 07-Mar-16 19:10:18

Thanks for replying Fluffy, cat tree sounds perfect, and I'm glad someone agrees regarding not rehoming!

dodobookends Mon 07-Mar-16 19:14:36

Feliway - the wonder drug grin we were sceptical, but it has really worked with our rescue cat who had a tendency to suddenly turn into a she-devil without warning.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Mon 07-Mar-16 19:16:41

A cat tree or a stairway of sturdy (empty) shelves well out of wee one's reach sounds like a plan.

tdm1 Mon 07-Mar-16 19:20:37

I totally support Fluffy's suggestion of a cat tree - you need to make it possible for your cat to escape unwanted attention while your DS is too young to understand. I'm also in favour of a minor scratch a bit later to help get the message across that the cat is not for bothering. I tried to teach my DC from very young to understand the cat's body language, warned them what would happen if they bothered her when she didn't want them to, and allowed them to get a very small scratch so they really got the message. We abandoned our playpen very quickly, and used it instead to fence off dangerous areas - which then became cat refuges.

Spandexpants007 Mon 07-Mar-16 19:59:45

Hold your sons hand and help him stroke her gently and quietly. Say the words 'gently gently' while helping him stroke. All 4 of mine learnt that way and the cats acclimatised to a whole house full of kids. They are all very attached to each other now, particularly now they are past the toddler years

ShutYerCakeHole Mon 07-Mar-16 20:36:44

Thanks so much all.
Will give Feliway a try, it can't hurt!
A more private space for the cat really makes sense, will look into a tree asap, and DS is outgrowing the pen anyway so that's a good suggestion tdm1.

Haha yes Spandex I do the "gently gently", with DS wearing mitts! I think he's too young to get it but will keep going and really encouraged to hear your success.

I hope they will be great pals one day.

Spandexpants007 Mon 07-Mar-16 21:38:11

These days my 4 all walk around holding our cats like babies. They keep each other company a lot! Best friends

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