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Need to rehome cat - how to help distraught DD?

(35 Posts)
Cutandpaste Mon 04-Dec-17 00:28:03

We adopted a female cat from Celia Hammond six months ago. She was 9 months old. We have two DD, 4 and 7.

Over the last month the cat has starting daily stalking and prowling around the younger child especially, once even attempting to pounce on her back. She’s left a deep scratch on the hand of DD1.

We been to the vet twice in the last month in case there was something we weren’t aware of. The vet now says it may be better to rehome her as we can’t trust her not to hurt the children. We’ve tried Feliway and painkillers as the vet though she had some tender swelling in her back which may have affected her mood.

The cat is fine with DH and I but she does try to nip our ankles. Is this something cats do? DH had dogs as a child, I didn’t have any pets but the cat refuge did a home visit and spent a long time matching the right cat to us.

DD1 is distraught and has been in tears all day at the thought of not seeing her best friend ever again. She’s very attached to her and adores her, this is her first experience of losing someone you love. Any advice on how we can help her? We’ve tried to explain that the cat may be happier in a home where adults can look after her, and that our children may like a cat that doesn’t lash out or prowl around them but I don’t know what else I will help ease the pain she is feeling. Any advice to help either the cat or daughter?

We really don’t want to rehome her but we are worried about what may happen when we aren’t in the room.

ferrier Mon 04-Dec-17 00:32:01

The cat may be used to having to defend itself or just not been trained properly. One of my cats would do this if not reminded of how to behave. But he's generally a softy so it's quite easy to do.

As for your dd, get out and choose another one quickly. Try to ensure if you go for rescue again (always a bit of a gamble) that it's not been brought up with dogs or young children. And then teach everyone in the household to be zero tolerance to unwanted behaviours.

Icequeen01 Mon 04-Dec-17 00:41:29

It's a young cat - that's what they do! I have had cats for over 40 years and most of them have nipped my toes or pounced on me at some point. They are play fighting. If the cat was aggressive you would be shredded! I hope you are going to take her back to Celia Hammond to rehome? Please don't get another cat.

ferrier Mon 04-Dec-17 00:45:02

By nine months I'd expect them to be trained out of it.

Icequeen01 Mon 04-Dec-17 00:48:28

My gorgeous soppy ginger boys are 6 and still have their mad moments! One of mine likes to sit on the stairs looking all gorgeous and then wack me as I go passed! 9 months is still very young.

thecatneuterer Mon 04-Dec-17 00:58:04

Ah, I didn't realise you'd started this thread in two places OP. I replied in the one in Chat.

silentpool Mon 04-Dec-17 01:11:21

This is pretty standard behaviour in a young cat. They have to be taught not to swat and treat humans like their prey. If we were playing and the kitten nipped me or scratched me, I would stop the game, hold them by their scruff and put them down.

Their own mother (cat) would correct them as well and you need to do the same. With a cat from a rescue situation, you can't be sure that they were socialised properly before you got them. So I would look to doing some research on how to train a young cat before you re-home it unnecessarily.

Briette Mon 04-Dec-17 08:11:46

I have a little overly-playful monster too. Gentle discipline works; if she gets too cheeky I just scoop her up and put her in the next room (with the door still open) and she has a little time out, no harm done. She loves playing with people for hours so it's only when she's a bit pent up that she tends to start treating human body parts as extra toys.

Was she going for DD2's hair when she pounced on her? Mine sometimes struggles to tell the difference between hair and the most exciting chase toy ever until firmly told 'no'.

I do think that you're going to potentially have a similar problem with any young cat as they can be quite silly for a few years (and some remain silly forever, depending on the personality).

Hawkmoth Mon 04-Dec-17 08:18:14

When our cat was like this we got another cat so they could play fight each other.

BeetrootTart Mon 04-Dec-17 08:31:16

I seem to have been incredibly lucky with my two, they are both extremely gentle rescues and I've had them from a very young age. Boy cat is the softest and I've had him since he was around 8-10 weeks. Girl cat I got at 12 weeks. Boy cat will NEVER hurt you when playing. If you hide your hand under a blanket he will attack it, if you use a bare hand he won't touch you. If I tickle his tummy he will get kicky feet but claws are always in. Girl cat will very occasionally nip (maybe twice a year) but only if she's overstimulated and she generally nips then runs away.

