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Help...I may have to get rid of them.

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I have a 9-year-old daughter and I have tried everything to get her to be nice to our cats. I have punished and yelled and scolded and taken privelages away and spanked...nothing works. She will squeeze them, pull tails, and choke hold them. It is breaking my heart but it looks like the only humane thing to do is to give the cats away to good homes. Has anyone ever gone through this with children? How do I keep my animals and keep them safe?
post #2 of 19
Please don't take offense at this question...is your daughter a special needs child? You are describing behaviors typical of toddlers, but not at all typical of a 9 year old. A child her age who is doing this kind of behavior could easily kill or seriously injure the cats, so I think re-homing the cats might be the safest thing to do. Again, I don't want you to take offense at this, and I know that I am making this recommendation based on just a few sentences worth on information, but if your 9 year old is hurting animals, I very strongly recommend that she be taken to see a mental health professional because we simply do not see this kind of behavior in children her age unless they are experiencing significant problems.
post #3 of 19
I too have been trying to find a gentle and polite way of suggesting that you seek some kind of help for your daughter. What you say worries me more about her welfare than the cats.

Speaking from experience I must confess to being rough on cats when I was a child but it was because I liked them so much and wanted to hug them all the time. Once it was explained to me (more than once) I learned when to let go.

Being mean to animals is not a good thing at any age. Also (again I am struggling for the words) if your daughter does have problems it is in not necessarily a reflection on how good a parent you are.

Obviously you must be a very caring person or else you would not be so concerned with the welfare of your cats. You need to show the same concern for your daughter. Unfortunately bad things happen to good kids no matter how good or bad the parents are.
post #4 of 19
Yes, I agree, and its hard to say in the right way. But your daughter needs some professional help ASAP. I'd find the pets new homes - before one dies or gets seriously hurt or your daughter gets hurt by them.

Then get the right help for your daughter. Its been proven that children that hurt animals when young, may have serious problems later in life and can potential start hurting people.

Please help your daughter now - not later.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
OMG...How awful you must all think I am, going on about the cats and not a word about what my daughter might be experiencing. It was just recomended to me, like last week, to have her evaluated by a psychiatrist for ADHD and anxiety...I have made a couple calls and am waiting to hear from them. I take no offense to anything you said.
post #6 of 19
You poor thing - my heart goes out to you because it sounds like you are having a very difficult time.

I hope you find a solution soon
post #7 of 19
we are not saying anything is wrong with you. we are saying your daughter might have a problem. and to find good homes for your cats before one dies
or gets hurt.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by whitephantom
OMG...How awful you must all think I am, going on about the cats and not a word about what my daughter might be experiencing. It was just recomended to me, like last week, to have her evaluated by a psychiatrist for ADHD and anxiety...I have made a couple calls and am waiting to hear from them. I take no offense to anything you said.
We're all cat people, so its nothing unusual to go on about cats I truly hope you can find the best solution for everyone involved.... is there any way you can keep the cats secluded from your daughter until she goes in for this evaluation? I'd hate for the kitties to lose such a loving meowmy when there is a different solution, my thoughts are with you
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by whitephantom
OMG...How awful you must all think I am, going on about the cats and not a word about what my daughter might be experiencing. It was just recomended to me, like last week, to have her evaluated by a psychiatrist for ADHD and anxiety...I have made a couple calls and am waiting to hear from them. I take no offense to anything you said.
I don't think anyone thinks you are awful. I think we are just concerned. My son has ADHD so I know how that can be. It does sound like there are some other issues as well but I think an evaluatution is in order.

Do you have a friend or family member that could keep the cats temporarily? If she is hurting the animals I am sure it would be a good break for them as well as for you and her. Then you could take the time to figure out what is going on. I hope everything turns out for the best
post #10 of 19
I would definately worry about the cats too! That seems to be the immediate problem. But I also agree with the others. She needs to see a regular doctor and probably a therapist. That is not a bad thing! It will help her substantially. My child has ADHD and takes meds to help her in school. And although she has been going through a rough patch lately, she is never mean to animals. (She is a little mean lately to her younger cousin, jealous of the attention)

One of the 1st things you hear about kids who are cruel to animals is that they could be being abused some way. The child can't be mean or nasty to the adult abusing, or to another adult, so they take out their anger and feelings on an animal. This is all text book behavior. And I pray it is not the case and she is just going through a rough patch like mine is.

