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Max hissed at a little kid... how do I prevent this from happening?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I'm back after a week long move - I'm so exhausted but everything is finally unpacked and the place looks decent! I have a dilemma tho...

The other day, my fiance's 5 year old nephew came over and wanted to see the cats. They had been in the upstairs bedroom while we were moving and so I took him upstairs. Max started hissing at the little boy - who he has never met. And the boy wasn't doing anything, just standing with me. So I said "No Max" and then Max started whimpering/whining... like a puppy does. I've never seen anything like it.

We've come to the conclusion that maybe Max lived with a little kid before who pulled his tail or something... however what happens if I have kids of my own one day? Is there anything I can do to get Max used to kids?

Oh and in case you were wondering... Baylee was also a bit nervous about the kid too. No hissing... she was just a bit crouched to the floor, as if she was scared.
post #2 of 12
Kids are pretty scary to cats in general if they've never experienced one before. They are (generally) loud, have higher pitched voices than they are used to, and they move fast. Add something loud, and strange sounding, and in a size they have either never seen before or have had bad experiences with on top of moving to a new place. That's a lot for a kitty to deal with.

It sounds to me, from his reaction, that Max was abused by a child. More than just tail pulling. Intentional or not (from the child's point of view), Max remembers that little people hurt him. The only way to show him that all little people aren't bad, is to recondition him with kids who have the time and patience, and understand cats. Have a child come in and leave treats. Nothing more, no trying to pet kitty. Just leave something yummy. Have a child do this a few times. Then maybe they can stay in the room for a while with you, sitting quietly, while Max and Baylee come out and eat their yummy treats. By doing things like this, you can show Max through actions that some children can be trusted.
post #3 of 12
Ari the same thing happend a few months back when my friend brought her 6 year old son over.

Rosies very shy to start with when theres new people in the house and stays in her room until she's ready to sniff them out, but Liam was itching to see both of them and kept going to find them, but we kept telling him to leave them and they would eventually come down.

Would he listen to us?, yes when hell freezes over! but then he crept up the stairs only to have Rosie hiss at him twice!, which caused him to cry and be scared (Serves him right after doing that to my little girls! )

Even Sophie who goes to anyone took refuge with Rosie because their not used to kids.

Now Liam sits downstairs and doesn't dare venture upto their room
post #4 of 12
i have nothing really to go by, but IMO i'm guessing that the cat was just really really stressed from the move, change of environments can do that, no firmiliar hiding places or smells can be scarey
post #5 of 12
Meish runs and hides from little kids but if they corner her she will just sit there and be petted. She isn't a kid fan though...
post #6 of 12
I just wonder what the child was doing to Max? Or did to him. Kids and cats - especially kittens - need to be supervised very closely when together!
post #7 of 12
amen to that..It hasn't happened yet to Lovey..The only children here are preteen girls who can be noisy but are generally calm and loving with him...and are all taught to be.
I absolutely cringe when I see kids picking kittens/cats up the wrong way or hauling them around while the cat looks on with pleading eyes...
The same with puppies/dogs...I hate it.

I agree that cats who are especially not socialized to small humans are just plain freaked out by their movement.

Even when my daughter is here with a friend and in the OTHER room, Lovey is on the constant alert to any little noise so much more than usual...
post #8 of 12
One of my sisters Persians always hisses at my 8 year old daughter the first time she walks into the house. She's not particularly noisy and is very used to cats - she's been brought up with them since birth and she usually ignores the hissing one and pets the more confident one who rolls over at her feet. The shy one normally comes out of hiding if he's left alone to get used to her presence and realise that she's not beating him brother up!

We always put it down to the fact that they lead a very quiet life, as my sister lives alone - they're really only used to her on a day to day basis.
post #9 of 12
Some cats are just different, scared of differnt things. For example, if There was a four year old and a puppy at my house, my Aerowyn would sit by the little girl, and run from th epuppy, but my elliot would rather sit by the puppy then by th elittle girl. It's just their temperments, and how they were brought up, for another example, elliot doesnt really like men, kind of because he was raised by women (my mom, me, and my mom's friend) and mostly because he is afraid of my mothers boyfriend (he doesnt really like cats, and obviously they can tell this), so elliot runs from men, but he loves women (even strangers). Aerowyn loves anyone who will pet her or give her a neck rub. So really you can try to help you cats or teach them not to be afraid, but sometimes it's jsut the way they are.
post #10 of 12
Ari, Sasha as gentle as he is does not like children. This is becuase he's never been aorund them, I don't have any and he wasn't raised with any. Kids really stress Sasha. But when they are in the house (relatives, friends, etc) I tell the kids to talk softly to Sasha, say his name, bring a treat like Heidi suggests - which is a great thing- and then be patient. I tell them Sasha has a little brain not the same size as ours and he needs more time to understand what is going on....like do NOT cram a bunch of stuff into his little brain all at once. I think Saba was just raised around them before she came to be lost. She's unfazed by them.
post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by Ali012281
Meish runs and hides from little kids but if they corner her she will just sit there and be petted. She isn't a kid fan though...
Both of mine are the same way. One cat is much faster than the other, so kids can't get to him. But if they corner the other cat, he just tolerates it heroically, although, I am sure, he is dreaming of getting away from them.
post #12 of 12
Here are two constructive suggestions:

1. Teach the little kid not to stare directly at the cat -- if he wants to look the cat over, instruct him to slowly blink his eyes (in an exaggerated way) so he isn't staring too hard. Some kids will bald-faced stare at someone or something, just out of innocent curiosity, but some cats really won't like that.

2. Teach him the very basics when it comes to tail talk. Tell him sometimes he will need to back off and give the cat more room. This site is a quick primer:

We could do better if we were talking about introducing a cat to a regular adult, but my suggestions are on a level where even a five year old child can understand. Blinking and watching the tail -- about as basic as it gets.

Good luck!
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