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I think I made a heartbreaking mistake

(27 Posts)
mintmacaroon Wed 16-Mar-16 14:55:10

I posted yesterday in chat about my rescue cat who bit my toddler quite badly on the leg - had to take her to the doctors and have it cleaned up. The truth is that they just don't seem to be getting along and I think the cat is jealous of dd and my attention. I love the cat and I would miss her so much but I don't know what to do. She's an older cat so I think the rescue would struggle to rehome her if I took her back.

She has 2 feliway plug insurance as well as a cat tree and plenty of hiding places up high to escape from dd. She has my whole bedroom to herself and can go outside.

I'm so confused. I don't want to risk dd being hurt again but at the same time I would be devastated if I had to return the cat. Any advice?

isamonster Wed 16-Mar-16 15:58:39

Hi - did your dd provoke the cat? If no then is the cat usually aggressive or just to her? How old is your dd?

My dd used to squeeze the cat and sometimes hold on to his tail when she was tiny. He hardly responded because he's old and a total softie. I desperately tried to keep them apart, never leave them alone etc. Honestly I felt terrible for the cat and this was short lived though he hasn't forgotten and keeps his distance from dd even now she's older.

But if this has been spontaneous attacks by the cat, without provocation from my dd, I would have felt he needed to go to a new home.

ginauk84 Wed 16-Mar-16 16:12:28

Can you get your daughter to give her something nice? Our cat loves squeezey cheese so my daughter will sit and give him some. Can she be the one that feeds the cat? The cat then associates her with nice things.

cozietoesie Wed 16-Mar-16 16:14:52

I didn't see the Chat thread. How old is your DD?

mintmacaroon Wed 16-Mar-16 16:25:17

Dd's 18 months and didn't provoke her. She also bit my arm last night unprovoked but I'm not fussed about that. Dd gives her treats etc but the cats just not fond of her!

isamonster Wed 16-Mar-16 16:36:53

Just read your other thread. Poor you! It is so stressful when you feel you might have done the wrong thing. I'd personally get the cat checked by a vet. If you've only had her a month, when did this start? I'm not sure I would want to keep a cat that bit a small child unprovoked - I dont think it is fair on either your dd or the cat but I definitely start with checking her out with the vet.

mintmacaroon Wed 16-Mar-16 17:55:28

She's been nipping me from day one really but I always put it down to the fact that she's nervous and settling in etc. She's scratched dd before when dd has taken her by surprise or whatever but now she seems to be lashing out when dd isn't even doing anything wrong. I honestly don't know what to do. I feel like if I keep her then I'm being irresponsible with regards to dd but then at the same time I'm thinking how can I just get rid of her and send her back to the shelter where she'll probably never get adopted again.

isamonster Wed 16-Mar-16 18:28:56

It is a hard one. Personally I had two cats when my daughter was born. They'd always been very spoilt by me. Since she arrived I havent had enough time to be the cat owner I was before, until recently (dd is at school) when I split up with dd's dad and the old boy cat is the man of the house and I can indulge him when my 4 year old is in bed.

I'm really impressed by your concern for the cat's future. She isn't happy though which is why she's doing this. Do you have time to try and help her? When my dd was that age I wouldn't have done. I am personally inclined to talk to shelter for their advice/view too. You're not letting her down, you need to see what you can do for the best for everyone.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Wed 16-Mar-16 19:48:12

I think for me it would depend on what kind of biting it was. How was your cat when these incidents happened - was she aggressive/frightened (ears back, hissing, growling, scratching) or was she in play/hunt mode (wide-eyes, wide pupils, excited, purring even)? If the former, I think I'd be more inclined to rehome, as she's not happy, and getting her to feel secure will take time and effort and won't be easy with a toddler - but if the latter, I'd be more positive. That's because we have a recently rescued BiteyCat, but he's not scared or aggressive, just hasn't learned manners, and though he's still far from perfect (early days) we are working on him and have seen a huge improvement. We're playing with him religiously at least twice a day - he likes fishing rod toys, a kicker toy and a treat ball - and whenever he gets that wild gleam in his eye, we grab a toy and get him to hunt that instead of us, with treats and praise if he goes for that option and ignoring him or leaving him alone in the room if he grabs any of us.

