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Old Cat, New Baby

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
*Sorry so long; hoping someone will read this & be able to help!!*

I'm hoping that you all might be able to give us some suggestions or advice. Our cat is 11 yrs old and until recently was an "only child." She has never been a people cat but has found her loving side in her older years and is generally affectionate if not a bit moody. When we brought our baby boy home she was stand offish for several months. We did the best that we could to show her that we still loved her & to encourage positive interaction. Our son is now 9 months old and he LOVES the "kitty, kitty". He thinks that she's just about the neatest thing that he's ever seen. She thinks that he is a nuisance at best but until yesterday had been very good with him. We've taught him to be "gentle" and we've closely supervised all visits. Last night she was sitting on the back of the couch (which is in the center of the room, so she wasn't cornered or anything like that) and he wanted to pet the kitty. She seemed to be in a decent mood so I held him while he tried to pet her. He was a very good boy and didn't grab her fur or her tail or do anything to provoke her. Regardless, she lashed out & attacked. It came out of nowhere! I'm typically pretty good at reading her and didn't pick up on any of her "don't touch me" signals. She hissed & gave him a good scratch on the face. Poor little guy! He has a scratch on his nose, cheek and between the eyes. Needless to say, I was NOT happy with the "kitty". Now I'm completely paranoid about it happening again but there is no realistic way that I can prevent it. Even if I HAD been able to see the warning signs, he is going to be walking soon and I won't be able to supervise every time he comes into contact with her & he is way too young to understand not to "play" with her. What to do!? We obviously don't want to get rid of her & declawing isn't an option. I've heard that softclaws come off all the time although they may be our best bet. Does anyone have any other ideas? What can we do!?!?

post #2 of 7
But you can avoid it again - first of all make sure your son just plain doesn't touch her again (he might be frightened enough now anyhow!), and he's old enough I think to be told, if with a few reminders. Also, you might explain to him that the cat is tired because she's older (not sick, which might worry him), and just wants to be left alone, but she's not mean and doesn't dislike him. Either that, or just keep them separated by doors when you're not around... You can't just give her away at this point, and he's getting older and smarter by the day.
post #3 of 7
I would try the soft paws.I haven't tried them myself. Others that can will probably advice you on howl ong they will stay on. At this point just keep him away from the cat. I know its a worry for you as a mom. I bet as he gets older your cat will tolerate him better.
post #4 of 7
For a cat who hasn't been around babies, and who isn't so social, a baby is the worst thing that can happen. At our shelter we breed stip cats who can't be around babies for the exact same reason. As your baby gets older your kitty may adjust to him, but your best bet is to keep them away from eachother, and love both of them as much as possible. Also remember to never punish your kitty, she doesn't know, she's just trying to get rid of the event that's making her mad, and by instinct, that's how cats do it.

I've tried the Soft Paws on a kitten and she pulled them all off within two days. I would suggest taking your kitty to a local pet store (PetsMart or PetCo) and have them put it on, they'll trim your kitty's nail as short as it can go w/o going into the quick, and they'll apply the Soft Paws correctly.

As your son gets older it'll be easier to explain to him that your kitty doesn't like children so much, and he'll keep his distance, and when your kitty is ready, she'll come to him. But please don't give up on your kitty.

Also, try reading this: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20837
post #5 of 7
I think things will work out ok. The cat can move quicker than the baby, and she will stay out of his way. You will keep working to teach him to be gentle with kitty. He is only 9 months old, which is still a horrible age from a cats point of view. As he gets older, if he continues to learn to be gentle, she will be less offended by him.

It is awful to have your child injured by your pet. A cat scratch on the face looks totally bad, and family and friends are not very understanding. However, it does happen, and the kids recover and forget sooner than we do.

Don't take the baby near the kitty again. I wouldn't lock them apart, as long as the cat isn't going for the child. If as your son gets older, he chases the kitty, and she doesn't run from him, but lets him catch her and then hurts him, then you can separate her when he is awake. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much. She will be quicker than him for a long time, and will most likely stay away. Make sure she has a tall, stable kitty tower, so she has a place to climb away from him. (Be sure it won't tip over and harm him.)

We had a crochety kitty (Friskey) growing up. If a child petted her, she would wash herself afterward. One day, she swiped my 2 y/o baby sister across the face for some infraction. Amy picked her up, took her into the bathroom, and shut the door. She then slapped the kitty across the face, and told her not to scratch anymore. Not exactly prime kitty training, but Friskey never scratched Amy again. From then on, they got along just fine. And Amy is still a cat-lover to this day.

Congrats on the baby! At 9 months, you have a LOT of exciting days ahead!
post #6 of 7
My 12 year old cat does not like kids at all.
If it makes you feel any better, things will likely get better once the baby is walking/running all over.
Like my old girl, she will probably just learn to stay well away from him.
Just don't get mad at her, and don't force her to interact with him.
post #7 of 7
My sister has an 8 year old cat who hates my nieces. When they were younger, they would always try to touch the cat and the cat would make angry noises and bat at them (without his claws out). My nieces never got scratched, but the batting action from the cat would make them cry. Now that they're older, they ignore the cat (they love my cats though, who are younger and more kid-friendly) and the cat ignores them.
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