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Cats and Children

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Do any of you have children under age five? I am wondering because my two children love to play with Jake. But I don't think Jake likes children.
Well with my daugher who holds him and pets him, its okay. But my son who is three likes to harass him. I've told my son several times not to pull his tail, or harass him in other ways. He would put his finger to the cat's mouth. Then jake would nip at it and my son would cry. But he would put his finger to Jake's mouth again. I told him not to do this, but somehow he dosen't understand. How do any of you deal with pets and children?

post #2 of 12

Children under the age of 5 do not mix well with kittens. It's not that Jake doesn't like children, he just doesn't like your son, which to be honest, I don't blame him. I wouldn't like anyone who harassed me or pulled my tail either. Your son needs a little more discipline when it comes to the cat. I would suggest a "time out" for your son everytime he starts abusing him. Either that or put the cat in another room and make your son understand he is to leave the cat alone. Let your daughter who seems to be doing fine with the cat go into the room and play with him. You may also want to sit down holding the cat and take your son's hand running it along the cat's fur saying "nice kitty". Hopefully he'll get the idea. Otherwise, he's going to end up with alot of scratches and bite marks. And since your son doesn't understand the word "no", that might be the only solution that works.

Another suggestion is to get a "teaser" from a pet supply store which is a wand with shiny strands of colored aluminum foil at the end. Have your son play with the cat with the wand instead of his fingers.

Children need to be taught early on that animals of any kind should be treated with care and respect. Otherwise they turn into animal abusers later on in life. I've seen it many times.

I've run out of suggestions. Good luck to Jake.
post #3 of 12
Try explaining to your son that when he pulls Jakes tail or puts his fingers in his mouth, that hurts Jake, and when you hurt Jake, he's going to hurt you back!
A 3 year old is plenty old enough to understand "NO", and that it's wrong to hurt an animal. I agree with Donna about the "time-out", or instead of isolating Jake, who's done nothing wrong, try isolating your son...he'll soon get the idea.

post #4 of 12
I am now minding my grandaughter every day and she is 3 as well. She has just decided that she will chase the kittens. I absolutely will not allow it. If she persists they go in their room to be away from her which is the spare room upstairs. They have their bed and litter box up there.
I tell her if she is going to be mean to the kittens she will not be allowed to even see them. She knows I mean it and has decided not to chase them after all.
They can understand plenty at the age of 3.
post #5 of 12
I have two preschool children (4 and 2) and one cat, Muffy. My kids do pretty well with Muffy. Amy, my four year old, will carry her around the house and hold her in her lap, and Muffy doesn't care. Now my 2 year old isn't nearly as gentle, he just doesn't understand yet. But he doesn't try to pester her on purpose, he just hugs too hard. Then sometimes Muffy nips him to let him know he's hurting her. That works well.

Every now and then I do have problems with the kids just being mean to Muffy. If I catch them at it, they don't get to play with the cat for the rest of the day. This works well with them.

The best discipline I've had with the kids is actually what Muffy deals out herself. She's a really good cat, and would never hurt the kids badly.

I think that you can definately have young children and cats. You just have to supervise a lot and teach them what's appropriate behavior. Three year olds are old enough to learn this.

Good luck with your little ones. It can be done!

post #6 of 12

Yes, it is possible to have children and CATS. I never said it wasn't. Any feline under the age of 9 months is still considered a kitten. And Jake is a kitten. There is a difference.

And if you read the stories about young people abusing animals, they are 9 times out of 10 males. I work in a rescue organization and have tons of horror stories about BOYS breaking a 6 week old kitten's legs just because. A bunch of BOYS were playing football at a dumpsite in Puerto Rico - the football? A stray cat. A group of young MEN from a college beat a cat to death. Get the picture???? Oh and by the way, Jeffrey Dahlmer, the one who killed all those men and dismembered their bodies?? He started out by abusing and killing animals in his grandmother's basement. Need I say more??
post #7 of 12
Cats and kids, hmmm. My kids were 7 and 8 when I got Squirt. They were never ever mean to him, but as he was their first pet, he was extremely curious. They followed him everywhere. If they had their way, they never would have given him a minute's peace. As a result, he never really bonded with either of them. By the time Joey came along, having a cat was no longer a novelty, so they all bonded better. I found it tough to juggle the natural excitement and curiosity of the kids with the needs of the kitten.
post #8 of 12
I don't usually place kittens with children under five because I feel parents oftentimes allow their children to harass the poor kitten. Your son needs to be taught now that no is no and if he persists in hurting the kitty, he needs to be put in a time out and not be allowed near the cat. When my kids were little they didn't always understand about being nice to kitty and I cut them no slack - punishment was swift. They learned real quick how to be nice. Many breeders I know will not sell their kittens to anyone who has young children for the same reason - please be firm with your son now and your kitty will thank you for it.
post #9 of 12
Donna -

I definately agree with your comment about boys and the abuse of animals. I think this is a reflection of many of the things that are wrong with our society. And it's terribly sad.

However, I don't think we could make a blanket statement that young boys, toddlers even, should not have young pets. There are a lot of parents that have young children who want to get young pets, kittens and puppies, so the animal can grow up with the children. From what I've heard, animals are generally more comfortable with behavior that they've been around since they were young; they're more likely to accept the occasional rough betting or loud playing of children if they've always been around it. I personally would be afraid to adopt an adult cat or dog without knowing its history simply for this reason. (If I didn't have young kids, I'd definately pick an older pet!)

Saying this, I think it is 100% the parent's responsibility to make sure that the children treat their pet well and teach them what's acceptable and what's not. In my house, this means that my children are always supervised with Muffy. We got Muffy when she was 8 weeks old, and never had any problems. But like I said, it's up to the parents.

Anyway, just my 2 cents...

post #10 of 12

I agree with you 100% that it is the parent's responsibility to teach their children respect for all living things. I guess I got a little annoyed at Alicia because she just didn't seem to get it. : She's having a problem with her 3 year old and now wants to get another kitten. That's why I told her to wait till the kid gets a little older.

As far as males always being the ones that abuse animals, that's what it seems like to ME. Every story I ever read about animal abuse involved a male (be it boy, teenager or grown man). I am sure there are women out there as well who abuse animals.

I appreciate and respect your opinion.


post #11 of 12
Thank you Donna. I think we agree about this more than we thought. Unfortunately, I think a lot of the problems today have to do with lack of parental supervision. Abuse to animals is only one of them. My goal is to teach my children to respect all living creatures, people, animals, everyone. After all, God made us all and loves everyone.

post #12 of 12

Lack of parental supervision has alot to do with it. These days (and I am NOT pointing fingers at anyone, just expressing my opinion) it is necessary for both parents to work thereby leaving the kids alone after school. It happened with my parents. But back in those days I was supervised by my grandmother who lived close. Kids who have alot of time on their hands can get into trouble.

I remember when my parents punished me for one reason or another that I would only understand why when I had children of my own, and by God they were right!

Another problem is children being in single parent homes where the parent has to work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet leaving the kids home alone alot more. It's too bad. I was one of those parents. I worked as a secretary during the day and from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. I worked as an EMT on an ambulance while my aunt babysat for my daughter who was only 2. She is now 25 and is every parents dream in that she doesn't smoke or do drugs and treats people and things, including animals, with respect.
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