Best of luck to you! I hope it all works out for the best...
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well, what we are going to do is keep the cats in our bedroom wich also has a bathroom connected and only let them out when she is in bed. We will do this untill we find out what the problem may be. We are a blended family and her dad is kind of an idiot...maybe there is some anger coming from that. After she is mean to kitties, she always cries and feels bad. And when I said something about finding them new homes, she fell apart. So, I am thinking she doesn't mean to be mean...maybe she can't control what she's doing? Especially if there is some kind of abuse or mental deficiency going on. Thanks all so much...keep posting with ideas on what to do in the meantime.
post #12 of 19
I hate to say this but please take her to a pediatric psychologist (a degreed one, not just a therapist) and tell them why she is there. She probably does mean to hurt the cats at the moment it's happening but it may indeed be an impulse she cannot control.
I was abused when I was her age and if there had been pets around I'm not sure I wouldn't have been doing something very similar. I'm not saying she must be being abused, but there is something going on with her much more significant that needs immediate attention. As you know, and are seeking! (Yay for you!)

You need to talk to your daughter more openly. Ask her is she feels angry when she does this, and if she says yes, ask her why she feels angry. It could be something as easy as she's being bullied at school or she's way more jealous of her cousin than you think, it could be something more serious but whatever it is you need to find out. It doesn't take much for hurting animals to quickly turn into hurting other children.
post #13 of 19
I also had a similiar experience. My step daughter was five when we got our first cat and there had never been a pet before. She has ADHD and would often hurt the cat, but it was never her intention to hurt it. She wanted the cat to do what she wanted it to do and she didn't understand that it's not the way it works. We would sit down and talk about it everytime something happened and she would cry when she realized that grabbing the cat by the tail was hurting it. She really didn't want to hurt the kitty, she loved the kitty. We did find the kitty another home, but through interaction with animals at friends houses and in different places that we took her to. She did learn how to treat them, and she is now very good to all animals. Some children just don't learn as quickly especially if they haven't been exposed before. She really might not want to hurt them, but she may have trouble making a connection between her actions and the kitties feelings, which isn't uncommon for children with ADHD. I would be very sure to monitor all her interaction with the kitty.
post #14 of 19
She seems to be acting out her anger in the way she must have seen it expressed by her 'first' family - it's all she knows how to do and just needs to learn how to deal with it in better ways.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yes, her father and I went many rounds before we decided to split...we were never violent but, unfortunately, she was witness to a few verbal fights...it's better now but, she does seem to carry a lot of anger...BTW...keeping cats and her seperated is working good...I let them out for a couple hours and I teach her how to treat them...as long as she doesn't hurt them, they can stay out...should have an appointment for her soon.
post #16 of 19
I think what you are doing by confining them, is a good idea. You may also enlist her to help you take care of them. Under close supervision, she can help you clean litterboxes, feed and groom them. This may also help her bond with them a little more. If she is good about helping with them, then she can give each cat a pet (while you watch) and if the cat will let her approach them, or she can play with them with a feather toy for one minute, etc. Essentially, you give her many short, supervised visits with the cats to train her how to be around them, as well as teach her what owning a pet is all about.

I would also talk to her about WHY she hurts them. She may not honestly realize that what she's doing is harmful to the cats. While she may be nine, in my mind that doesn't mean she's old enough or developed enough to really understand how to be with animals.

I've worked with lots and lots of kids, especially those in the 7 to 11 age group, and some of them are just not aware of how to control their bodies and their actions, or how their actions effect those around them. This doesn't mean they never will, it just means they're developing a little slower than other kids.

I agree with getting an assesment as well, as things like learning disabilities, ADHD, ADD, or innability to deal with stress and emotions can all make it hard for your daughter to understand why her actions are innapropriate.

~Julia
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much. I hadn't thought about letting her help out with them. She has been better today and yesterday. Thanks for posting.
post #18 of 19
My daughter has Asperger's Syndrome and she has on occassion been rough with the kitten, very rarely but she has done so. So I understand your frustration.
post #19 of 19
My son is also very rough with our cats, but he is only 3. I do wonder how much they understand and how much we have to stress it.

When Yen had her kittens he was deathly scare to even touch them so that he would harm them. Then as they got a little bigger he would try to hold his one wrist while trying to barely touch the fur to pet them, but with the adult cats he rough houses them and trys to make them do what he wants them to do. I keep very good eye on it and my cats have learn to just avoid him as much as possible.

I think he may be rough with them because Gracie is really rough with him and so was our other dog Shylow when they were a little bigger than the cats, so I think maybe that is why he thinks its ok or maybe we just stressed sooooooooooooooooooooooo much that he could really hurt the kittens that it really got through and now we have to get the same message across with the adult cats.

I don't know, but agressing towards animals can be a possible sign for other mental illnesses. I hope you can get your daughter evaluated soon and find out what is going on so that you and your whole family can feel better soon.
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