We have cat toys scattered all over the place for easy access and the fishing rod type keep DC safe while letting them interact with him. It's really helped him know what's acceptable and what's not, and helped the DC be less scared of him. (They're older but cat bites are still pretty horrible whatever age you are, and whether the cat 'means it' or not.)

mintmacaroon Wed 16-Mar-16 19:59:39

I try and help her as much as I can. I play with her a lot with the fishing rod toys, laser toys and a feathery ball thing she loves. Dd plays with the fishing rod with her because it allows her to interact at a distance. She gets plenty of attention when dd goes to bed like now, she snuggles up to me and is so lovely.

But the bite was a tail swishing, ears back aggressive kind and then straight after she'd bitten dd she went to bite me. Later on that evening she bit my arm too.

I just get the feeling that she's not entirely happy here which makes me unhappy too. But the alternative is her living in a shelter so I just don't know what to do. The woman at the shelter isn't very helpful. She couldn't do enough for me leading up to the adoption but as soon as I brought the cat home and contacted her if I had any questions like she told me to do she just wasn't interested.

QueenElizardbeth Wed 16-Mar-16 20:09:02

It sounds like she has been badly treated. The only biter I had had belonged to a very poorly old lady who had lost her marbles and been aggressive towards the cat, clumsy, trodden on him etc.

It was very hard to try to rehabilitate him - I wouldn't have had him around a child.

I think you should return the cat to the rescue if you are able and choose a more suitable candidate. There are weirdos people like me who will take on a 'mad bastard' cat, forgive the expression, but it really isn't a good idea with a small child around.

Don't feel bad about it.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Wed 16-Mar-16 20:09:03

Ah, sorry to hear that. She does sound like a stressed, unhappy girl, and I know exactly what you mean about feeling heartbroken about rehoming but needing to do what is best for your child. Personally, I think with a wee one to think about, and if Feliway etc don't help, I would rehome. I don't say that lightly, but some cats find small children really stressful to be around - and a stressed cat can be an aggressive cat.

QueenElizardbeth Wed 16-Mar-16 20:09:58

btw I think playing with things that make her chase and bite is going to encourage aggression, not disperse it iyswim

I always found games like that made any cat a lot more feisty, it didn't calm them down.

Wolfiefan Wed 16-Mar-16 20:12:26

I would stop trying to get a toddler to interact with a new and anxious pet.
Has the cat been vet checked? Is she spayed? Could she be in pain?

mintmacaroon Wed 16-Mar-16 20:21:35

I don't encourage the interactions but I thought it might be a good way to get them used to each other and for the cat to see that she's not a threat in any way. Probably a mistake on my part.

She's been neutered and has been checked by the vet - nothing wrong with her.

I feel bloody awful.

mintmacaroon Wed 16-Mar-16 20:22:23

*spayed not neutered.

Girliefriendlikesflowers Wed 16-Mar-16 20:23:15

Personally I would take her back, it sounds like a home with a young child in isn't the best home for this cat. I couldn't have any animal in the house that was aggressive towards a baby. It sounds like the cat would be happier in a no child home and there will be plenty of other cats that will suit your family.

Wolfiefan Wed 16-Mar-16 20:23:32

When she first arrived did you let her settle in a quiet room on her own?

TheGirlOnTheLanding Wed 16-Mar-16 20:24:29

Oh Mint, I feel for you. It's a hard situation to be in, but it isn't your fault - if the rescue didn't tell you she wasn't comfortable around small children how were you to know? If you take her back they can home her in a child free family, and she'll feel much less anxious.

isamonster Wed 16-Mar-16 20:28:43

Dont feel bad - you've got no way of knowing these things before you get a cat home. I would think of your daughter first - it is hard work sorting out behaviour and you owe it to your child to make her home safe. As the lovely Queen says above.

mintmacaroon Wed 16-Mar-16 22:17:15

Yeah she had her own room to settle in and was gradually introduced to the rest of the house. I did everything I was told to do by the shelter and my own research but this has gone beyond my control now.

mintmacaroon Fri 18-Mar-16 12:10:36

She's still here. I think I'll give things one last try but am I being naive?

isamonster Fri 18-Mar-16 14:19:00

Well it is difficult to give up on an animal... I think you'll know when you've had enough or it has gone too far... Good luck!

MrsLettuce Fri 18-Mar-16 14:34:13

If this were a dog showing random aggression and causing injury that needed medical attention then posters would be calling for her to be PTS.

Clearly a cat isn't as dangerous as dog but I do feel you need to return her to the shelter, she's a danger. She may well settle in nicely in a household without children.

I'm sorry your having to deal with this flowers

MrsLettuce Fri 18-Mar-16 14:34:58


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