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Can somebody help me???

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I have a 3 year old son. My girlfriend and I spend a lot of time together. We don't live with one another, but I am always over her house to visit and most times I bring my son with me. She has two cats, Princess and Salem. The first couple of times that I had gone to her house it was when we first started dating and I would be by myself. The two cats would come up to me sniff me, rub on me, and all of that stuff. Salem made a decision after the first few times to stay away from me and Princess made up her mind to stick around me. Salem is the more "by myself" type cat and Princess is the more friendly, attention loving cat.
My son and I spent the night at my girlfriend's house a few weeks ago. My son loves the cats and plays with princess all the time. Well when we spent the night I had awoke in the middle of the night to here banging and scuffling in the other room. I went out to see what was going on and I found that my son was throwing pillows and squirting a squirt bottle at the two cats. He's only a 3 year old so what he was doing was his idea of playing. Obviously that cats didn't like it to much and all i could here was hissing and growling coming from under the bed. I tried to calm both of them down...I took my son out of the room and tried to give both of them treats and talk to them with a soothing voice but they both hissed and growled at me too. They were scared and they had just been through a lot so I just let them be.
The very next time I went over her house I was by myself and it was a couple of days later. When my girlfriend opened the door the cats were right behind her in the kitchen. As soon as they saw me, they hissed and growled, then they ran into the room and under the bed. The next time I went over I brought my son and he went to go and play with them and they hissed and growled at him as soon as they saw him. They did the same with me too. The two cats hide from me even when I'm by myself and they hide from my son all the time now too. Ever since that night they won't come near either of us. It makes my son sad cause he's only 3 and he didnt know what he was doing was hurting them. It makes me sad too because he does love the cats and I love them too and now they don't like either one of us. My guess is that I am guilty by assosciation. Is there any way that I can fix this. I know there are a lot of you out there who know a lot about cats. Can somebody please help me???
post #2 of 4
Hi, the best thing I can think of is for both of you, when you visit, to make an absolute point to come in quietly, take off your shoes (it's important), sit down, and just don't move from there for as long as possible. Sudden noise and movement will set them off. If you have to move, do it very slowly, and never in the direction of the cats. Don't look straight on at them. Just talk to them quietly but don't try to get them to come to you or anything else. Do this as many times as possible, always being very slow moving and quiet, and eventually, if and when they come into the room, hold out a plate with a little tuna or turkey bits on it, and let them see you put it down not far, but not too close to where you're sitting, and remain as quiet and slow as you can. Repeat until they've come up for the food on separate visits, and move it closer to your feet each time. Eventually, forget the plate and use your hand - and patience. Repeat a few times and then let them sniff your food-less hand, and eventually just stroke them once or twice (only), then more next time, etc. I know this all sounds totally cuckoo, but you asked! They can't help being skittish (and smart), and only patience, quiet and slowness will help. Try your hardest not to bring your son over for as long a time as possible because they will eventually forget, but when he does come, make sure he's dead quiet and slow (I know he's 3!) - make a game of it.
post #3 of 4
It's going to take time. The very best advise I can give you is over the next several weeks is to completely ignore them. Even if they come out of hiding when you're around ignore them. Let them come to you. Don't force the issue with treats or food. They have to feel that you and your son are no longer a threat.

This will especially hard on your son. Don't show him where the cats are hiding.

Does your girlfriend have high places for her cats to escape from your son? That might help as well. Maybe a cat tree that your son can't get too but he can still see the cats and the cats can keep a watchful eye on him.
post #4 of 4
I agree with Eva that you should completely ignore the kitties. they will come aorund and realize that you are not a threat to them.

Make it clear to your little boy that kitties are little animals and they don't like to be squirted with water or have pillows thrown at them. When they decide to come and talk to you again its important that you show him the right way to play with the kitties. Wave their feather wand around or play fishing with them.

Good luck getting this situation sorted out!! And welcome to TCS!
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