If it's hunting behaviour then maybe she needs some serious playing with. My cats are very lazy. If yours isn't then she might be bored. A second cat might work. Does she have lots of toys and a good climbing tree? Do you have a garden she goes in?

snorkmaiden68 Mon 04-Dec-17 12:13:37

If it's a young cat they do tend to play rough sometimes. My 8 month old girl (had her 2 months) was a bit bitey sometimes especially with my feet in bed. I started wearing thick socks and telling her No in a firm voice then just not engaging with her/ moving her away. I gave her a lot of love when she was gentle instead.
She's much calmer now but I have another older cat that will also put the kitten in her place.
Sometimes they just get excited and play rough not meaning to hurt. It's young cat behaviour.
Please reconsider rehoming her and try a bit of training and play with her with mice, things pulled along on strings to wear her out. My one has access to the garden during the day now (supervised) only when I m home (work shifts). She gets a lot of energy out climbing the tree and stalking things in bushes.
Maybe your older daughter would be willing to help train her a bit? As a compromise for keeping her.

YetAnotherSpartacus Mon 04-Dec-17 12:42:47

Poor puss. I just accepted that the cats were bitey and scratchy when I was little. I think more acceptance is needed. And training.

snorkmaiden68 Mon 04-Dec-17 19:10:53

Yes I had a few scratches and bites as a kid too. Didn't put me off cats but I did learn the signs of annoyance and gave them space and respect.
Oh and my kitten I ve been training just launched at me from the banisters. It was get out the way or cat on my head 😃. They re mad at this age!

deepestdarkestperu Mon 04-Dec-17 23:50:18

All cats nip and bite and scratch - they're baby animals! If you can't handle that, rehome her and don't get another one.

Ignore the awful advice to rehome her and replace her with another kitten hmm all cats nip - my oldest is coming up three and still has his moments though he's much calmer than he was. The younger is only just one and still digs her claws in, scratches and bites when she's playing. She's a baby animal with tons of energy - it's what they do!

Wolfiefan Tue 05-Dec-17 00:00:46

Use a toy and redirect her attention. Does she go outside?

EachandEveryone Tue 05-Dec-17 01:12:01

I was going to say are you all playing with her enough? Get one of those laser pens. Mines the same age and full of energy still.

Veterinari Tue 05-Dec-17 01:20:30

SOUnds like normal boisterous young Cat behaviour. How much stimulation and exercise does the cat get? Does she have regular play sessions?

Oliversmumsarmy Tue 05-Dec-17 01:28:36

Don't get another kitten. You will get the same behaviour from every kitten.

If you must get rid don't you have to take the kitten back to Celia Hammond?

EachandEveryone Tue 05-Dec-17 04:10:50

What are you going to tell your daughter? Is this little cat going out in the day?

IceFall Tue 05-Dec-17 11:23:43

@Cutandpaste You've had loads of good advice. Going to do anything about it?

- Need to make sure you are playing with the cat lots.
- Play only with toys - never hands.
- If the cat gets bity/scratch remove to another room and ignore for a bit.
- Be slightly more accepting of a baby animal doing what a baby animal with claws and teeth does.

Don't get another cat. You aren't cut out for cat ownership.

PenelopePear Tue 05-Dec-17 11:37:28

Totally normal. My 3 year old tabby will lie in wait on the stairs and pounce and attack when she can. Or she will just give me a bite for no good reason really if she decides I'm stroking her incorrectly. It's just playing although I appreciate claws hurt! Trust me, if the cat was on the attack, your kids would have more than some scratches

Cats do this. They generally do not cause much damage and this all sounds like playing to me

I wouldn't bother getting another cat. This is very normal for a lot of them

PenelopePear Tue 05-Dec-17 11:39:33

And on a re read of your op ... you seriously are concerned about a cat POUNCING?! it's what they do! Do you know the slightest thing about cats

AngelsWithSilverWings Tue 05-Dec-17 12:16:55

My Burmese did this when he was that age. He would launch himself at you if you didn't willingly engage in play fighting during one of his mad half hours

We took advice and the answer was to get another kitten. The behaviour stopped immediately and now the two cats happily have half an hour a day where they play fight, chase and pounce on each other.

Burmese are good in pairs though - not sure if all cats are.

Viviennemary Tue 05-Dec-17 12:22:45

I don't think I would re-home the cat under those circumstances. If it was a dog that's different. As large dogs can be killers. But it does seem quite a badly behaved cat from what you've said. Cats don't usually nip people's ankles from what I've experienced.

FannyFifer Tue 05-Dec-17 12:27:29

My 3 year old cat loves to stalk my 7 year old girl around, he will jump on her, leap out from behind things, but has now learned to be gentle & he bats with his paws but doesn't scratch.

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