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Cat bit my toddler - what to do??!

(16 Posts)
Beeperbird Sat 01-Dec-18 08:48:29

A bit of background - my 2 cats are 7 years old and housecats due to FeLV & living next to a main road. We’ve got plenty of space with lots of enrichment for them.
I’ve got a 2.5yr old and a 3 month old.
One of my cats has always been a bit funny with “strangers” - hissing and lashing out but a cuddle monster with my DH and I. Let’s call him angrycat.
Since my first child started walking the two cats have been fighting each other a bit (I think redirected aggression).
When my toddler became more interested in the cats, angrycat started the hissing and lashing out at him whenever he reached to touch him, which made my toddler avoid him but made the house quite stressful trying to keep the two apart.
So about 3 months ago I got my toddler to try and give the cats a treat daily / every other day and start to play with them and slowly but surely it’s been working - less hissing, less lashing out, less angrycat.
This morning I thought I’d cracked it - angrycat came up and started rubbing my toddler when we were sat in bed, who stroked him nicely - I was so pleased! Suddenly out of nowhere tho the bloody cat sniffed his fingers a couple of times then bit him!! There was no hissing, no indication of anything wrong.
What do I do?? Is it worth keeping going or do you think its not gonna get better?
I just don’t want to get rid of the cats, I can’t imagine an aggro cat would be adopted and I feel responsible for him! Help!

OP’s posts: |
Grannyannex Sat 01-Dec-18 08:52:26

Take a step back and strictly tell your toddler to give biscuits but not touch. And to be very quiet and still around the cat. The cat will eventually come to him I’m sure but toddler should still avoid touching for a few months in addition while the cat builds up confidence.

Skatersbeskating Sat 01-Dec-18 08:54:25

My cat loves me. She doesnt like DC loads
.
But is a lot lot better.

I get DC to do the feeding now.

After your DCat rubbed up, I wouldnt have gone straight in & let DC stroke the cat. I would have let the cat do lots of rubs over the next few months.

The stroke probably felt really different to usual.

It could take months, if not years before they are friends.

Mine bit my head one day, as I was too close to her head. It was a one off.

Grannyannex Sat 01-Dec-18 08:54:37

It will get lots better as your children get older.

claraschu Sat 01-Dec-18 08:56:12

That sounds difficult, but I, like you, would never give up cats I have adopted; there are too many unwanted cats in the world sad.

I think that your toddler should keep giving treats, but just never pet or even touch angrycat. I think he will learn to give the cat a wide berth and it will just become second nature to him. Lots of cats have a grumpy side, but I have only met one that was really intimidating if you are actually just leaving him alone.

Grannyannex Sat 01-Dec-18 08:57:06

MY cats now prefer my children grin

Sexnotgender Sat 01-Dec-18 09:08:22

You are responsible for him.

Children need to be taught to keep a respectful distance from animals until the animal feels safe with them.

BorisAndDoris Sat 01-Dec-18 09:38:37

Unfortunately that's not that unusual cat behaviour. My own current cat was raised by hand by me when she was orphaned at 2 weeks old. She's lovely. She is so friendly and funny but will also randomly bite. Maybe I touched her too long. Perhaps I tickled her 5mm to the left when I shouldn't have done. Maybe I accidentally touched a part of her tummy. You never really get to know. They just sometimes flip and bite. Almost all my cats have done it at least once (and I have had LOTS)

The key here is teaching your child not to touch your cat. My 3 DC never really did until now, 4 years later. They're 6, 8 and 11 and she loves them. They can stroke her and can read her cues on when they can pet her or walk away.

It'll just take time. Unless your cat is approaching your child to attack him then they can live together just fine.

Toddlerteaplease Sat 01-Dec-18 12:30:14

My cat is the most soppy and affectionate cat, who has never used her claws in anger. But bit me very hard because she thought my finger was for chewing on!

Wolfiefan Sat 01-Dec-18 12:32:40

Your cat has made it clear they want the toddler to leave them alone. You need to respect that and teach your child to do the same.

Orlande Sat 01-Dec-18 12:37:40

What kind of bite was it, did it break the skin?

I have 3 dc and a cat but the cat would never get within touching distance of the 1 & 4 year olds. She's happy for the 8 year old to feed/stroke/pick her up though.

Toddlers and cats will never be friends ime. Our rule with the younger dc is just leave the cat alone.

Beeperbird Sat 01-Dec-18 13:59:32

Thanks everyone, makes a lot of sense. I think I’ll encourage my DC not to touch angrycat for now and let them interact through treat giving / play etc for now until he can read the cat better.
No he’s not approaching DC to attack him, he lashes out when DC approaches him and he doesn’t want the attention.

I was with them and was just so surprised as angrycat has tried to bite me before but it always with a warning - tail thumping, or ears flicking or a hiss or something - this time he seemed happy with the strokes and just suddenly went for my DCs fingers!

It broke the skin a teeny tiny amount, looks more like a scratch on his hand than a proper bite so he didn’t properly bite I don’t think - propably more a warning as I imagine if he actually wanted to bite he’d take a chunk of flesh with him?

OP’s posts: |
Orlande Sat 01-Dec-18 17:07:15

Hissing and lashing out when a toddler approaches is 100% normal cat behaviour ime and just a sign to keep the toddler away. Make sure the cat has places to escape to - stair gates are good for this.

Skatersbeskating Sat 01-Dec-18 17:43:02

Do the cats have a tower? So they can go up high?

Preferably not in a room that they could pounce on the DC.

Beeperbird Sat 01-Dec-18 21:20:41

Yes they’ve got two tall cat towers in different rooms, and they have full access upstairs which my toddler can’t get to during the day due to the stair gate.
They are naturally curious as to what’s going on when we don’t have visitors (they just hide them!) and like to come and sit in the room where I am with the kids and watch us - normally on the cat tree or the backs of the sofa where DC can’t reach them!

OP’s posts: |
StillMedusa Sun 02-Dec-18 01:29:37

Cats don't like toddlers generally...they are small unpredictable humans and cats like everything routine smile
My now adult daughter recently admitted she was terrified of Portia (my nearly 19 yr old cat) for years and would hide under the duvet if Portia jumped on her bed, because Portia would purr one minute and attack the next! The children were never horrible to her, she was just a feisty cat!
Now she is old and frail and end of life discussions are being held, and they are begging me to keep her alive as long as we can... they grew up and so did Portia and they adore her.
She still bites....

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